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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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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CTO Secretary General Named One of 25 Most Influential People in Meetings Industry

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (20 July 2018) – Secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Hugh Riley has been named as on of the 25 most influential people in the meetings industry by Successful Meetings, a leading multi-platform brand for multi-tasking meeting planners.

In its annual list of impact influencers, Successful Meetings lists Mr. Riley as one of the top advocates on industry issues. An accompanying profile credits the secretary general for keeping the Caribbean at the forefront of travellers’ minds with emphasis on actions taken by CTO on behalf of member countries impacted by last year’s hurricanes.

The honour, detailed in the July issue of Succesful Meetings, “recognized 25 people who are standout contibutors to the betterment of the meetings industry” as selected by editors of Northstar Meetings Group, a leading B2B information and marketing solutions company serving all sections of the business meetings, events and incentives market, as well as industry luminaries, previous honourees and a poll of the magazine’s readership.

The magazine highlights CTO’s rapid assessment of the storms’ impact and the communications efforts which forged closer relationships between member countries, media partners and private sector organizations. It focuses on the secretary general’s role in communicating the region’s message, noting: “CTO used the spotlight from the hurricane coverage to educate the public on the geography and cultures of the Caribbean, and now, on the islands’ comeback.”

The publication also focused on Mr. Riley’s current work developing the “Rhythm Never Stops” marketing campaign to communicate the region’s vibrancy in key tourism markets.

“I am honoured to be recognised by Successful Meetings among the list of leaders making a difference in the meetings industry,” said Mr. Riley. “The sector is a critical component of our tourism product in the Caribbean and we are proud of the role the CTO has played in this region’s success. We also recognise that there is still significant growth potential and will continue to engage our partners and the meetings industry on behalf of our member countries,” he added.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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St Kitts Cruise Passenger Arrivals Exceed 1 Million for the First Time in the Island’s History

Basseterre, St. Kitts (July 16, 2018) – The St. Kitts Tourism Authority and Ministry of Tourism are pleased to announce that St. Kitts received its millionth cruise passenger today, reaching the key number of arrivals that gives the island marquee port status for the first time in its history.

“I am deeply gratified to welcome over one million cruise passengers to our shores as of today,” said the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce.  “It is particularly significant that this historic occasion is taking place now, as we have over two months left in the 2017-2018 cruise season to increase arrivals even further.  Reaching this milestone at this point in time is truly a testament to the strength of our relationships with the cruise lines and to the continuing appeal of our tourism product.”

CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority Ms. Racquel Brown added, “In the highly competitive Caribbean cruise marketplace, exceeding the million passenger mark for the first time is a highly significant achievement that is a direct result of our successful marketing strategy. Having reached this benchmark, St. Kitts is now considered by the cruise lines to be in the same elite port status category as much larger destinations in the region. Cruise passengers clearly enjoy our diverse range of activities and friendly, welcoming people, and we are working hard to ensure that we keep the ships and their guests returning to our shores.”

St. Kitts reached the one million cruise passenger mark this morning with the arrival of guests from Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas. The ship, which has a capacity of 3,782 guests at double occupancy, docked at the island’s Port Zante cruise pier at 8:00am. Tourism Minister Lindsay Grant led the welcome delegation and selected the millionth passenger upon disembarkation, who was treated to a complimentary ½ island tour. The historic occasion was further commemorated with special t-shirts given to arriving passengers and everyone being treated to an experience of the island’s culture with live performances by a steel pan band, masquerades and more in a grand celebration befitting the importance of the milestone.

“We are very pleased to be the cruise line that brought the millionth passenger to St. Kitts,” said Federico Gonzalez, Associate Vice President, Government Relations Latin America & Caribbean, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “The island is a long-time, valued industry partner that offers our guests the opportunity to expore lush natural beauty, rich heritage, a wide range of attractions.  In addition, our parternship with the tourism team and their ongoing work to continually improve the infrastructure, services and amenities in St. Kitts showcases why it is one  of ourdestinations of choice for our Caribbean itineraries.”

So far this season, the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. cruise lines, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, have made a total of 102 port calls to St. Kitts, bringing over 350,000 cruise visitors to island. Including calls from all international cruise lines over the nine-month period from October 2017-June 2018, the total number of cruise ship calls into St. Kitts grew from 358 to 486 as compared to the same period from 2016-2017, an increase of over 35 percent.

About St. Kitts

Intoxicating natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters, and sandy beaches combine to make St. Kitts one of the most seductive spots in the Caribbean.  Located in the northern Leeward Islands, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on the beach.  For more information about St. Kitts, visit www.stkittstourism.kn.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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