CTO News

Archive for 2017

STATEMENT FROM THE CTO ON HURRICANE IRMA

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (5 Sept, 2017) – As Hurricane Irma, a dangerous Category 5 storm, churns its way towards the northern Leeward Islands and the northern Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti,  the Caribbean Tourism Organization expresses concern for residents and visitors in the countries that are in the hurricane’s projected path, and pray that the impact will be reduced.

We have been in contact with our members and they assure us that they have been taking all the necessary steps to ensure that they are in a state of readiness.

We take this storm seriously. The safety of the Caribbean’s citizens and our visitors is the number one concern for the authorities and emergency response teams throughout the region.

The CTO is actively monitoring the hurricane and will share updates from our member countries on www.onecaribbean.org and our social media channels, as they become available.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog

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CTO & CACCI Create Cooperation Strategy for Diaspora for 2017-18

NEW YORK, NY (Aug. 21, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) recently formalized a cooperation strategy between the two organizations to strengthen the role of the Caribbean Diaspora while sharing resources and creating sustainability for the people and the region.

“CACCI believes that now is indeed the time for serious, positive action. We stand ready to support the regional integration process and will continue to respond positively to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), CARICOM, and OECS heads of government for assistance requested,” Dr. Roy A. Hastick Sr., the president and chief executive officer of CACCI  said in reference to the Caribbean Community and sub-regional grouping, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, as he introduced Hugh Riley, the secretary general of the CTO, to the member delegates.

Dr. Hastick continued, “This is an excellent opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to continue to work with you and your team, and continue the collaboration on which to build an even more unified and stronger Caribbean Community.”

In his remarks CACCI Board Chairman Mr. Edmund Sadio made mention of the longstanding relationship between CACCI and the CTO and the important role of CACCI’s founder in being an unofficial ambassador for the Caribbean Diaspora.

“As the tourism development agency for the Caribbean, the CTO recognizes the role of the Caribbean Diaspora in contributing to the tourism success of our member-countries, generating investment, stimulating a wide range of commercial activity, injecting significant amounts of foreign exchange, and influencing decisions at the highest levels of the public and private sectors,” said Riley.  “CACCI has been an influential force in building valuable business relationships between the Caribbean Diaspora and the decision-makers of New York City and New York State. Our communities continue to benefit from Dr. Hastick’s credo that business networking works.”

As part of the meeting, CTO and CACCI finalized arrangements for reciprocal membership, making each organization a member of the other with the two leaders formalizing the process by an exchange of documents and membership insignia.

The next steps are to begin implementing elements of the cooperation strategy for 2017-18, including investment prospects for the Caribbean, educational opportunities for Caribbean students, and CACCI’s involvement in Caribbean Week New York 2018 scheduled for June, which has been designated as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month in the U.S.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Calls For Greater Alliance Between U.S. and Caribbean With Respect to H.R.4939

CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION CALLS FOR UNITED STATES/CARIBBEAN STRATEGIC ALLIANCE IN FURTHERANCE OF U.S.-CARIBBEAN STRATEGIC ENGAGEMENT ACT Mechanism Incorporating Caribbean’s Tourism Working Group with Entities Tasked with Implementing the Act Will Be A Winning Formula, Says CTO Secretary General.

NEW YORK, NY (Aug. 18, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has called for a formal partnership between the region’s tourism sector and those responsible for implementing the United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act, known as H.R. 4939.

The Act, which was passed in the United States Congress on Dec. 13, 2016 and signed into law by then U.S. President Barack Obama three days later, mandates a new long-term strategy to strengthen ties between Washington, D.C. and the Caribbean region. It is designed to increase the security, prosperity and well-being of the people of the United States and the Caribbean.

Addressing the importance of the Act to Caribbean tourism at a recent meeting in Washington, D.C., CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley referenced a tourism working group established by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government at their meeting in Guyana in February, to guide the development and marketing of Caribbean tourism.

This, Riley said, appears to align with the U.S. government’s strategy for the Caribbean on many areas related to sustainable development, and a mechanism that incorporates the Caribbean’s tourism working group with the entities tasked with implementing H.R.4939 would be a winning formula for both the U.S. and the Caribbean.

“What an accomplishment it would be for all of us and for the architects of H.R. 4939 if we could report back to our region’s prime ministers and presidents when we meet with them in February, that there is now a working partnership between the region’s tourism working group and the U.S. Caribbean Strategic Alliance. Our recommendation is that together, we waste no time in making that partnership a reality. Without doubt, shoring up the Caribbean’s main economic driver is the surest way to protect the third border of the United States,” Riley said.

His remarks were delivered during a panel focused on “building sustainable economies” as part of an event staged by the Caribbean-Central American Action (CCAA) titled: “Caribbean 2020 Implementing H.R. 4939 from Vision to Engagement.”

Select members of the U.S. Congress addressed the audience of Caribbean Diaspora, diplomats and public sector policy makers including the co-author of the legislation, Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member, The House Foreign Affairs Committee; Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Chairman, The Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Ranking Member, The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations; and Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), Ranking Member, The Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, and Environment.

The Caribbean region is considered the United States’ “third border,” characterized by common interests and societal ties that yield daily, tangible benefits for U.S. citizens. The U.S. is the Caribbean’s primary trading partner, representing a vibrant economic partnership that, in 2016, saw a $4.6 billion trade surplus for the United States, 14 million U.S. tourist visits, and 11,042 Caribbean students studying in the U.S.

CCAA organized the half-day event to move discussions along between the U.S. and key stakeholders involved with the Caribbean region. The meeting began with a discussion of the Act followed by a panel about “The Security Agenda” featuring discussions on the need for stronger regional cooperation and public-private partnerships to advance citizen security. The second panel, “The Prosperity Agenda” focused on the outlook for regional investment, building sustainable economies, and finance and trade options. The final panel “The Well-Being Agenda,” dedicated its discussions to the health, education and future of the Caribbean.”

During his presentation, Riley called for a balanced approach to the development of strategies and policies that are designed to spur tourism growth while protecting the resource base on which tourism depends.

He advocated for a sector-specific tourism approach that would provide the greatest effectiveness and long-term sustainability which would be carried out with partnerships between the CTO and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA).

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Announces Winners of Caribbean Primary Schools Tourism Writing Competition

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (2 August, 2017) – Four Caribbean primary school students ranging in age from 8-12, will be honoured for excellence in tourism writing at next month’s Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum in St. Kitts.

The four –  Kassie Haley-Shai of St. Augustine Roman Catholic School in Montserrat, Ariah Khobie Diamante Darroux of  Convent Preparatory School  in Dominica (both in the 8-10 category), Jhe’anti Belyca Craigg of Belmont Government School in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Gabriella Lewis of Atwell’s Educational Institute in Trinidad and Tobago (10-12 category) – emerged winners among 44 participants  from 26 schools who participated in the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s Caribbean Primary Schools Tourism Writing Competition.

The contest, held as part of activities for International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the CTO’s Year of Adventure, was organised to enhance primary school students’ awareness of tourism and its value and contribution to the region’s social and economic development. It was also meant to challenge the students to think of creative ways to make tourism more sustainable.

The winners can be viewed here: http://www.onecaribbean.org/primary-school-tourism-writing-competition/

“I am very pleased with the level of interest exhibited in this initiative, as evidenced by the diversity of participating schools,” said Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism development specialist, whose department spearheads the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum.

“The submissions were all of a high calibre, with the students displaying depth and creativity in their compositions. It is clear that even at the primary school level students are aware of the importance of tourism to the region, can speak eloquently about tourism in their countries and have some insight into the opportunities and challenges associated with tourism development.”

The students in the 8-10 category were asked to write about what sustainable tourism meant to them or how visitors and locals should act towards each other to promote peace, while those in the 10-12 category were challenged to conceptualise and describe a new adventure tour or to suggest ways that the CTO can help make tourism in the Caribbean more sustainable. The students in both categories were also given the option of writing on whether they felt tourism does indeed contribute to making the Caribbean region a better place, or to identify an adventure tourism activity in their countries and deliver a sales pitch to encourage tourists to experience that activity.

Themed, Good for Us, Better for All, the 6-8 September Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum is being held in observance of International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and will bring together local, regional, and international representatives from public and private sector tourism entities, as well as development agencies that offer programming in sustainable tourism, for three days of interactive engagements.

Major elements will include best practice sharing and strategic consultations for a CTO climate adaptation project funded by the Caribbean Development Bank, in order to strengthen holistic destination management approaches in the Caribbean. The programme will also include experiential field visits, a meeting of CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Technical Committee, and winning presentations from CTO’s Primary School Tourism Writing Competition. The event culminates with the presentation ceremony for CTO’s 2017 Sustainable Tourism Awards which recognise regional sustainability champions.

Organising partners include the CTO, the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism, the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council, and Sustainable Travel International.

The winner of the 2014 CTO/Travel Mole Sustainable Tourism Award in Destination Stewardship, St Kitts is one of the first destinations in the world to be accepted as an early adopter of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s criteria for destinations. It also is a founding member of the Sustainable Destination Alliance of the Americas, an initiative by the CTO, the Organization of American States, Sustainable Travel International and Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited to promote sustainable destination management in the Caribbean and Central America.

Its many initiatives include the establishment of the Heart of St. Kitts Foundation and Sustainability Charter, which helps businesses understand how their operations contribute to destination-wide sustainability, and to support community projects that make St. Kitts a more sustainable place to live and experience.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Climate Smart Forum, Corporate News

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Caribbean Development Bank supports CTO’s Service and Business Excellence Programme

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (25 July, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s continued efforts at promoting service and business excellence in the region’s tourism and hospitality sector has received a financial boost from the regional financial institution that focuses on harmonious economic growth and development in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network is providing US$223,312 in support of the two key components of the Hospitality Assured (HA) Caribbean certification programme managed by the CTO as part of its product development and service quality thrust.

The funds will be used to engage business advisors and assessors to help strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of tourism-related micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in ten CDB borrowing member countries through the HA programme.

“Our region needs to boost its reputation for service and business excellence and pay attention to the overall visitor experience. The Hospitality Assured framework provides the tool to drive this effort,” said Bonita Morgan, the CTO’s director of resource mobilization and development, and the CTO official with overall responsibility for the HA programme.

“We are thankful to the CDB, through the CTCS Network, for supporting this effort to help Caribbean tourism businesses shore up their competitiveness.”

“For several Caribbean economies, tourism is an engine of growth, and MSMEs have the potential to make significant contributions to the sector. CDB is pleased to be supporting CTO in delivering the HA Caribbean certification programme, and deeply value the role it plays in helping regional MSMEs deliver an even higher quality product and experience in an increasingly competitive global tourism market,” said Darran Newman, acting division chief, technical cooperation division, CDB.

Over the next year 30 businesses in the ten countries – Anguilla, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Turks & Caicos Islands will receive technical assistance as well as assessment services through the CDB funding.

The regional lending institution’s support for HA dates back to 2014 when, through the United Kingdom Department for International Development’s Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund, managed by the Bank,  it provided funding support for six businesses in Grenada to participate in the certification programme.

Last year, CDB, through the CTCS network, provided financial support to conduct a week-long business advisors training workshop organized by the CTO to equip 15 business advisors to provide technical assistance to tourism-related businesses participating  in the HA certification programme.

CTCS is managed within CDB’s Technical Cooperation Division and operated in cooperation with regional and national institutions, laboratories, industrial enterprises, and consultants. It comprises a network of institutions and experts, and has as its primary aim, transferring knowledge, skills and technology to improve managerial and operational efficiency and competitiveness of MSMEs through the provision of technical assistance.

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 in the region.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News, Hospitality Assured

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CTO and the Caribbean Development Bank to Help Region’s Tourism Sector Combat Impact of Climate Change

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (23 June, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has received a €460,000 grant from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to implement a project to increase the Caribbean tourism sector’s resilience to natural hazards and climate related risks.

Global climate change and its impacts, including the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events, pose a significant risk to the Caribbean region and threaten the sustainability of Caribbean tourism. The CTO is pleased to have the support of the CDB to implement this project which will contribute to enhancing the resiliency, sustainability and competitiveness of the region’s tourism sector. Mainstreaming climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk management (DRM) strategies in tourism development and planning is our duty to our member countries,” the CTO’s Secretary General Hugh Riley said.

The CDB / CTO partnership was formalized at a signing ceremony held on June 22, 2017 at CDB’s headquarters in Barbados. Speaking at the event, CDB President, Dr. Wm. Warren Smith, noted that the tourism sector makes an enormous contribution to the Region’s socio-economic development.

Tourism generates high levels of employment, foreign direct investment and foreign exchange for our borrowing member countries and, given its multi-sectoral nature, it is a very effective tool for promoting sustainable development and poverty reduction. However, maintaining this critical role calls for adequate safeguards to be erected against the enormous threats that climate change and natural hazards pose to the sustainability of our Region,” said Dr. Smith.

Funding is being provided under the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank- Natural Disaster Risk Management in CARIFORUM Countries programme, which aims to reduce vulnerability to long-term impacts of natural hazards, including the potential impacts of climate change, thereby achieving national and regional sustainable development and poverty reduction goals in those countries.

During the 19-month project implementation period, the CTO will support the region’s tourism entities with policy formulation, the promotion of best practices in DRM and CCA, and the development of tools to enhance the tourism sector’s knowledge and awareness of disaster risk reduction strategies and the potential impacts of climate variability and climate change (CVC).

A training component will also be included to strengthen the ability of public and private sector tourism stakeholders to undertake adequate mitigation and adaptation actions to CVC. The CTO secretariat will also benefit from institutional strengthening to help provide technical assistance and ongoing support for tourism-related climate services.

The project is in keeping with 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, which has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly. 

Additional photos for distribution are available here: https://we.tl/DfEobPtNtL

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Climate Change

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