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Archive for 2017

CTO Helps Strengthen Business Performance, Overall Competitiveness with Hospitality Assured

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (June 12, 2017) – As part of an on-going partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and its Hospitality Assured (HA) certification programme, the European Union under its Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) programme last month hosted an HA Business Advisor Training Workshop at the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce in Punda, Williemstaad, Curaçao. Participants came from the Curaçao Tourist Board, the Curacao Innovation & Technology Institute; and Creating Milestones, a management solutions company.

The main objectives of the workshop were:

  • To provide participants with an overview of the HA standards and processes and awareness of the Business Excellence framework;
  • To enable participants to manage and advise on the HA processes for client organisations which will enable these organisations to progress on their journey to excellence and to obtain HA certification;
  • To provide participants with a knowledge and understanding of the evidence requirements of Hospitality Assured; and
  • To provide participants with an opportunity to develop gender sensitive advisory approaches through the employment of case studies and role-play.

CTO began its journey with HA in 2007, seeking to strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of tourism enterprises in the Caribbean. CTO is in the process of building a network of advisors and assessors in member countries which are already involved in the HA programme – including  Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines – and is also seeking to extend the scheme to countries which have not yet started to roll out the programme but have indicated an interest in doing so this year. These include Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Guyana, Montserrat, Saint Lucia and The Turks & Caicos Islands.

The HA programme endeavours to promote a culture of quality, service excellence and continuous improvement, through the use of a business improvement tool and framework that is internationally recognized, as a means to support customer service delivery in tourism enterprises.

The first task of the HA Programme for Curaçao was to train Business Advisors and to equip them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to work effectively with organisations and lead them through the detailed HA self-assessment process towards certification.

A series of introductory presentations delivered by the facilitators, Norma Shorey-Bryan and Sharon Banfield-Bovell, provided participants with a background to the HA programme, perspectives on the issues and challenges faced in the tourism sector in the Caribbean, and detailed information on what was required on the HA Journey to Excellence. Focus was also placed on helping participants to understand issues related to gender and gender sensitive advisory approaches in dealing with the HA clients. These discussions on gender came to the forefront in the case studies discussions and role plays that were part of the learning and feedback sessions.

The interactive approach used throughout the workshop was designed to encourage participants to share their experiences, perspectives and concerns, and to learn from each other. Presentations stimulated lively group discussions, which helped participants consider how to apply the concepts taught when working with client organisations in Curaçao. The workshop sessions included: presentations on fundamental topics like What is Excellence, Vision & Values, Business Planning Processes and Sharing Good Practices; introduction to each of the nine steps of the HA Model; role plays on case studies mirroring the operations in various types of tourism businesses; and other learning exercises linked to each of the nine steps.

By the end of the workshop, the participants had gained a deeper understanding of the structure of the HA framework and were aware of the key themes of Hospitality Assured. The detailed knowledge and understanding will be further taken in as they apply the model to real life situations as they work with small, medium and large sized businesses in Curaçao’s tourism and hospitality sector.

About Hospitality Assured

Hospitality Assured is an internationally recognized certification, owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the U.K., managed and operated by the Hospitality Limited U.K. trading as Hospitality Assured and licensed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) for use in the Caribbean as “The Standard for Service and Business Excellence in Caribbean Tourism.”

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Hospitality Assured

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CTO Signs MOU With The Travel Foundation During Caribbean Week NY

NEW YORK, NY (June 8, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Travel Foundation (TF) to formally establish a framework of cooperation and facilitate collaboration between the organizations in areas of common interest to contribute to sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean Region. The MOU was signed by CTO secretary general Hugh Riley and Salli Felton, TF chief executive officer on Thursday, June 8, during a CTO press conference held during Caribbean Week New York.

TF, the international charity that works with destinations and leading organizations to improve the impacts of tourism on people and the environment, and CTO will facilitate the joint implementation of projects and publications, the organization of workshops, seminars, meetings, conferences, and other initiatives on matters of common interest. The two organizations will support and participate in each other’s relevant projects and activities.

“The Caribbean Tourism Organization is pleased to align our sustainability and environmental advocacy efforts with the Travel Foundation and come together during Caribbean Week New York to formally announced our new vested partnership,” Mr. Riley said

“To further our ongoing work in the Caribbean, we are pleased to partner with CTO to facilitate future tourism development which promotes thriving communities and a healthy environment,” added Ms. Felton.

This agreement follows the recent announcement of CTO and TF’s launch of a free online sustainable tourism course for ministries, government departments, tourism authorities and tourist boards engaged in destination management in CTO member countries. The course is designed to help increase knowledge of how to review and plan for the sustainable development of Caribbean tourist destinations.

Benchmarked with good practice case studies, the course will sharpen participants’ ability to plan the development of their local tourism industry in a way that meets the needs of both visitors and host communities, creates a more resilient economy, protects tourism assets and secures the future tourism potential of Caribbean destinations. To register for the free online course, please click on the following link: travelfoundationtraining.com/caribbean.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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Links to photos of Caribbean Week 2017

Caribbean Week New York 2017 photographs:

Celebrity Chef Demonstration at Bloomingdales: https://goo.gl/photos/xUDPPsbv4tnYGaqG6

Church Service at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church : https://goo.gl/photos/qxTZcUuw7ZGLUzNN9

Diaspora Forum: https://goo.gl/photos/VcUJUD9GrohVbWv36

Tourism Industry Workshop: https://goo.gl/photos/LeMMVLMm6CZZKoih7

Think Tank: CTO 5 Year Strategic Planning Session: https://goo.gl/photos/QdjjtNxp3kkJwfLh6

Executive Committee Meeting & Travel Agents Trade Show: https://goo.gl/photos/MtN6RWy2ckPYC7kn6

Cocktail Reception for Government Officials & Empire State Building Lighting: https://goo.gl/photos/gEoUnBc11orw5eif8

Board of Directors Meeting: https://goo.gl/photos/c9CJSy8s9uj75caD7

Students Colloquium: https://goo.gl/photos/SGE2Z6VjkBbUZKkF8

Caribbean Tourism Marketing Conference: https://goo.gl/photos/tUw4Q3nZPM8yHchb9

Caribbean Tourism Awards Industry Luncheon: https://goo.gl/photos/rRviH8fWAk2qKHHj9

Press Conference: https://goo.gl/photos/TjxbKxVjNDY3wjfF9

Media Marketplace & Interviews: https://goo.gl/photos/myHpYCBYYpb42eHP9

Rum Rumble Final Mixologist Competition: https://goo.gl/photos/gcMfWN1qtabD9SAs9

Rum & Rhythm:  https://goo.gl/photos/TWZcd44pu7ymsemK8

 

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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Remarks by Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar Chairman, CTO- Caribbean Week News Conference

This has been thus far a fantastic Caribbean Week, with renewed energy and purpose  among our ministers, directors, tourism officials and everyone involved.

For the first time ever we presented Caribbean culture and heritage in a very practical manner at our Diaspora Forum, which itself returned to Brooklyn after many years.

Truly dynamic performances by La Troupe Zetwal of Haiti and Danza Fiesta of Puerto Rico were a demonstration of our truly rich and diverse culture.

As always, the Students Colloquium was a highlight of the Week. Our congratulations to Monroe College for emerging winners among a group of very impressive students.

We were delighted to host former Congressman, Charles Rangel on Tuesday night, during which he was presented with an award by the Caribbean Community Caucus of Ambassadors in appreciation of his longstanding work in advancing US-Caribbean relations during his 46 years in Congress.

Yesterday, I chaired my first CTO Council of Ministers and Commissioners meeting in what was truly an enriching experience. The passion for CTO and the Caribbean that was so evident at the meeting was extremely encouraging and bodes well for the organization and regional tourism.

The Council of Ministers and Commissioners endorsed a joint CTO/CHTA collaboration to put together for the consideration of Caribbean Community heads of government, a framework for the development of a Caribbean public-private sector tourism marketing and development initiative.

The ministers also strongly supported the development of a five-year strategic plan for the organization, a process that has already begun.

We agreed to continue a process to determine whether or not to expand the CTO membership to countries outside the traditional Caribbean region, but washed by the Caribbean Sea, and which seek membership in the organization.

The ministers also strongly endorsed Jamaica’s hosting of 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.

Now, a brief word on the region’s performance so far this year.

In the first quarter of 2017, destinations around the region received 8.7 million international tourist arrivals. This is 150 thousand more than in the same period of 2016, a 1.8 per cent increase.

The grouping which we refer to as other Caribbean destinations – Cancun, Cozumel, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Suriname -led growth across the sub-regions, with international tourist arrivals up 6.3 per cent as of the end of March.

Of the remaining sub-regions, the French Caribbean was the only other to record an increase in international trips. Within the other groupings, visitor arrivals fell by 1.3 per cent.

After an uncharacteristically weak performance in 2016, the Canadian market has rebounded in 2017 to post the highest growth rate of 4.8 per cent in the first quarter.

Europe was up 2.9 per cent and the United States 1.3 per cent.

However, data compiled by STR Global Ltd (STR) for the first quarter indicated that the hotel industry continued to struggle. While the number of available rooms increased by 1.1 per cent, room revenue, average daily rates and revenue per available rooms all fell.

In the first three months, cruise passenger arrivals increased by an estimated 4.5 per cent compared to the same period of last year. This performance translated to approximately 10 million cruise passengers arriving in Caribbean destinations.

Let me also take the opportunity to congratulate those of you in the media who won awards today. Thanks to all of you for all you do to promote the Caribbean.

Congratulations also to our Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Patrick Baucelin of Martinique. A true Caribbean soldier.

I also wish to thank the CTO staff for working so hard to make Caribbean Week a success.

Thanks

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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CTO Presents Rum & Rhythm Benefit During Caribbean Week NY

NEW YORK, NY – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Foundation celebrates the diverse sights, sounds and flavors of the Caribbean at the sixth annual Rum & Rhythm Benefit “The Ultimate Caribbean Epicurean Experience” – taking place June 9, 2017 at Capitale as part of the week-long Caribbean Week in New York (#CWNY17).

Rum & Rhythm Benefit is an elegant Caribbean cultural and culinary experience, but, equally important, it is a major fundraiser for the CTO Foundation, a charitable organization which provides scholarships to Caribbean nationals pursuing studies in tourism, hospitality and languages.

The event is returning to the historic Capitale, where colorful lights and live entertainment will transform the venue into an island haven where guests will be given a virtual journey through the Caribbean with food samplings and rum demonstrations. Consumers, travel industry professionals, officials from the region and Ministers and Directors of Tourism will mix and mingle while savoring eclectic cuisines and flavorful cocktails or immersing themselves into  pulsating rhythms and cultural experiences that only the Dutch, English, French and Spanish Caribbean can showcase.

The evening will include a raffle featuring a Caribbean holiday package including airfare.   The Auction will be online, but patrons will be able to bid on the many vacation packages, hotels stays and other travel related items from the event. Rum & Rhythm also features special appearances from top Caribbean personalities and celebrities, and Caribbean chefs and mixologists will showcase their talents with traditional Caribbean dishes and top-rated cocktails.  Rum and Rhythm is the quintessential Caribbean cultural experience.

Leading up to Caribbean Week New York, the CTO presents Rum Rumble, a series of promotional mixologist competitions held at popular rum bars in Manhattan. Throughout May, well-known mixologists compete for the title of Caribbean Week Mixologist of the Year, which is announced at Rum & Rhythm.  The Rum Rumble finalists will debut their winning cocktails at the event.

Tickets are $125 each and can be purchased here. For more information about Rum and Rhythm and Caribbean Week New York, visit www.caribbeanweek.com.

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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Joint Statement by the CTO and International Union for Conservation of Nature on International Day for Biological Diversity

Monday 22 May, 2017: As the world comes together in recognition of the plethora of organisms and species that inhabit planet earth, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is pleased to join with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity 2017.

This year, under the theme “Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism” the CTO is particularly pleased that the global community continues to pay serious attention to the significance of tourism as a driving force for sustainable development.

CTO is acutely aware that the Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world, but it is not often recognised that there is a direct correlation between our region’s biological diversity and the scale of our tourism activity. Without question, Caribbean tourism products utilize the natural environment for myriad value propositions, and so whether one chooses to engage in whale-watching in Dominica, birdwatching in Trinidad and Tobago, snorkelling in the Cayman Islands or hiking in St. Kitts and Nevis, the biodiversity found in the Caribbean appeals to a wide range of visitors, and creates lasting observational and experiential memories for them to treasure.

In fact, the theme “Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism” heralds a growing partnership between IUCN and the CTO, with one such output represented through IUCN’s sponsorship of the Biodiversity Conservation Award within CTO’s 2017 Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards.

We are remarkably blessed in the Caribbean with un-spoilt natural environments that not only lead to an enviable quality of life for our people, but the development of tourism as an economic pillar that allows us to share our rich habitat with the rest of mankind. It is therefore critical that we recognise and form partnerships with the champions that actively work to maintain balance with our sensitive biological treasures.

CTO and IUCN are pleased to collaborate to raise awareness and promote action towards the important contribution of sustainable tourism to economic growth and to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Our actions matter, and CTO and IUCN are pleased to work together to ensure that the Caribbean remains mindful of both our environmental blessings and our responsibilities not just for present enjoyment, but for the benefit of future generations.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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