CTO News

Archive for July, 2018

CTO Helps Dominica Prepare To Cope With The Impact Of Climate Change

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (30 July 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, has been working closely with its member country, Dominica, to be better able to plan for, withstand and recover from the negative impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

The CTO has completed a two-day climate sensitisation and disaster risk management workshop in Roseau, aimed at facilitating the sharing of knowledge and best practices on strategies related to climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as identifying sound disaster risk management approaches.

Dominica suffered a direct hit by category five Hurricane Maria last September, which wiped out 226 per cent of its gross domestic product, two years after Tropical Storm Erika passed over the island, destroying an entire village, killing 20 people and leaving behind damage to 90 per cent of the country’s GDP.

“The topics of climate change and disaster preparedness are very pertinent to us in Dominica and in the wider Caribbean. We live in a region that is prone to the effects of climate change and disasters especially hurricanes. Of course, we have first-hand knowledge and recent experience with hurricanes,” Colin Piper, the chief executive officer of Discover Dominica Authority (DDA), the island’s tourist board, said at the opening of the workshop

“Anecdotal data indicates that tourism arrivals after natural disasters reduce by up to 30 per cent for up to three years. We are in fact experiencing a reduction in promotable visitor arrivals. For some properties, their occupancy levels may be up due to aid and agency short stays, but we must address this issue which threatens our livelihood within the hospitality industry and as nation,” he added.

Thirty tourism practitioners and decision makers from the public and private sectors participated in the event, which formed part of the “Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry” project currently implemented by the CTO, with funding and technical assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank, through the joint Natural Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) programme for Caribbean Forum states, undertaken in conjunction with the African Caribbean and Pacific Group and the European Union.

The 26-27 July workshop, facilitated by strategic planning expert Dr. Jennifer Edwards, was the latest in a series of training programmes being conducted by the CTO for Dominica.

Earlier this month a “Delivering Quality Service” workshop was held for 55 craft and souvenir vendors, hair braiders and tourism taxi service providers to help them better appreciate the importance of their roles in visitor satisfaction; improve people relations through effective communication and understand how positive visitor interactions result in satisfied visitors.

That workshop, facilitated by the CTO’s regional human resources development consultant Sharon Banfield- Bovell,  covered areas such as understanding the customer, the importance of delivering quality customer service and the ten principles of customer service, all areas which Dominica said were critical in ensuring the service providers are equipped with the necessary skill set to deliver the highest level of customer service.

In addition, 25 participants each are to be trained in the management of sites and attractions at a workshop which targets forestry park wardens and the Waitukubuli National Trail Project among others, and a management of service quality workshop for senior executives and general managers in private and public sector tourism enterprises.

The CTO’s resource mobilisation and development division offers several training and development programmes, for member countries and the tourism sector, in keeping with its mandate to assist in developing and strengthening human capital in the region’s tourism sector so as to offer high levels of professional service.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Climate Change, Corporate News

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LIAT Provides More Opportunities to Get to Pure Grenada for Spicemas Carnival 2018

St. George’s, Grenada – 27th July, 2018 – The Government of Grenada and regional airline LIAT have agreed on a partnership that will increase airlift to Pure Grenada during the ever-popular Spicemas Carnival Season. Previously all flights coming into Grenada were fully booked with visitors and the diaspora clamouring for more flights.

The agreement was reached following negotiations involving the Grenada Airlift Advisory Committee, the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) and LIAT representatives. LIAT’s 68-seater aircraft will fly into Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International on Wednesday 8th, Thursday 9th and Friday 10th August from BGI, Barbados.

Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Dr.Clarice Modeste Curwen says, “Spicemas is our signature festival and interest from all over the world is growing by leaps and bounds. We thank LIAT for this first of its kind collaboration during our festive season and we look forward to future partnerships.”

Speaking about the benefits of the added flights, the Minister further stated, “This is great news as international travellers as well as the diaspora can visit Grenada, connecting through Barbados from London, Miami, Canada, New York and Panama.”

Marketing Manager of the GTA, Francine Stewart was also elated with the news saying, “With growing interest from travellers who are either from Barbados or in Barbados for the CropOver Festival and with Spice Mas trending as a hot Carnival destination, this is the perfect opportunity for them to experience, the Spice of the Caribbean.”

The additional flights also provide Grenadians with more outbound options to Barbados with the ability to connect to the UK, the USA, Canada and the Caribbean. Citizens are encouraged to take advantage of the extra flights.

The GTA and LIAT will move aggressively to market these additional flights through several media including digital platforms.

The Grenada Airlift Advisory Committee has continued to build on its relationship with LIAT since 2016. Since then benefits coming out of this relationship include a marketing partnership between LIAT and the GTA, open communication between the Airlift Committee and LIAT Executives and increased flights to Grenada in 2017. Committee Chairman Richard Strachan expressed his gratitude to the Tourism Minister and Government for supporting this pioneering venture with LIAT.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Tourism Human Resource Professionals To Plan Strategies To Build High Performance Workforce

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (26 July 2018) – When human resource professionals from across the region meet in the Cayman Islands in November for the 9th Tourism Human Resources Conference, they will be challenged to develop effective strategies and plans to build a high performance and motivated workforce.

The 28-30 November conference, organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT), comes at a time when the Caribbean faces increased competition in the global, high-tech, innovation driven industry, and amidst increasing calls for a total rethink of the way tourism leaders engage with the workforce.

“There is an urgent need for a high performance, resilient workforce which is critical for sustainability of the tourism sector in this ever-changing environment,” Sharon Banfield-Bovell, the CTO’s regional human resource development consultant said as planning for the conference intensifies.

Building high performance teams come with challenges, she said, including employees’ unwillingness or lack of motivation to change; low employee productivity and morale; and the scarcity of relevant skills, as well as weak or outdated leadership thinking and styles.

However, Banfield-Bovell said, while technology can help drive efficiency, “the real value in tourism is our human resources – the power of people – and the ability of a well-trained, highly valued, and fairly compensated workforce to transcend beyond process and profit”.

The conference, which has as its theme Building a Resilient, High-Performing and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Workforce For Global Competitiveness, will feature experts in human resources, tourism and labour, including Claudia Coenjaerts, director of the International Labour Organization’s decent work team  and office for the Caribbean, who will deliver the keynote address on, The Future of Work – What will become the New Normal.

The CTO team has been working with the CIDOT to produce a dynamic programme of plenaries, masterclasses, a students’ forum and a tour.

“As Caribbean nations, it is imperative that we make the necessary investments which drive visitation in this globally competitive industry. While these investments often come in the form of property development or increased marketing, it is my belief that the greatest asset any tourism product has is its people,” commented Rosa Harris, director of tourism for the Cayman Islands. “The Cayman Islands has continued to develop our local tourism workforce through nationwide customer service training, tertiary education scholarships and the establishment of a vocational certification programme through our School of Hospitality Studies. We are proud to host the 2018 Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Human Resources Conference and look forward to inviting professionals from across the region, to share best practices on ways we can strengthen our tourism workforces for collective success.”

Registration and other information available at www.onecaribbean.org.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, HR Conference

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New Directions for Caribbean Tourism at SOTIC 2018

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (25 July 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is examining new strategies to stimulate growth in the region’s tourism industry at this year’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) themed Rejuvenate, Recreate, Reconnect – New Directions for Caribbean Tourism.

Scheduled 2-5 Oct. 2018 at Atlantis, Paradise Island in The Bahamas, SOTIC 2018 will consider ways to build a tourism industry that is resilient and able to adapt to changing trends, demands and situations.

“Globally, the tourism industry is constantly evolving. At the Caribbean Tourism Organization, we must be in the forefront of anticipating and managing the changes that affect our region – extreme climate phenomena, political and economic realities at home and abroad, and the rapid rise in technological developments,” said Hugh Riley, secretary general and CEO of CTO.

“In order to continue to grow our tourism in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to our communities, we must be open to new thinking, which often means breaking out of traditional comfort zones. SOTIC 2018 is intended to inspire action to develop innovative concepts, tools and models, and implement strategies that recognise the changing demands of international travellers. Exceeding the expectations of increasingly knowledgeable consumers is a challenge the Caribbean must always be prepared to meet,” Riley added.

The SOTIC theme ties in CTO’s declaration of 2018 as the “Caribbean Year of Rejuvenation and Wellness,” with multifaceted themes for each of the three conference days:

  • Day one is centered on “Recreate” with discussions focused on innovation, business development and building better, not just the physical infrastructure, but an entire immersive experience that is driven by technology.
  • The second day will delve into “Rejuvenation,” featuring a blend of creative ideas and cutting edge thinking on what can be done to add vitality, energy and freshness into the Caribbean tourism product. Discussions will also focus on efforts by regional carriers to make travelling through the region less challenging and enhance the visitor experience.
  • Emphasis on day three will be on “Reconnecting,” where participants will explore ways to distinguish the Caribbean tourism product by incorporating the region’s unique cultural hybridism and endemic wellness customs into programmes.

Throughout the three-day event, delegates will address visitors’ desire for new experiences, while being conscious of the impact they have on the communities they visit.

Caribbean tourism practitioners, policymakers, travel professionals and strategic partners from the public and private sectors throughout the region and internationally participate each year in SOTIC.

SOTIC is being organised by the CTO in collaboration with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. The conference will be preceded by business meetings on 1 – 2 Oct. 2018.

Sponsorship opportunities and details are available from CTO USA 212-635-9530 or via http://sotic.onecaribbean.org/sponsor.

For further details on the conference, including how to register, please visit http://sotic.onecaribbean.org/.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, SOTIC

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Barbados Tourism Growth Continues, Up 3% In First Six Months Of 2018

New airlift, new experiences and refreshed product are already translating to increased tourism business for Barbados. Newly released figures show that Barbados is continuing its path of positive growth in 2018, attracting 357,668 stayover visitors for the period January to June. When compared to the corresponding period in 2017, there were 10,819 additional visitors to the island; an increase of 3.1 percent.

According to in-house statistics from the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), the island enjoyed an influx of arrivals, and of the five top-producing source markets, the United Kingdom is out front once again with over 119,241 arrivals, up 2.8 percent from 2017. The UK maintains a 33.3 percent market share. Following closely behind is the United States, which recorded the fastest growth of 8.8 percent from 107,328 visitors during the January to June 2018 period. Over in Canada, 53,236 arrivals were recorded, seeing this market grow by 2.9 percent when compared to 2017.

The island also saw 14,863 arrivals coming out of Trinidad and Tobago, and there was a further increase of 3.1 percent growth from the other Caribbean territories, while Europe retained 4.3 percent market share with 18,988 visitors.

CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), William ‘Billy’ Griffith congratulated the tourism players who contributed to the destination’s growth. He added that “there’s pressure to keep improving and to remain competitive as we continue to grow our brand. We must be strategic in our efforts, and now, more than ever, we must focus on our key relationships. Which is why over the next six months, you will see us working even more closely with our partners to ensure these trends continue through the upcoming winter period and beyond.”

Increases in air capacity

Last December, the BTMI joined with the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) to welcome Virgin Atlantic’s new London Heathrow twice-weekly service to Barbados, which will recommence in the coming winter 2018/19 season. Newcomer Thomas Cook will also recommence its direct weekly service from London Gatwick this winter 2018/19, which ran successfully through winter 2017/2018.

All eyes are on Latin America as Barbados’ newest partnership with Copa Airlines has introduced a twice weekly Barbados–Panama service. The inaugural flight landed in Barbados to much fanfare on July 17 and this new service is expected to open a gateway to wider South America and other Caribbean territories.

The United States will get a further boost this winter with two additions from American Airlines. The airline recently announced that it will be adding a third daily flight from Miami commencing December 19, 2018. On that same day, it will also launch a non-stop, daily service from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to Barbados. Over in Canada, WestJet is currently increasing its seats by 8 percent between May and October 2018, and this winter, Air Canada will increase its capacity from Montreal with three weekly flights.

Exciting new attractions and accommodations

In addition to the increased airlift, Griffith also acknowledged the role that the island’s new attractions have played in boosting 2018 arrival numbers. “We are cognisant of the continuous need for refreshing and invigorating our product offerings while preserving the elements of the Barbados experience that keep our repeat guest rate so high. New attractions like Rihanna Drive and Nikki Beach, or even Hugo’s restaurant, go a long way in showing that Barbados is committed to maintaining its position as a superior holiday destination.”

He also spoke about the addition of the new Sandals Royal resort, and extensively refurbished accommodation properties such as Sea Breeze Beach House in Maxwell, Christ Church.

Looking ahead to the next six months, Griffith said he is looking forward to experiencing the new Heritage Railway by St. Nicholas Abbey, which features a 45-minute train ride along the East Coast in a restored locomotive.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Divi Little Bay Beach Resort Hosting the Patriots Cheerleaders July 23-30

NEW YORK, NY (July 23, 2018) – Divi Little Bay Beach Resort and The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau are thrilled to welcome the famed Patriots Cheerleaders to the island from July 23-30 as they shoot their ever-popular annual swimsuit calendar and various video productions. While on the island, the ladies will be exploring St. Maarten’s landmarks, culture and history through a variety of planned activities.

“We’re honored that the Patriots Cheerleaders chose to highlight St. Maarten and Divi Little Bay by shooting their upcoming calendar on the island,” said Marco Galaverna, Divi Resorts President & COO. “It’s been a long road to recovery since last year’s storms, but we’re excited to show these ladies how quickly we’ve rebuilt and demonstrate why St. Maarten is known as the friendly island.”

Representing the 5X Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, the Patriots Cheerleaders entertain thousands of fans from the sidelines of Gillette Stadium, participate in goodwill missions and appearances and have entertained at high-profile events such as Super Bowls, Pro Bowls, and international games.

When they’re not striking a pose for the camera on St. Maarten, the cheerleaders will be interacting with guests, locals, media and dignitaries with plenty of meet & greet opportunities including autographs, photos, games, activities and parties and participating in a community outreach project.

“We’ve set up some really exciting events while the Patriots Cheerleaders are here, including an evening Sunset Sail with Aqua Mania Adventures, Karaoke Night, a downtown tour and a BBQ Beach Dinner,” said Divi Little Bay’s General Manager Anne-Marie Brooks. “We’re really looking forward to showing the cheerleaders everything that our wonderful island has to offer, and we know they are excited to meet locals while they are out and about on their tours.”

About Divi Resorts

Divi Resorts is the vacation expert of the Caribbean, with a collection of eight premium resorts spanning the five stunning Caribbean islands of Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, St. Croix, and St. Maarten. For more information on Divi Resorts, call 1-800-367-3484 or visit www.diviresorts.com.

About The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau:
St. Maarten is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations – Kingdom of the Netherlands and France – creating a destination with European charm and Caribbean flair. Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island’s 37 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions. Direct air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from major U.S. and Canadian cities. For additional information on St. Maarten, visit the official site of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau at www.vacationstmaarten.com.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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