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Archive for June, 2017

Regional Tourism Industry To Take Centerstage During UNWTO Global Conference In Jamaica

NEW YORK, NY – June 6, 2017 – The regional tourism industry is set to take centerstage during the UNWTO, Government of Jamaica and World Bank Group Conference on Jobs & Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, November 27-29, 2017. Speaking at a press conference on June 6 at the Consulate General of Jamaica during Caribbean Week in New York, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Edmund Bartlett noted that given the region’s dependency on tourism, it was important that such a conference provide solutions on how the Caribbean can better leverage this industry.

“The conference programme, though global in nature, is highly significant to the Caribbean. And therefore, we felt that we should incorporate a programme specific to the Caribbean and some of the issues we grapple with. This programme will take place on the first day of the conference on November 27,” noted Minister Bartlett.

With the regional focus on opening day, the Ministry of Tourism received the endorsement of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) from Secretary General Hugh Riley and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association (CHTA) by way of Matt Cooper.

Minister Bartlett stated that tourism is the single largest generator of foreign exchange in 16 of the 28 countries in the Caribbean and the sector receiving the most foreign direct investment (FDI), adding that the region has a higher proportion of total employment and percentage of GDP derived from tourism than any other region in the world.

According to the Tourism Minister, “it is estimated that 1 in every 4 persons is employed by tourism-related activities and the sector accounts for 41% of all exports and services in the Caribbean and 31% of all gross domestic product”.

Additionally, Minister Bartlett indicated that similar to what was done with the global aspect of the conference, the organizers have included a number of Caribbean themes within the Call for Papers, which cover tourism and sustainability, where the threats, risks and challenges will be discussed; the strengthening of the human capital and human capital trends; the tourism value chain linkages and technology and innovation.

According to Minister Bartlett, one of key expected outcomes from this global conference is the Montego Bay Declaration. “At the end of the conference, there will be the compilation of the Draft Montego Bay Declaration. From this will flow an action plan for tourism destinations to follow, as well as the publication of the second volume of the UNWTO Global Report on Public Private Partnerships”.


The Tourism Minister also announced that the Conference will be used to pay tribute to the current UNWTO Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai whose tenure comes to an end. “Although he will have his formal send-off in December, the UNWTO has allowed us to utilize this opportunity for the more emotional and “irie” send-off,” noted Bartlett.

Another feature of the conference will be the presentation of the Caribbean Legends Awards, the first of its kind, which will be a collaborative effort involving the Ministry of Tourism of Jamaica, the CTO and the CHTA, supported by UNWTO. These awards, in the categories of Land, Sea and Air, will be given to individuals that have made an indelible mark on the tourism industry, not just regionally, but globally, enhancing the Caribbean brand.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week, Destination News

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Cayman Islands celebrates inaugural Southwest Airlines Flight from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, June 5, 2017 – On Sunday, June 4, 2017, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) proudly celebrated the start of Southwest Airlines’ daily nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale—Hollywood International Airport (FLL) to Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM) with a surprise flight gate party at the southern Florida airport, followed by continued festivities in Grand Cayman upon the inaugural flight’s arrival.

Southwest Airlines’ Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Mark Shaw, together with Miss Cayman Islands, Anika Conolly, kicked off the celebrations with an honorary ribbon cutting ceremony at the gate at FLL, signifying the start of the new daily flight service. Unsuspecting travellers were showered with Cayman’s vibrant island spirit and rich local heritage as elements of the destination’s two most beloved on-island events, Pirates Week and Carnival Batabano, came to life right before their eyes with live entertainment and dancing. Rounding out the festivities were destination-inspired giveaways and refreshments for passengers to enjoy prior to the inaugural flight, including Blackbeards Rum Cakes and miniature stingray plush toys.

During the flight, guests were given the special “Caymankind” treatment as they travelled to Grand Cayman, soaking up everything from energetic Cayman Carnival dancers to enticing gifts and giveaways such as complimentary admission to various on-island attractions and even free return two-night stays. But the revelry didn’t end there, as key Southwest Airlines executives and local island performers, along with Ms. Conolly, warmly greeted the passengers immediately after deplaning on the GCM airport tarmac. Exemplifying the destination’s unmatched hospitality, travellers were delighted as they were escorted into the Cayman Islands’ airport with a parade of excitement and high energy surrounding them, providing an unforgettable beginning to their Cayman adventure.

“We are so thrilled to welcome Southwest Airlines as our newest airline partner and introduce daily nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Cayman, a key U.S. market for us,” said Mrs. Rosa Harris, Director of Tourism. “We couldn’t imagine a more fitting way to celebrate this exciting new alliance and enhanced accessibility to our destination than with a special ‘Caymankind’ tribute to our loyal guests. This launch helped to set the stage for what we can only hope will be the first of many more memorable visits to our shores.”

“The airline with heart now brings our world-famous hospitality with wide-reaching smiles to the limitless sand and sea horizon of Grand Cayman,” said Mark Shaw, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Southwest Airlines. “A Caymankind journey on Southwest® brings the compounded value of excellent customer service on comfortable planes coupled with low fares, alongside our industry-unique combination of bags fly free and no change fees for everyone. We are honored to make the Cayman Islands the tenth country served by Southwest, America’s largest airline.”

The new route, effective immediately, provides a convenient vacation escape for discerning travellers in the South Florida area. Utilizing a Boeing 737-700 aircraft, flight WN 1215 departs FLL daily at 11:45 a.m. and arrives to Grand Cayman at 12:20 p.m. The return flight, WN 1216 leaves GCM at 1:15 p.m. and arrives to Fort Lauderdale at 4:00 p.m.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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First International Hiking Festival in Martinique

Martinique will host its First International Hiking Festival of the Island from June 1st to 30th 2017, offering 30 different hikes all around this green heaven.

From a countryside walk to a beach stroll, northern lush and intense vegetation to dry coastal scenery, nature lovers will find their perfect hike, suited to their preference and physical condition. The participants will experience the wild beauty of Martinique, climb its rugged mountains, cross rivers, roam the tropical rain forest or just stroll along the coastal.

“Martinique is a land of nature where hiking is the perfect way to discover one of the most beautiful place of the world,” said Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas of the Martinique Promotion Bureau. “The Island is blessed with a wide range of natural wonders; a wealth of exotic flowers honoring Martinique’s nickname, the majestic Mount Pelée towering over the Bay of Saint-Pierre and a protected parkland that encompass two thirds of the Island, a sanctuary of numerous natural gems.”

The program of this first International Hiking Festival in Martinique will feature diverse and uncommon hikes such as the discovery of the Caravelle Peninsula and its various ecosystems on June 4th, an urban walk seeking the architectural hidden treasures of the Capital City on June 8th, a nocturnal poetic stroll under the moon light in Sainte-Anne with the famous local storyteller Joby Bernabé on June 9th and an active hike on the Morne Larcher, over the magnificent Bay of Le Diamant on June 20th.

For more information: www.festivalinternationalrandomartinique.com

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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World Environment Day Message 2017

The Caribbean today lends its energy, its people and its landscapes, to the observance of World Environment Day, with the rest of the global community.

This year, World Environment Day highlights the symbiotic relationship between people and nature, but also encourages the world to unplug from worries and from technological anchors and be at one with nature.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is pleased that the theme this year, “Connecting People to Nature”, implores the world to get outdoors, to appreciate nature’s beauty and importance, and to honour the call to protect the earth that we share.

The theme seems such a natural fit for the Caribbean which, so clearly epitomizes what the United Nations must have envisaged when it said: “On 5 June, go outside and show us that you’re #WithNature.”

There can be no better global invitation to experience the Caribbean, the corner of the world where consistently connecting people with nature is the bedrock of our tourism product. There can be no stronger international endorsement of our Year of Adventure, during which we encourage visitors and locals alike to, among other activities, indulge in multiple personal experiences with nature. There can be no greater universal recognition of our purpose, Leading Sustainable Tourism, One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

The Caribbean is one of few places on earth where it is perfectly fine to spend the day lazing around beneath the sun, and where hiking, horseback riding, snorkelling and even a bit of farming brings joy and livelihood to visitors and locals alike. In our warm and welcoming region, visitors are encouraged to lose track of time while exploring the great outdoors.

The CTO fully endorses the call for each of us to reflect on the extent to which we are part of nature, and how intimately we depend upon it. As the world accepts the challenge to find fun and exciting ways to forge vital relationships with the environment, we invite you to journey this path with us.

Our pledge on this World Environment Day is to encourage every traveller and every citizen to adopt as a lifelong mantra, respect for the environment and a true connection with nature. The Caribbean understands the joy that bond can bring and the importance of preserving it for future generations.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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The Cayman Islands designates island-wide hurricane guarantee

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, 1 June 2017 – Despite the unpredictable hurricane season, a luxurious and unforgettable Caribbean escape is still within reach in the Cayman Islands thanks to the destination’s “Worry Free Hurricane Guarantee.” This summer, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism is giving travellers peace of mind with a specialty promise that covers cancellations made prior to arrival and compensation if vacation time is cut short because of inclement weather. As soon as a hurricane is anticipated, guests are eligible to receive a full refund of accommodation fees at participating hotels, condos and villas island-wide, with a maximum one-night penalty at most for cancellations made up to 48 hours prior to check-in.

Additionally, many properties are offering a free replacement stay throughout the summer months, allowing guests to rebook for the same duration as the initially-booked stay, regardless of how many days were affected by a hurricane or storm.

“Our top priority at the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism is to provide a positive and memorable vacation experience for our guests, one that is unburdened by the stresses of everyday life,” said Mrs. Rosa Harris, Director of Tourism. “Understanding the seasonal considerations that come with the late summer and early fall months, we developed our island-wide Worry Free Hurricane Guarantee. This guarantee allows travellers to plan their stays in the Cayman Islands with complete peace of mind, ensuring they are covered even in the unlikely event that their trip is cut short due to inclement weather.”

A wide array of hotels, condominiums and villas across Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are participating in the Worry Free Hurricane Guarantee and some are also offering cancellation up to 24 hours or less before the guests’ reserved stay, with zero penalty.

For a list of participating properties, go to visitcaymanislands.com/hurricaneguarantee. For detailed property guarantees, please visit the individual property web sites or contact them directly.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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NEW YORK, NY (June 1, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has announced the finalists in its annual Caribbean Media Awards competition and will recognize journalists at the Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards Luncheon on Thursday, June 8, 2017, at the Wyndham New Yorker.

The awards luncheon, sponsored by Jamaica, honors industry leaders and top Caribbean stories when accolades are presented in the major media and Caribbean tourism market in show of appreciation for their contribution to the development of the tourism product. Local NBC news personality Dave Price will return as host of the Luncheon.

Following are the Caribbean Media Awards finalists for each category:


Best Feature by a Diaspora Journalist in US or Caribbean Media

Author Name:           Melissa Noel, NBC News

Article Title:               Guyana Jubilee: Celebrating 50 Years of Independence

Author Name:           Dave Rodney, The Gleaner

Article Title:               Around Jamaica



Best Feature Article in a Consumer Newspaper – USA

Author Name:           Melanie Reffes, USA Today

Article Title:               Good Mood Island Food: What You Should Try in Antigua 

Author Name:           Moira McCarty, The Boston Herald

Article Title:               Martinique Getaway Made Easier By Direct Flights



Best Feature Article in a US-based Consumer Magazine

Author Name:           Anne Kazel-Wilcox, Simply the Best

Article Title:               Caribbean Unspoiled on St. Kitts

Author Name:           Delano Lavigne, Outpost Travel Guise

Article Title:               DOMINICA Oh, Waitukubuli 

Author Name:           Alexis Korman, Go Escape

Article Title:               Colorful Curacao



Best Feature by a Caribbean Journalist

Author Name:           Tosheena Robinson-Blair

Article Title:               The Life and Times of a Master Hotelier (About: SuperClubs Breezes Bahamas) 

Author Name:           Catherine Morris

Article Title:               South Shore Becomes a Tourist Destination (About: Bahamian non-profit organization)

Author Name:           Janet Silvera

Article Title:               The Spirit of Appleton (About: Jamaica Rum Tour)



Best Photograph in Conjunction with a Feature Article – USA

Photographer Name:            Michaela Urban

Article Title:                           Island-Hopping in St. Vincent, Grenadines Offers Taste of Beauty, Adventure 

Author/Photographer:          Melanie Reffes, Delaware Online

Article Title:                           Beautiful Barbuda: Why You Should Book a Trip 

Author/Photographer:          Patricia Wuest/Reinhard Dirscherl/Alamy, Sport Diver

Article Title:                           Treasure Island: Scuba Diving in Dominica



Best Feature by a US Journalist that appeared in Foreign Media

Author Name:           Melissa Noel, Caribbean Beat

Article Title:               Ambassador of Spices (About: Grenada chef)

Author Name:           Julie Masis, Times of Israel

Article Title:               In Jamaica, a Once-In-A-Lifetime Reunion for Jews Who Weathered WWII in an Island Camp



Best Feature Article in a Trade Publication – USA

Author Name:           Gay Myers, Travel Weekly

Article Title:               Adaptation in Montserrat 

Author Name:           Arnie Weissmann, Travel Weekly

Article Title:               A Golden Eye: The Vision of Chris Blackwell (About: Expanding Jamaica)

Author Name:           Ed Wetschler, Recommend

Article Title:               Trending Now in the Caribbean



Best Feature Broadcast – USA

Author Name:           Tonya and Ian Fitzpatrick, World Footprints Media

Broadcast Name:       Exploring Dominica, the Nature Island 

Author Name:           Tonya Fitzpatrick, World Footprints Media

Broadcast Name:       Magical Martinique: The Island of Flowers



Best Feature by a foreign Journalist that appeared in US Media

Author Name:           Margo Pfeiff, San Francisco Chronicle

Article Title:               Compact, Diverse Belize an Easy Gateway into Central America

Author Name:           Eric Vohr, Dallas News

Article Title:               Discover the Magical Rainforests of this Caribbean Island 

Author Name:           Eric Vohr, Chicago Tribune

Article Title:               Island-Hopping in St. Vincent, Grenadines Offers Taste of Beauty, Adventure



Best Online Feature – USA

Author Name:           Eric Felten, NationalGeographic.com

Article Title:               Hear the Song of Trinidad

Author Name:           Melissa Noel and Mikael Simmonds, NBCNews.com

Article Title:               Africa in the Americas: Tour Group Explores Cuba’s African Roots

Author Name:           Laura Siciliano-Rosen, BudgetTravel.com

Article Title:               Eat Like a Local in the Bahamas


CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley will present the awards to a packed audience of Tourism Ministers and other dignitaries from the Caribbean, industry executives and other well regarded journalists. The luncheon is included in the registration cost for the Caribbean Tourism Marketing Conference, but may also be attended independently ($150 per person). To reserve your seat at the luncheon, click HERE.

The Caribbean Week New York Media Awards are judged by a team of public relations and journalism experts.


Caribbean Week (www.CaribbeanWeek.com) New York (#CWNY17) will come alive in the Big Apple when tourism officials, industry executives, media, Caribbean Diaspora, travel agents, consumers and students come together to participate in a calendar of activities that showcase the best of Caribbean tourism. Taking place June 4-10, 2017 as a celebration of the sights, sounds, color and culture of the Caribbean, the week combines business sessions and consumer-oriented events with Caribbean-inspired food, lively entertainment and networking opportunities.

Caribbean Week New York is supported by: Academy Engraving, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Anse Chastanet & Jade Mountain Saint Lucia, Arrivalist, The Atrebor Group, Islands of The Bahamas, Barbados, Caribbean Airlines, Castles in Paradise Villa Resort – Saint Lucia, Cayman Islands, Cholula Food Company, Cititech Solutions, Delta Air Lines, Dominica, FlightCentre, Grenada, Grace Foods, Guyana, Jamaica, Laura Davidson Public Relations, Martinique, Montserrat, Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, Nevis, Pleasant Holidays, Questex, Saint Lucia, St. Martin, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Spice Island Beach Resort, Sugar Beach-A Viceroy Resort, TripAdvisor, Island of Tobago, Tower Isle Patties, Travel Impressions, Travel + Leisure, Trinidad, and Turks & Caicos Islands.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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Tremendous boost of Norwegian air service to French Caribbean Island of Martinique

NEW YORK, NY – (May 31, 2017) – Following two successful winter seasons from the North East Coast  to Martinique, Norwegian is announcing today the launching of two new routes to the island from Providence’s T.F. Green Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, starting October 30th.

The World’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul Airline is adding to its four weekly flights out of New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, a twice weekly service from Providence and a thrice air schedule from Fort Lauderdale, for the 2017/2018 winter season!

  • The schedule from PVD to FDF will operate as follow on Mondays & Fridays:

PVD – FDF*        Departing 4:00 p.m.        Arriving 9:20 p.m.

The schedule from FDF to PVD will operate as follow on Thursdays & Sundays:

FDF *– PVD        Departing 10:30 a.m.      Arriving 2:30 p.m.

  • The schedule from FLL to FDF will operate as follow on Mondays, Wednesdays & Sundays:

FLL– FDF*            Departing 2:15 p.m.        Arriving 6:45 p.m.

FDF *– FLL           Departing 10:00 a.m.      Arriving 12:25 p.m.

“The boost air service from the US is indeed as pledge of commitment from Norwegian Air, one of our closest industry partner and also a reflection of the growing  popularity of the island on the U.S market”, said Muriel Wiltord Director Americas of the Martinique Promotion Bureau.  “Martinique Magnifique is definitely more affordable and accessible than ever.”

“Norwegian is excited to once again return to the magnificent island of Martinique for the 2017/18 winter season. Due to demand, we are increasing flights from New York JFK, and we are adding connections with new nonstop routes from both Fort Lauderdale and Providence. This allows more and more American travelers to discover such a hidden gem in the Caribbean. It’s now easier and more affordable than ever to fly to the French Caribbean, and we’ve seen a significant increase in visitors to Martinique as a result of our flights and cooperation with the tourist board,” said Thomas Ramdahl, Chief Commercial Officer.

With these new routes along with increased service out of JFK, the Island of Flowers is thrilled to welcome even more U.S visitors. The new route operating out of Providence will serve not only Rhode Island but also other states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut etc.., covering a large part of New England. In addition, Martinique increases significantly its air service from Florida with this new route out Fort Lauderdale.

To book: www.norwegian.com/us

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