CTO News

Archive for 2018

New Year’s Message from Hugh Riley, Secretary General, CTO

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (28 December, 2018) – As the Caribbean tourism sector prepares to welcome the New Year, we look forward to 2019 with a sense of optimism, excitement and much hope. We are optimistic because we are seeing signs that the lows which Mother Nature imposed upon us during the latter part of 2017 into 2018 are being reversed. We are excited about our prospects because of the incredible turnaround that we are seeing in the most impacted destinations. And we hopeful that the progress of our member countries and supporters can continue unabated, to maintain the momentum they developed since the storms of 2017 when everyone rolled up their sleeves and got down to work to build an improved and more sustainable product.

We are pleased to report that tourism accommodations are being rebuilt and reopened, airports are receiving their full schedule of flights with the return of airlines in full force and the diverse product offerings within our destinations are being restored.

At the same time, increases in the number of available seats, positive messaging and promotions in the marketplace have enabled the unaffected destinations to register continuous growth. The demand among international visitors is strong and Caribbean nationals have continued their quest to explore and enjoy the pleasures of their neighbouring destinations.

Regarding the cruise sector, most ports have been repaired and cruise calls have already returned to normal levels. Indeed, regional cruise visits grew in each month since May, with the region registering growth of 13.7 per cent during the May to September period and 17.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018.

In October, the region launched a digital awareness campaign “The Rhythm Never Stops” on social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, coinciding with augmented airlift for the 2018/19 tourist winter season. Travel professionals and their clients received the message that the Caribbean is a resilient region with an unstoppable resolve to succeed and to keep on moving in the right direction.

For 2019, the outlook is bright for our destinations. We’re quite excited about declaring 2019 as the “Year of Festivals” in the Caribbean. Simply stated, there’s a rhythm to the region that cannot be replicated anywhere on earth. There’s no escaping the melody of nature, as gentle breezes and free-flowing fronds combine beautifully in perfect harmony; no getting away from the heavenly choruses of tides caressing magnificent world class beaches; no missing the cadence of our conversation, the tempo of our movement.

The Caribbean is a festival of rhythms and a home of festivals – music, art, literary, sailing, lights, food, rum, religious, dance – all with their own attractive rhythms.

The Year of Festivals will focus on the fascinating events that have become an integral part of the Caribbean tourism calendar. Festivals help to energize communities across the region, while giving visitors more reasons to enjoy our destinations.

Despite all there is to celebrate in 2019, we must also approach the New Year with a degree of caution since there’s still much work to be done. While preliminary data from our member countries revealed increased demand for travel to the vast majority of the 24 reporting countries, and despite a 9.1 per cent increase in arrivals in September 2018 when compared to the same month in 2017, overall our performance was still down in 2018. A third quarter decline of 3.2 per cent made this our best quarter, and the rate of tourist arrivals is now expected to slow to -1.0 per cent to -2.0 per cent – a definite sign that the tide is turning. Cruise passenger arrivals are projected to grow at an accelerated rate of around 6 per cent to 7 per cent.

Without doubt, our region is in a stronger position than it was a year ago. We are encouraged by the prospect of even greater collaboration with our partners in the industry, including the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, and a range of travel professionals and industry partners who consistently offer Caribbean holiday experiences to their best clients. Our confidence is buoyed by the progress our region is making to combine its resources to bolster our competitive position internationally. The evidence is clear that a strong, unified Caribbean gives the region a global advantage which individual member-countries on their own have little chance of attaining. The success of our countries rests upon our ability to speak as a region with one strong voice.

On behalf of the CTO Council of ministers and commissioners of tourism, the board of directors, members and staff of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, I thank you for all your commitment, hard work and support in 2018, and wish you a New Year of rich blessings and prosperity.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Declares 2019 ‘The Year of Festivals’ in the Caribbean

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (14 Dec. 2018) – On the heels of the past year’s successful Year of Rejuvenation, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has declared 2019 the Year of Festivals in the Caribbean. Throughout 2019, the region will celebrate the unique rhythm and tempo of each CTO destination.

“The Year of Festivals will focus on the fascinating events that have become an integral part of the Caribbean tourism calendar. Festivals help to energize communities across the region, while giving visitors more reasons to enjoy our destinations,” said Hugh Riley, Secretary General of CTO.

“In addition to providing an opportune time for vacationers to visit, these celebrations also emphasize the unique characteristics that define the many diverse backgrounds and traditions which comprise the Caribbean’s cultural tapestry,” added Riley.

The 2019 Caribbean Year of Festivals will be promoted through social media and traditional media channels and will create opportunities for travellers and vacation planners to share their experiences.

“While each destination is unique and inviting in its own right, the common denominator for all Caribbean societies is a yearning to celebrate life – and each Caribbean country provides a beat that can’t be replicated elsewhere,” said Riley.

“The Year of Festivals will highlight music, art, sailing, lights, food, rum, religious, literary and dance festivals celebrated throughout the region. It’s a theme which can easily be embraced by all CTO member destinations,” Riley noted.

Throughout 2019, the CTO will assist member countries with an assortment of promotional concepts and opportunities which can be implemented around the theme of festivals to appeal to consumers, travel professionals and creators of unique vacation experiences.

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados, offices in New York and London and representation in Canada, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish-speaking, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year round, warm weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

Among the benefits to its members the organization provides specialized support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution and research & information technology.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO to Publish Disaster Risk Management Guide for Caribbean Tourism

Bridgetown, Barbados (23 November 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, is soon to publish a disaster risk management (DRM) guide for the region’s tourism sector as part of its objective to foster a culture of preparedness in destination management.

The publication, which targets tourism businesses and policymakers, will help guide the tourism sector’s preparedness, response and recovery from the multiplicity of hazards that impact and/or potentially threaten the region.

The manual will provide guidelines for climate change mitigation and adaptation, showcase regional and international best practices in comprehensive disaster management, and present strategies for effective response protocols before, during and after a disaster.

“The current and future impacts of climate variability and climate change which includes an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, flood and droughts, among others, make it imperative that countries, particularly the regional tourism sector, be equipped to adequately prepare for, respond to and recover from climate related hazards,” Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism development specialist.

The handbook, which is expected to be finalised next month and launched early 2019, is one component of the ongoing project, “Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry (CSSCTI)”.

This project includes a series of training workshops in disaster risk management and climate resilience, aimed as sharing knowledge and best practices on strategies related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as identifying sound DRM approaches, to enhance tourism sector preparedness, response and resilience to climate-related hazards.

A team of consultants from the University of Technology of Jamaica (UTech) has been engaged by the CTO to produce the  ‘Disaster Risk Management Guide for the Caribbean Tourism Sector: A Practical Handbook for Tourism Business and Policymakers’, and to facilitate the workshops – two days of training on DRM followed by a one-day training programme for trainers to help build local capacity. The target audiences  are tourism practitioners and decision-makers from the public and private sectors, and representatives from key ancillary sectors such as air and sea port authorities and disaster management agencies who play a key role in tourism disaster management.

In this first phase, five countries: The Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Haiti and Jamaica are benefiting from this training, with workshops having already been held in the Bahamas, Belize Haiti and Jamaica, while the workshop for Dominica will be held in the coming weeks.

“Given the vulnerability of the tourism sector to climate-related disruptions, the CTO is pleased to deliver this training to our member countries as part of efforts to support climate sensitisation and capacity enhancement in disaster management. As we move towards realising the vision of an industry that is climate smart and resilient, we must make every effort to reduce the risks of climate change and related hazards by effecting the necessary policies and being trained to respond swiftly and efficiently to manage and mitigate risks” said Hugh Riley, CTO’s secretary general.

The CSSCTI project is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) through resources allocated under the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)- European Union (EU)- CDB Natural Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) in CARIFORUM countries programme.

“CDB recognises the enormous contribution of the tourism sector to the socio-economic development of the Caribbean and is pleased to support CTO’s initiatives to promote a climate smart and sustainable Caribbean tourism industry. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report-Global Warming of 1.5 0C underscores that climate change impacts on natural and human systems have already been observed as a result of approximately 1.0 0C of global warming from human activities, and climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5 0C and increase further with 2 0C.  Therefore, building local, national and regional capacities of key tourism stakeholders is crucial to enhance resilience to climate-related risks and to ensure the sustainability of the tourism sector”, said Dr. Yves Robert Personna, project manager ACP-EU-CDB NDRM programme.

Other activities of the CSSCTI project include updating the Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework and producing a compendium of Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism; an ongoing regional tourism education and awareness campaign delivered through social media and a televised video series; and a feasibility study to inform the needs related to climate services in tourism. In addition, a regional workshop was held last month, which brought together hotel and tourism association executives and officials from ministries of tourism and tourism authorities from CTO member countries. The workshop facilitated the review and validation of the disaster risk management guide, the updated Caribbean sustainable tourism policy framework and other project related manuals, by the tourism sector decision-makers, which aimed to obtain their input, enhance awareness and foster utilisation of the updated manuals. The project is expected to be concluded by mid-2019.

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CTO Wins ‘Favourite Roadshow”

We are really thrilled to be voted as Favourite Roadshow for the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards. Travel agents are exceptionally important partners and it’s critical that we maintain regular contact with them and to keep educating them about the many attractive attributes of the Caribbean so they can keep selling the region.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Announces the Winners of the 2018 Caribbean Travel Media Awards

London, UK 7 November, 2018: The Caribbean Tourism Organization has announced the winners of the 2018 Caribbean Travel Media Awards. On Monday, 5 November over 60 members of the UK media joined visiting Caribbean Ministers, UK Chapter Members and Caribbean partners at an exclusive networking evening, held at the Fox @Excel, to celebrate the winners and runners up of the ten category awards.

The big winner on the night was Ursula Barzey of Caribbean & Co., who scooped the ‘Best of the Best’ award out of over 130 entries for her consistency in producing outstanding content about the Caribbean. Other award wins for Ursula were in the Best Social Media category for an all-encompassing #NextStopGrenada Campaign; and Best Caribbean Round up for an insightful 10 facts-about-the-Caribbean-region enthusing travellers to refine their travel search.

In the very competitive Best Consumer Feature category, Will Bruton won on all counts for his dazzling account of an authentic sailing holiday in ‘Fall in Love with Antigua’ in *Yachting Monthly.

The award for Best Travel Trade went to Tamara Hinson for an excellent Tobago Nature Tour review in Travel Weekly while the award for Best Online Feature went to Rupert Parker for his quirky and fun story of Mangoes, Food and History in Nevis for metro.co.uk.

Sally Peck picked up the Best National Newspaper award for an enticing ‘Nevis, Me and a Honeymoon for One’, feature in the Telegraph, with Best Regional Newspaper going to Hannah Stephenson for her account of volunteering in Jamaica, published across 40 regional newspapers, including yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk.

Amongst the other accolades were Blogger duo, Yaya and Lloyd of Hand Luggage Only, who won the Best Blog Post award for their captivating stories and images of St. Kitts across their social media platforms entitled Your Essential Guide of Things to do in St Kitts.

The Best Broadcast award was won by *BBC Two’s excellent production of ‘An Island Parish Anguilla – After the Hurricane’ which offered a heart-warming overview of life on the island a year after the hurricane and as the re-building begins. Finally, Best Photojournalism was won by Julianna Barnaby for a ‘Nevis Travel Guide’ Things to do in Nevis featuring brilliant imagery and content in her blog, The Discoveries Of.

Opening the Awards Ceremony Carol Hay said, “The standard of entries this year was extremely high and I was pleased to note such highly engaging and informative articles, digital and non-digital, as well as great video and photography. On behalf of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, I would like to congratulate all the finalists, especially our winners and our 2018 overall winner, Ursula Barzey. Each entry plays its part in raising awareness of the Caribbean as a region, and this year has been no exception. I would also like to thank the Judges for their excellent reviews and scoring and the sponsors who very generously provided the prizes.”

The 2018 Caribbean Travel Media Awards winners, runners-up (2nd and 3rd place respectively) and sponsors were:

Best Travel Trade Feature:
1st place: TAMARA HINSON ‘Tobago Natural Tour’, Travel Weekly
2nd : Laura French (Travel Weekly)
3rd: Andrew Doherty (TTG)
Sponsor: Bahamas Tourist Office-London

Best National Newspaper Feature:
1st place: SALLY PECK, ‘Nevis, me and a honeymoon for one’
2nd : Tamara Hinson (Express Weekend)
3rd: Keith Miller (Telegraph)
Sponsor: Saint Lucia Tourism Authority

Best Regional Newspaper Feature:
1st place: HANNAH STEPHENSON, ‘Here’s to Voluntourism’, PA
2nd: Oxford Mail/Oxford Times
3rd: Nicola Brady, Evening Standard
Sponsor: InterCaribbean

Best Consumer Feature:
1st place: WILL BRUTON, ‘Fall in love with Antigua’, Yachting Monthly
2nd : Vitali Vitaliev, Geographical
3rd: Fred Mawer, Sunday Telegraph and Katie Bowman, Sunday Times Travel Magazine
Sponsor: Discover Dominica Authority

Best Broadcast TV and Radio Feature:
1st place: DONNA CLARKE & CHRIS MITCHELL, An Island Parish Anguilla – After the Hurricane
2nd: Alison Hammond, ITV
3rd: Cathy Bartrop, Travelguru TV
Sponsor: St. Kitts Tourism Authority

Best Online Feature:
1st: RUPERT PARKER, ‘Stunning beaches and bags of culture in Nevis’, Metro.co.uk
2nd: Oliver Smith, Telegraph Online
3rd: Amy Hopkins, Family Traveller
Sponsor: Kuoni

Best Blog Feature:
1st place: LLOYD AND YAYA, ‘The Essential Guide to visiting St. Kitts’, Hand Luggage Only
2nd: Macca Sherifi, Adventurous World
3rd: Terry Lee, LiveShareTravel
Sponsor: Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority

Best Piece of Photojournalism:
1st place: JULIANNA BARNABY, ‘Nevis Travel Guide’,  The Discoveries of
2nd: Andrew & Emily, Along Dusty Roads
3rd: Nick Robertson-Brown, Scubaverse
Sponsor: Tobago Tourism Agency

Best Social Media Campaign:
1st place: URSULA BARZEY, ‘#NextStopGrenada, Caribbean & Co.
2nd: Caroline & Nick Robertson-Brown, Scubaverse
3rd: Heather Cowper, Heather on her travels
Sponsor:  St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourist Office

Best Caribbean Round Up:
1st place: URSULA BARZEY, ‘10 Facts About The Caribbean Region’, Caribbean & Co.
2nd: Heather Cowper, Heather on her travels
and Nigel Tisdall, Telegraph
Sponsor: Caribbean Tourism Organization

About the Caribbean Media Awards
The Caribbean Travel Media Awards celebrate and reward the very best representation of the Caribbean by the media industry in the areas of writing, photography, digital media, broadcast media, publishing and trade. Within each category, points are awarded for the Best representation of the Caribbean as an attractive region to travel to; Best representation of the island featured within the Category; Best promotion of the key USP’s of the island featured within the Category and, finally, Originality of the campaign, article, video or blog.   The 2018 Caribbean Travel Media Awards were reviewed and judged by a panel of 11 Judges, made up of high-profile individuals representing the travel industry and media.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News, Media Awards

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CTO at WTM 2018

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) brings you, World Travel Market 2018.

Watch the four young Antiguan women seeking to be the first all-female Caribbean team and the first ever all-black team to row the Atlantic.
https://bit.ly/2qxl98n.

Find out from Joy Jibrilu, the director general of tourism, about the People to People programme in the Bahamas, as well as what’s behind the destination’s rising arrival numbers
https://bit.ly/2RDktde

Hear from Vicky Chandler of Discover Dominica about the island’s recovery from Hurricane Maria
https://bit.ly/2JJdoVD

And Saint Lucia’s minister Dominic Fedee, also the CTO chairman on positioning the Caribbean brand and the “The Rhythm Never Stops” campaign.
https://bit.ly/2DqYxyO.

Meet Duvone Stewart, the Tobagonian pannist, composer and pan arranger, who’s promoting his island at #WTMLondon, and shares his passion, as well as his concerns, about the future of the steel pan in Trinidad & Tobago.
https://bit.ly/2JL9viZ

Also, meet Yolanda Job-Thomas, an entertainer from Tobago, who speaks about promoting her island at WTM.
https://bit.ly/2zzqgJn

Here’s Colin James, the CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, who says Antigua and Barbuda Tourism is strong
https://bit.ly/2Da8xMd

Plus, there’s a “new look” #PureGrenada at #WTMLondon 2018 with Patricia Maher, CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority
https://bit.ly/2REx53K

And, Tobago is beyond the ordinary with new branding, says CEO of the tourism agency, Louis Lewis
https://bit.ly/2Dvtq5k

Much achieved at WTM 2018, says Carol Hay, the CTO’s director of the UK/Europe

https://bit.ly/2T2wydA

There are so many reasons to attend World Travel Market, so many ways the Caribbean benefits, says Hugh Riley, the secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization
https://bit.ly/2DvgYTc

Meet Dominic Williams, teacher, drummer and Tobago ambassador. He talks about his love for drumming and 101 things to do in Tobago
https://bit.ly/2PSj4SG

Nearing normality in the British Virgin Islands, says Kyle Harrigan, the BVI tourism board’s business development officer in the UK
https://bit.ly/2RKQr7r

Barbados’ minister Kerrie Symmonds talks about tourism taxes, the new tourism agency, innovations in tourism and why #Barbados’ tourism is on the rise again
https://bit.ly/2FoSRHJ

Barbuda is back, says Asha Frank, tourism chair at the Barbuda council
https://bit.ly/2PI2Zzd

For images of the Caribbean at WTM click on this link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/d2tp8byxNoRKcC5X9

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, ITB & WTM

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