CTO News

Archive for March, 2018

New York To Wake Up To Caribbean Wellness During Enhanced Caribbean Week 2018 From 2-8 June

NEW YORK, NY (26 March 2018) – Caribbean Week New York (#CWNY18) will have a special feel this year as the city of over 8.5 million people gets a taste of the re-energising and rejuvenating power of Caribbean wellness.

During the weeklong event the wellness theme will be incorporated into many of the bespoke activities, including a trade show and educational forum for travel agents on Tuesday 5 June to better prepare them to sell the Caribbean as a wellness and rejuvenation destination.

Caribbean Week New York is the largest regional tourism activity in the New York area. Artistes, performers, celebrity chefs, investors and other strategic partners join government officials and the media as all converge on the Big Apple for a week of festivities designed to raise awareness for the Caribbean’s diverse tourism industry and provide opportunities for member destinations to promote their individual products and services.

Ministers, directors of tourism, national tourist office representatives and other tourism and hospitality officials will participate in meetings, seminars and other business development events to further enhance the Caribbean brand and provide necessary updates and critical support to the travel agents and press who influence key traveler demographics.

One of the key changes this year is the “Getting up Close & Personal with Top Journalists”, event, Caribbean Media Marketplace which is set to be even more effective with a refreshing morning schedule on Thursday, 7 June. The media will have an additional opportunity to network with tourism officials and industry executives later that evening with the expanded, Jamaica co-sponsored Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards Dinner. In addition to the traditional media categories, this year’s programme will recognize excellence and innovation in digital marketing and social media news coverage.

Caribbean Week New York culminates with a star-studded cultural celebration at the iconic Capitale in New York City for the annual Rum & RhythmTM Benefitthe Ultimate Food and Rum Experience in New York City – where the region’s top food and beverage talents will serve as flavour ambassadors for Caribbean gastronomy and mixology on Friday 8 June.

The week-long agenda of consumer and trade events includes:

Celebrity Chefs Programme
Multiple locations

The Caribbean is well known for its culinary diversity with a variety of gastronomic influences. Throughout the week, Caribbean celebrity chefs will prepare authentic Caribbean dishes at highly visible, upscale locations whose customers match the profile of Caribbean vacationers.

Tourism Industry Workshop: 9:00 a.m. – noon on Monday, 4 June

Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, 481 Eighth Avenue, New York City

NTOs and other government and industry representatives will receive valuable insights on “Employing Successful Sales Strategies” to increase confidence and performance.

Caribbean Diaspora Forum: 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Monday, 4 June

Wyndham New Yorker, 481 Eighth Avenue, New York City

The Caribbean Diaspora Forum engages New York’s vibrant Caribbean-American community as unofficial brand ambassadors and gives it a powerful voice via stimulating dialogue between members of the Caribbean Diaspora, regional tourism officials and other industry and civic leaders.

Trade Show and Educational Forum for Travel Agents: 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 5 June

Wyndham New Yorker, 481 Eighth Avenue, New York City

Provides travel retail professionals with tools and information to keep the Caribbean’s diverse product at the forefront of the warm weather vacation industry with a focus on wellness and rejuvenation to aid in the planning of travel experiences that soothe the mind, body and spirit.

Caribbean Students Colloquium: 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 6 June

Wyndham New Yorker, 481 Eighth Avenue, New York City

Co-sponsored by Academy Engraving with a focus on Sustainable Tourism Development, the Caribbean Students Colloquium will see “Students Taking Centre Stage” in a programme designed to serve as a catalyst for creativity while engaging future tourism leaders of the Caribbean.

Caribbean Marketing Conference: 8:00 a.m. – noon on Wednesday, 6 June
Wyndham New Yorker, 481 Eighth Avenue, New York City
Scott Wiseman, President of Travel Impressions, will return to join other experts offering insights on cutting-edge trends and best practices for innovatively developing and marketing niche tourism sectors with an emphasis on wellness travel.

CTO Press Conference: 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, 7 June

Wyndham New Yorker, 481 Eighth Avenue, New York City

Members of the press will learn about the latest developments originating from the CTO Board of Directors meeting along with Caribbean tourism performance data and forecasts predicting future growth in the region.

Caribbean Media Marketplace: 9:30 a.m. – noon on Thursday, 7 June – NEW TIME

Wyndham New Yorker, 481 Eighth Avenue, New York City

A broad section of television, radio, print and digital media will gather to network with top representatives from CTO-member governments and the private tourism sector, including high-level tourism officials and industry executives who will be on-hand to showcase their respective brands and influence the media narrative on the regional tourism industry.

Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards Dinner: 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, 7 June

Wyndham New Yorker, 481 Eighth Avenue, New York City

An expanded awards programme will feature a more prestigious dinner presentation honoring journalists and influencers who have made an impact on Caribbean tourism. With digital media radically altering the way information is shared on social platforms, this expanded event will recognize journalists who utilize innovative ways to communicate the allure of the Caribbean as well as destinations that develop successful campaigns to attract visitors to the region.

Rum & RhythmTM Benefit: 6:30 p.m. – 11 p.m. on Friday, 8 June

Capitale, 130 Bowery Street, New York City

The CTO Foundation will celebrate the diverse sights, sounds and flavours of the Caribbean at the 7th annual Rum & RhythmTM Benefit – “The Ultimate Food and Rum Experience in New York City” – and the signature flagship event of Caribbean Week New York open to the public with tickets on sale at the early bird rate of $80 until 31 March 3l.  Participants will enjoy authentic Caribbean entertainment as they sample the region’s cuisine in support of a scholarship program for Caribbean nationals pursuing studies in tourism, hospitality and language training. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

For more information on Caribbean Week events contact the Caribbean Tourism Organization at 212-635-9530. Registration details for all events can be found at http://www.onecaribbean.org/events-calendar/cwny-2018/

Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information on exhibiting at any of the Caribbean Week events or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, click here or contact the Caribbean Tourism Organization at 212-635-9530.

For more information on the Caribbean Tourism Organization, please visit www.OneCaribbean.org and follow CTO on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to be part of the conversation.

 

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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BVI Works To Improve Standards For Service And Business Excellence

Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, March 22, 2018…Assuring that guests to the British Virgin Islands have an excellent guest service experience is a high priority of the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board & Film Commission (BVITB).  As a demonstration of that commitment, the Board has ensured that four of its employees were trained under the Hospitality Assured (HA) Programme; two as advisors and two as assessors.

Managing Consultant, Small Properties, Trefor Grant and Standards Manager, Vionie Pickering were certified as HA Advisors in 2016 and Annette B. Dalmida-Scatliffe, Executive Assistant to the Director of Tourism and Clive McCoy, Film Commissioner and Tourism Liaison Officer for Recovery, were certified as HA Assessors on March 16, 2018.

The Hospitality Assured Certification Programme was created by the Institute of Hospitality (U.K.) specifically for the tourism and hospitality sector to improve service quality. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) owns the license to operate the programme in the region.  The programme’s overall objectives are to promote a culture of quality, service excellence and continuous improvement in the Caribbean, which are driven by international standards and certification, to strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of tourism enterprises in the region.

“The Board wants to have our properties, particularly the small ones, raise their standards of operations and service.  We found it fitting to invest in the training of officers in the Hospitality Assured as it is an internationally recognized programme and certifiable within the region,” said Director of Tourism, Mrs. Sharon Flax Brutus.  The Director further stated, “The training of these officers is in fulfillment of our objective to develop our staff, promote career growth and create a more dynamic and sustainable organization through succession planning.”

Mrs. Flax Brutus indicated that the next step in the process is to build awareness of the programme and its benefits, and the Board will be publicizing the programme and providing hospitality businesses with pertinent information on it to encourage them to be a part of same.  “Hospitality Assured looks at the entire operational system of a business and assures its efficient operation,” she added.

Hospitality Assured Certification promises customers that service excellence is guaranteed by the company offering the service.  The Hospitality Assured framework helps to improve quality standards on a continuous basis thereby improving overall business performance and competitiveness.  The HA standards enhances the business’ marketability, thus generating great Public Relations; and instills confidence in important travel intermediaries including travel agents and tour operators.

Any hospitality, leisure or tourism related organization is eligible for HA, regardless of size or composition. They only need to hold a desire to improve service to customers and to achieve operational and business excellence.

The role of Mr. Grant and Mrs. Pickering as Business Advisors is to offer impartial and objective guidance and support to meet the minimum requirements of the 9 steps within the Hospitality Assured framework. Their role is one of facilitation and coaching to help the business recognize its own strengths and areas for improvement.  Grant and Pickering have been actively encouraging businesses in the tourism industry, in particular the smaller indigenous properties to raise their operational and physical standards as part of the Board’s Standard Inspection and Training Programme.

As HA Assessors, Dalmida-Scatliffe and McCoy will be required to review the company’s performance with respect to meeting the requirements of the 9 steps and 44 criteria within the Hospitality Assured certification.

The Assessor, as a sole assessor or as part of a team of assessors provides an independent, unbiased evaluation of a business at the time of the visit and prepares a report, which is reviewed and approved by the CTO and CROSQ before forwarding to the client.  McCoy and Dalmida-Scatliffe are eager to get into action once local hospitality industry businesses decide to embark on the Hospitality Assured Programme.

Other programmes of the BVITB aimed at enhancing the visitor experience include the Standards Training and Inspections programme and the Guest Services Experience Training.  The former was piloted with select small properties with the aim of achieving minimum service standards as well as physical improvements to properties that can enhance the guest experience.  The Guest Service Experience Training is being done in collaboration with the Disney Institute under the One BVI Tourism Awareness Programme which has as its mantra, “Tourism is Everybody’s Business”.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News, Hospitality Assured

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Dominica Continues Recovery Six Months after Hurricane Maria Hits Island

Roseau, Dominica – (March 20, 2018), March 18, 2018 marks six months since a powerful Category 5  hurricane slammed the island nation of  Dominica.  Six months following Hurricane M aria, Dominica has made major progress in restoring routes to and from the island, essential services and amenities, and transportation throughout the island.

“Nothing is better for our recovery from Hurricane Maria than visitors to our island,” says Colin Piper, CEO of the Discover Dominica Authority. “We have made significant progress in getting the island ready for guests. Whether it’s for a relaxing getaway, special event or meaningful travel, visitors will see the same vibrant spirit of our people and beautiful scenery and features that make Dominica the Nature Island of the Caribbean.”

Access

Dominica has full connectivity to international and regional markets with regular flights offered by regional carriers including LIAT, Seaborne Airlines, WINAIR, Air Sunshine, Coastal Express Carrier and, most recently, InterCaribbean Airways. As of March 22, 2018, InterCaribbean Airways will operate nonstop scheduled services between Dominica, St. Lucia and Tortola. Chartered flights are also available via Sky High Aviation Services, and Trans Island Air.

The Douglas Charles Airport, located at Melville Hall, and the Canefield Airport have welcomed passengers since October, 2017.  Connections are available to Barbados, Antigua, San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Tortola, St. Thomas, Anguilla, St. Lucia, St. Croix and St. Thomas.

Air access has been expanded with night landing available at Douglas Charles Airport until 8 p.m. for public flights and until 10 p.m. by special arrangement.

L’Express des Iles fast ferry service was operational within a few weeks after Hurricane Maria and provides service between Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia. L’Express des Iles has partnered with Air Caraïbes to offer simultaneous airline and ferry bookings with connections to L’Express des Iles destinations.  Booking can be made on www.aircaraibes.com through the NavigAir programme.

Accommodations

A total of 393 hotel/guest house rooms are available.  This represents 41 percent of the total stock of 962 rooms available before Hurricane Maria.  Fort Young Hotel will open additional rooms and Secret Bay, Calibishie Cove and Citrus Creek Planation are expected to reopen in the last quarter of 2018.   Two additional properties, Jungle Bay Resort and Cabrits Resort Kempinski, are expected to open during the first half of 2019, and Anichi Resort late in 2019.  The opening of these three hotels will increase Dominica’s room stock by 340.

Sites and Attractions

The majority of sites and attractions, 19 of the 23 on the island, have been officially declared open to visitors.  These include the signature sites of Trafalgar Falls, Middleham Falls, Emerald Pool, Fresh Water Lake and the Indian River. Visitors can enjoy magnificent easy to moderate hikes across the island including, Syndicate Nature Trail, Cabrits/Fort Shirley and others. Diving tours are currently available with six dive operators offering dive tours at all of the key dive sites on the north, south and west coasts of the island. Divers can explore a world of incredible underwater vistas and discover why Dominica is ranked amongst the world’s top ten dive sites.

Voluntourism Packages

Dominica encourages visitors to get involved in meaningful tourism by considering a Voluntourism package. These unique packages are offered to assist Dominica with the cleanup of sites such as the Indian River, dive sites and the Waitukubuli National Trail.  Packages are being offered by the Tamarind Tree Hotel, Fort Young Hotel, Secret Bay, Cobra Tours, Cool Breeze Tours and Cabrits Dive.

Cruise Travel 

Before Hurricane Maria, Dominica was on course to receive 219 cruise calls during the 2017-2018 cruise season. This number has since been reduced to 34 calls and the country welcomed the first cruise vessel following the hurricane on December 28, 2017.  The Sea Cloud II anchored off Portsmouth and one month later, the MV Mein Schiff 3 of TUI cruises docked at the Roseau cruise ship berth.  Since then, the island has received an additional 16 cruise calls. Carnival Cruises is expected to make a total of five visits, commencing with three in July, 2018.

The people of Dominica continue to show their resilience and steadfastness in building a better Dominica. In mid-February, the country celebrated Carnival and plans are in motion for the 9th Annual Jazz ‘n Creole on May 20, 2018 at Fort Shirley in the Cabrits National Park, along with fringe events in Portsmouth on the weekend of the Jazz ‘n Creole main stage.

Plans are being made for World Creole Music Festival from October 26 -28, 2018 followed by the island’s 40th Anniversary of Independence celebration on November 3, 2018.

For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 767 448 2045. Or, visit Dominica’s official website:www.DiscoverDominica.com, see Dominica’s updates on the tourism sector post Hurricane Maria: www.dominicaupdate.com, follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Destination News

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LPIA Arrivals Spike, NAD Reports Best December, January in Company’s 11-Year History, Exceed Pre-recession Numbers

Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), the management company responsible for The Bahamas’ busiest airport, reported today that air arrivals at Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport during December 2017 and January 2018 were the highest in the company’s 11-year history and for the first time in a decade exceeded pre-recession travel levels.

Some 151,454 passengers landed at LPIA in December, 140,314 in January, the largest numbers since the pre-recession holidays of 2007/2008. December’s increase was the highest in a single month, up nearly 15,000 over the second-best year a decade earlier. Preliminary results for March are even more impressive – up by 24% over 2017 arrivals.

“The strong increase in air travel to LPIA is excellent news,” said NAD CEO Vernice Walkine. “While we are handling more passengers than ever before, we are also pleased that enhanced systems including pre-clearance check-in kiosks have made the LPIA experience smooth, efficient and enjoyable for passengers from around the world.”

The uptick in arrivals is being driven by several factors, according to airport officials. Among them, an increase in airlift, the return of Sunwing Airlines, strengthening of the Canadian dollar and a brutally cold winter in the U.S. northeast and Canada. They also credit a marketing and promotional ramp-up by Ministry of Tourism and destination partners, especially in Canada and specific markets in the U.S. and U.K. “Canada is driving growth in international arrivals all on its own,” said Jan Knowles, Vice President, Marketing and Commercial Development.

Canada has led the impact on the higher numbers with both West Jet and Air Canada seeing significant growth in their passenger numbers this season and capacity on flights averaging 89%.  The bitter cold and a change in flight times help account for the Canadian boost. British Airways also enjoyed about a 10% increase in air arrivals. According to another NAD official, a Baltimore to Nassau route operated by Southwest Airlines showed a strong increase over last year’s performance.

The Baha Mar factor is yet to be quantified but officials report that nearly every U.S. airline has added seats in anticipation of increased demand driven by marketing of the new luxury resort and casino. Various promotion boards’ marketing efforts are also credited with the image of Exuma’s famed swimming pigs driving traffic from far-off places to the islands of The Bahamas.

Overall, a 15% increase is projected in non-U.S. international seat capacity through June 2018.

According to Walkine, the company which has employed Bahamahost training for front-line staff across LPIA has focused on excellence in service delivery. That focus has paid off. Earlier this month LPIA walked away with third place honours when the Airports Council International announced its Best Airports in the Latin America and Caribbean Region.  More than 600,000 passengers throughout the region participated in the ranking process.

More than 3.3 million passengers pass through LPIA every year with the airport serving 55 destinations via 24 airlines.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO Looks To Double The Number of Hospitality Assured Caribbean Businesses With Support From CDB

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (21 March, 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is looking to double the number of businesses recognised as Hospitality Assured (HA), the certification programme that promotes business and service excellence.

At present, 33 of the 80 tourism and hospitality businesses involved in the programme have been certified as Hospitality Assured, according to Sharon Banfield-Bovell, the regional human resource development consultant with the CTO, who along with Janice Smith-Kipps, an experienced HA assessor and trainer of HA assessors, recently conducted a regional HA programme assessor training workshop at the Ocean Terrace Inn in St. Kitts and Nevis.

“The aim is to raise the number of certified business this year by 30,” Ms. Banfield-Bovell said.

The assessor training workshop, the third of its kind, is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which has approved over USD$223,000 in support of the HA (Caribbean) certification programme, and which, through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network, has been  promoting the HA programme as a key means to support the development of tourism quality, business excellence and customer service delivery in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), especially owner-managed businesses in the tourism sector.

“The CDB’s injection of funding support will allow for 30 micro, small or medium tourism enterprises in specific CDB borrowing member countries – Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and The Grenadines – to participate in the HA certification programme and to achieve one of our strategic goals of strengthening the business performance and overall competitiveness of the tourism sector in the Caribbean,” Ms. Banfield-Bovell stressed.

The project will come to end in June this year and the CTO is encouraging tourism businesses to get onboard and fill the remaining 18 available spaces and seek to put in place an effective service quality management system, with the support of the programme’s key personnel, the business advisors and assessors.

At the opening of the St. Kitts workshop, Michel Thomas, the CBD’s operations officer, noted: “CDB fully supports the programme, as the Bank recognises the importance of enhancing the competitiveness of MSMEs in the tourism sector, which plays an integral role in the social and economic development of a number of CDB Borrowing Member Countries”.

Twenty-one participants from 13 CTO member countries – Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Turks and Caicos Islands – participated in the five-day workshop, which was aimed at providing the necessary training to equip participants with the knowledge and performance requirements of HA assessors.

The assessors’ role includes evaluation of businesses, while maintaining commercial confidentiality; ensuring that assessments are undertaken in accordance with certification requirements; providing clear information to businesses in respect of areas for improvement; and clearly identifying best practice, which would benefit these businesses.

Permanent Secretary in the St. Kits Ministry of Tourism Carlene Henry-Morton reminded workshop participants that the initiative “is a service and business excellence programme designed to promote a culture of quality, service excellence and continuous improvement through the use of a business improvement tool and framework that is internationally recognised.”

“Some of the real benefits of this designation are service excellence, customer loyalty and referrals, continuous improvement and international branding,” she said.

Hospitality Assured is a service quality management certification owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the United Kingdom, managed and operated by the Hospitality Limited, U.K. and developed specifically for the tourism sector, to promote and reward the highest levels of service and business excellence. Hospitality Assured in the Caribbean is managed and promoted by the CTO. Any hospitality, leisure, tourism or service-oriented organization is eligible for Hospitality Assured certification, be they large or small, single or multi-operational.

Posted in: 2018 News, Corporate News, Hospitality Assured

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SUN* Looking for Partners of the Maurice Strong Legacy Scholarships

SUNx is a legacy program for Maurice Strong, Sustainable Development pioneer. Based on a 25 year collaboration with its founders, Geoffrey Lipman & Felix Dodds, starting at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.

Our focus is Climate Change. It is eXistential. If we don’t address it now, it threatens humanity.  We have created a systemic approach to Climate Resilience for Travel & Tourism though our Impact-Travel framework. For further information please download pdf and view a short video interview with Geoffrey Lipman.

Climate Resilience CSR Opportunity – Help us build a cadre of young smart “Champions” committed to climate resilience, build your CSR and strengthen graduate training in your target markets.

Become a Partner of the Maurice Strong Legacy Scholarships the global education arm of SUNx – The Strong Universal Network – a legacy to the late Maurice Strong – Sustainable Development Pioneer. Our goal is to promote Climate Resilient, Impact-Travel with good & bad effects measured and managed coherently: with Green Growth at the core and, 2050-proof in line with the Paris Accords and the W.E.F. 4th Industrial Revolution.

For further details please contact:

Olly Wheatcroft

The SUNx Program

Program Manager

m: +44 7765 132408

Skype: olly.wheatcroft

https://www.thesunprogram.com

 

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