CTO News

Archive for 2016

The Bahamas Elected Chair of the CTO

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (15 September, 2016) – The Bahamas has been elected Chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).  Minister of Tourism for the Bahamas, Obie Wilchcombe, is the new CTO Chairman.

New CTO Chairman Obie Wilchcombe of the Bahamas (right) receives the gavel from his predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados. Also in photograph, CTO secretary general Hugh Riley (left)

New CTO Chairman Obie Wilchcombe of the Bahamas (right) receives the gavel from his predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados. Also in photograph, CTO secretary general Hugh Riley (left)

The election took place on September 15th in Barbados, at the organization’s annual general meeting held during the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC).

Following his election, Mr. Wilchcombe stated: “I intend to build upon what [immediate predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados] began and I also intend to build on the relationship with the private sector. I’ve always thought that CTO is the body that provides equity and we can (do that); and the way is to speak with the same voice. We also have to deal with the issue of inter-regional travel.”

Minister Wilchcombe will serve a two-year term. It is his second stint as chairman, having previously been elected to the position in 2002.

The Bahamas minister will shortly name his appointee for the post of Chairman of the CTO Board of Directors, since, according to the CTO Constitution, the Board Chairman and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism must come from the same Member Country. In addition to the election of the chairman, vice chairs were elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors to represent various sub-groups – Curacao, represents the Dutch Caribbean; Martinique represents the French Caribbean; Barbados and Belize, represent the Independent CARICOM countries and the Turks & Caicos Islands represents the British Overseas Territories.  Each of these Member Countries will form the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, which will be completed with representatives from the private sector.

Today’s vote was in keeping with the CTO constitution which mandates that elections must be held every two years.

This year’s conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort is organized in collaboration with Barbados’ Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and is sponsored by LIAT, the Caribbean Airline and Libris by Photoshelter.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport for Barbados and CTO Chairman Richard Sealy has a special message on SOTIC. To view the message, please click on the following link: http://bit.ly/2comjPC.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News, SOTIC

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Regional Hospitality Assured Workshop gets under way in Barbados

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 5 Sept, 2016 –  A week-long training advisers workshop on tourism business excellence opened in Barbados this morning.

The 5-9 September workshop is being organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to sharpen participants’  business advisory skills so they can provide technical assistance to Caribbean tourism businesses  which will participate  in the Hospitality Assured Certification Programme.

Nineteen participants from 13 CTO member countries are attending the workshop, which is being held with funding support from the Caribbean Development Bank through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network and the European Union’s Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME).

“We are proud of the partnerships we have formed over the years with regional and international organizations such as the Caribbean Development Bank and the Institute of Hospitality, which make it possible for the CTO to provide services such as this for our members and for the region,” Hugh Riley, CTO’s secretary general said.

“We are driven by our emphasis on human capital development, our responsibility to help reduce the region’s unemployment, and our laser-like focus on consistently improving the quality of the experience the Caribbean offers to its visitors. This workshop seems to me to be relevant to all of those aspects.”

The workshop, which will be facilitated by John Burchell of Hospitality Assured in the United Kingdom, with assistance from Norma Shorey Bryan, a trained Barbadian business advisor, precedes the region’s premier tourism gathering, the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC), where those issues will be tackled. SOTIC takes place in Barbados from14-16 September.

Hospitality Assured is a certification programme promoting service and business excellence in tourism and hospitality companies.  It is owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the United Kingdom, and managed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in the region.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Hospitality Assured

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UNWTO head to make first ever appearance at CTO State of the Tourism Industry Conference

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 3 August, 2016 –  The head of the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable tourism will make his first ever appearance at a Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) event when he presents at the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) next month.

Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai will be joined by the president of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) David Scowsill and CTO secretary general Hugh Riley on a panel to discuss how to pilot an industry through a perpetual state of flux.

“The commitment of the UNWTO and the WTTC to participate in this conference fulfils our mandate to make leaders of the global tourism industry accessible to our members, to share information with us and exchange ideas on how to resolve issues and challenges and how to take advantage of opportunities in tourism globally,” Mr. Riley said.

During the session entitled, No Place For The Status Quo, the tourism leaders will delve into factors, such as changing demographics and attitudes, which drive the tourism industry into a state of constant transition, and how to continuously align the product to consumers’ tastes.

“There really is no status quo in the tourism sector. Things are constantly changing; it’s a dynamic industry, it’s vulnerable to external shocks but it always recovers. When we look at issues that affect public health, security, terrorism, economic shocks, all of these things affect the success and the sustainability of the tourism sector,” the CTO secretary general added.

The session takes place from 9:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Friday 16 September, immediately following the feature address by Craig Landry, the president of Air Canada Leisure Group.

The State of the Tourism Industry Conference, which has as its theme, Honouring Our Legacy, Defining Our Future, is the pre-eminent tourism gathering in the region. It brings together tourism decision-makers, including ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, hotel and airline executives, travel agents, students, the media and persons directly and indirectly involved in tourism. It is preceded by CTO business meetings, including meetings of the board of directors and the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism.

A number of other presenters have been confirmed for SOTIC, which will explore subjects ranging from how to transition the product and multicultural and emerging markets to creating a luxury experience and the sharing economy.

This year’s conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort is organized in collaboration with Barbados’ Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

For more information on SOTIC, including how you can register, participate and benefit, visit www.onecaribbean.org.  For a sound bite from the CTO secretary general, please click on the following link: http://bit.ly/2ay99wO

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, SOTIC

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Innovator Adam Stewart to Keynote CTO’s State of the Industry Conference SOTIC

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 6 July, 2016 –   The leader of one of the world’s leading resort companies will outline a vision for Caribbean tourism as he sets the tone for the region’s most important tourism gatherings, the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC).

The chief executive officer of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart, will deliver the keynote address at the 14-16 September event in Barbados, chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Barbados’ minister of tourism and international transport Richard Sealy announced this morning.

“We are honoured and excited to announce Mr Adam Stewart, the chief executive officer of Sandals Resorts International as the keynoter for SOTIC. Sandals is an influential Caribbean brand. Its impact on the economies of the countries in which it operates, and the other benefits it brings, such as immense global exposure which we otherwise could not afford, cannot be missed,” Mr. Sealy said at a news conference at the CTO headquarters.

Described as “a maverick on a mission, an energetic change agent, and an innovator who is not constrained by convention”, Mr. Stewart is expected to share his views on the opportunities that lie ahead for Caribbean tourism and what must be done to cash in on these opportunities.

His presentation will focus on the conference theme, Honouring Our Legacy, Defining Our Future, and is expected to draw on the Sandal CEO’s experiences in leading the growth and expansion of the global brand since he took over as its chief executive officer at the age of 25.

“As chief executive officer of a brand born in the Caribbean, it is my sincere pleasure to join my colleagues and my friends this September in Barbados to discuss not only the state of our industry but the myriad of opportunities that lie ahead. We are on the precipice of interesting days and I am excited to consider how, together, we will continue to make a visit to the Caribbean absolutely compelling,” Mr. Stewart, who has overseen the expansion of the resorts and the introduction of industry-changing innovation and developments, said ahead of the news conference.

The keynote address will launch the first full day of the conference on Thursday 15 September at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

Another leading presenter announced at today’s news conference is Craig Landry, the president of Air Canada Leisure Group, who will be the featured speaker on Friday morning, 16 September.

Mr. Landry oversees the Air Canada Vacations tour operator business and the leisure airline Air Canada Rouge, both of which are important partners and stakeholders in Caribbean tourism. Canada is itself a longstanding and critically important tourism partner for the region.

“The combination of a keynoter who is the chief executive officer of the Caribbean’s foremost hotel brand – Adam Stewart of Sandals – and a featured speaker who is from Air Canada, signals the importance we attach to our vision for the Caribbean,” stated Hugh Riley, the CTO’s secretary general.

Craig Landry has a complete understanding of Air Canada’s pivotal role in the current environment, Canada’s importance to the Caribbean, its economic challenges and opportunities, and its unique relationship with our region.”

A number of other presenters are being confirmed for SOTIC, which will explore subjects ranging from how to transition the product and multicultural and emerging markets to creating a luxury experience and the sharing economy.

The CTO State of the Industry Conference is the pre-eminent tourism gathering in the region. It brings together tourism decision-makers, including ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, hotel and airline executives, travel agents, students, the media and persons directly and indirectly involved in tourism. It is preceded by CTO business meetings, including meetings of the board of directors and the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism.

This year’s conference is organized in collaboration with Barbados’ Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

For more information on SOTIC, including how you can register, participate and benefit, visit www.onecaribbean.org.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, SOTIC

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Family Travel Association and Caribbean Tourism Organization announce partnership

NEW YORK, NY, 28 June, 2016: The Family Travel Association (FTA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) have formally announced a partnership  to promote a travel agent educational programme for the Caribbean.  As part of the agreement, the CTO and CTO members who join the FTA will be eligible to work with the FTA and CTO in the development of educational material for travel agents. This includes webinars, editorial/content for trade partners, live events (conferences/trade show) participation, promotion on FamilyTravel.org and both the CTO and FTA newsletters.

“Our research indicates that 93 per cent of American parents are either “very likely” or “likely” to travel with their children in the next two years so we are thrilled to be working with the CTO and its members in not just inspiring families to travel, but to help travel agents better understand and sell the Caribbean to this complex demographic,” says Rainer Jenss, FTA President, who founded the organization in 2014 to create a single and collective voice on behalf of the travel industry and those companies that serve traveling families.

“Given the incredible wealth of experiences the Caribbean offers families, this partnership will ensure that travel agents are prepared to meet the needs of this highly lucrative market segment”, added Sylma Brown Bramble, Director CTO-USA, Inc. “We are particularly delighted about the value and opportunity the new FTA and CTO relationship will provide to the OneCaribbean Chapter (OCC) members.  Travel agents are one of our greatest assets in Caribbean destination travel and providing value to them through relationships like this is our way of showing appreciation for the great job that they do selling the Caribbean year after year”.

The One Caribbean Chapter (OCC) was created by the CTO  with the primary purpose of enabling a business environment in which travel professionals can gain access to knowledge of the region and its diverse tourism product; networking opportunities and education on the unique selling proposition of the various Caribbean destinations.

OCC is the vehicle which gives travel agents access and advantage to increase their business to over 28 Caribbean countries under the regional umbrella. The chapter provides education on the myriad niche products available in the Caribbean and destination support to prepare travel professionals for success in selling each country’s unique travel product.  oneCaribbeanchapter.org

For further information on the FTA and CTO upcoming webinars and programmes, please contact: programme and business development executive Wanda Fisher at  (510) 599-9844.

About the Family Travel Association
The Family Travel Association (FTA) was established in 2014 to mobilize the global travel industry around the large – and fast-growing – market for family travel. The organization is connecting the world’s leading travel suppliers, destinations, media brands, and influencers into a global network to grow the market by inspiring families to travel.  By harnessing the collective power and influence of its members, the FTA is educating travelers, the media, and travel agents on the variety of options families have when planning their vacations and what transformational benefits travel offers families.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Caribbean on course to break 20 million arrivals barrier in 2016

NEW YORK, NY, 3 June, 2016 –   Tourist arrivals to the Caribbean are expected to surpass the 30 million mark for the first time ever this year, following a record 28.7 million arrivals in 2015.

Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Richard Sealy announced here on Thursday evening that the industry got off to a fast start in 2016, registering a 7.3 per cent rise in the first quarter over the corresponding period last year.

During this period, the Caribbean region welcomed approximately 8.5 million international visitors, 580,000 higher than the first quarter of 2015.

“This performance was buttressed by lower oil prices and the strong US dollar, which increased the appeal of the region to potential visitors. The many air service agreements ensured that the region had adequate seats to facilitate the flow of travellers to and within the region,” the CTO chairman explained.

Nineteen destinations showed improvements upon their 2015 performance, with eight registering double digit growth of between 10.5 per cent and 26.8 per cent.

The growth was led by intra-regional trips which rose by 12-9 per cent, followed by the European market which registered growth of 11 per cent.

The CTO chairman told media at a news conference at Caribbean Week New York that regional tourism officials have recognized that more needed to be done to keep visitors occupied while in the Caribbean.

“The CTO continues to work feverishly with our members to see how they can improve their product offering and diversify their markets,” he said.

The CTO has projected growth of between 4.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent in 2016.

Caribbean Week New York continues this evening with Rum and Rhythm, a benefit for the CTO Foundation, the regional tourism development agency’s scholarship programme which assists Caribbean nationals pursuing further studies in tourism and hospitality.

The Empire State Building will also light up in Caribbean colours tonight in observance of Caribbean Week New York, which celebrates the sights, sounds, colours, culture and unique holiday experiences of the Caribbean.

Caribbean Week New York is supported by American Express, Academy Engraving, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, the Atrebor Group, the Islands of the Bahamas, Barbados, Bloomingdales, Caribbean Airlines, Cayman Islands, CitiTech Solutions, Dominica, El Dorado Rum, Empire State Building, Grace, Grenada, Golden Crust, Jade Mountain/Anse Chastanet Resort, Jamaica, Marry Caribbean, Martinique, Nassau Paradise Island, Nevis, Proximo, Resonance, The Real McCoy Rum, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sugar Beach, Travel + Leisure, Resonance Consultancy; Trinidad and Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, Sugar Bay Resort & Spa, Unique Vacations, Inc./Sandals and Williams-Sonoma.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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