CTO News

Archive for September, 2018

American Airlines Continues its St. Maarten Comeback

NEW YORK, NY (September 21, 2018) – American Airlines continues to announce new and resumed service between major cities across the United States and The Friendly Island’s famous Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM).

St. Maarten-bound travelers will be able to fly American Airlines from Newark International Airport (EWR) and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) as of December 19th of this year. American Airlines also announced, earlier in June, a highly-anticipated resumption of service from Charlotte, North Carolina’s Charlotte Douglas International Airport to St. Maarten on November 4th.

“The new airlift from American Airlines and other carriers from across the US is a true testament of our island’s resilience and strength,” said Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation & Telecommunications, Stuart Johnson. “These new and resumed flight routes provide even more ease of access to St. Maarten and other destinations within the region, truly showing the importance of our airport as a hub.”

“This shows the confidence American Airlines has in the comeback of St. Maarten/St. Martin,” added St. Maarten’s Director of Tourism, May-Ling Chun. “The public and private sector have been working continuously with American Airlines to ensure that the flights return in a balanced way complementing the re-opening of various accommodations.”

Both the Charlotte and Philadelphia flights will operate daily while service from Newark will be on a weekly basis, on Saturdays.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Carnival Breeze Makes Inaugural Call to Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean

St. George’s, Grenada – September 26, 2018 – Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean opened its 2018/2019 cruise ship season with an inaugural visit from the Carnival Breeze. The large cruise ship has a capacity of 4,428 passengers and 1,386 crew members. Visitors disembarking the ship yesterday morning were treated to steel pan music as they went off on island tours provided by George F. Huggins, the Grenada and National Taxi Association’s the Watertaxi Association and other stakeholders. Popular tours are Grenada’s award winning rum distilleries, waterfalls and chocolate factories.

On board the ship a short ceremony was held to commemorate its inaugural visit. A delegation led by Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Clarice Modeste-Curwen and including the Grenada Tourism Authority, Grenada Ports Authority, Customs, Immigration, Royal Grenada Police Force and agents George F. Huggins welcomed the captain and crew to Grenada. The Minister handed over a commemorative plaque to the ship’s captain on behalf of the Government and people of Grenada. She also provided an update on the work being done to ensure that cruise visitors have memorable experiences including frontline customer service training and foreign language training.

As of August 2018, the cruise industry in Grenada has grown by 26.75% year on year and Tourism officials are expecting this growth to continue.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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World Tourism Day 2018 Message by Hugh Riley Secretary General CTO

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – 27 September, 2018 – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the tourism development agency for the region, joins the global community today in celebrating World Tourism Day 2018 under the theme, ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation’.

Digital advances have had a profound and transformative impact on our lives. They have influenced the way we learn, changed how we work, and altered the way humanity’s social fabric is connected. This behavioural evolution will continue; and in the travel and tourism business those who adapt will reap the rewards of technological innovation.

As the Caribbean’s primary foreign exchange earner, tourism remains the region’s lifeblood, contributing up to two-thirds of gross domestic product (GDP) in some cases. In order for the sector to drive continuous and inclusive growth in line with sustainable development goals, we must fully explore the economic, societal and environmental impacts of technology and innovation on tourism’s contribution to GDP.

The CTO is positioning Caribbean tourism to capitalise on emerging technologies. We’ve consulted with some of the foremost thought-leaders and are encouraging public and private sector investment in digital innovations that have disrupted traditional business models. It is our duty to our members to explore and introduce new tools and capabilities which alter the way we approach tourism marketing and development; and we must do so at all levels.

One of the best examples is our digital learning series of e-workbooks containing creatively designed audio visual and multi-lingual materials, designed to encourage and facilitate the teaching of tourism in Caribbean schools. Among other objectives the e-workbooks are meant to build greater awareness among young students regarding the significance of tourism to the Caribbean; demonstrate the importance of preserving our environment for ourselves and for our visitors; enlist the creativity of students to enhance tourism’s success; and showcase the full range of career opportunities tourism presents to Caribbean people.

Then there is the Tourism Information Management System (TIMS), an online application launched by the CTO in 2015 to capture, analyze and display tourism related data for the benefit of our members. This tool captures arrival and departure data from embarkation and disembarkation records via a business analytics system which illustrates the data in a more visual and comprehendible way, facilitating additional reporting and actionable insights.

With the launch of our Visitor Intelligence Database for Analytics (VIDA) in 2016, some CTO member states began to maximize returns on their marketing investment with the VIDA segmentation tool, utilizing postal codes to reveal rich data on the region’s visitor demographics.

Additionally, the CTO is actively collaborating with innovative and disruptive companies such as Airbnb, an online community marketplace that connects travellers with hosts in over 190 countries. Together with Airbnb, the CTO is assisting Caribbean tourism officials and stakeholders to maximize the benefits of the sharing economy, and home-sharing in particular. This work includes informing stakeholders of the value of peer-to-peer review mechanisms; providing economic analyses of Airbnb’s impact; developing policy guidelines and recommendations for the consideration of Caribbean lawmakers; exploring ways to make the sharing economy beneficial to our destinations while working in concert with all segments of the accommodation sector; and identifying ways to more effectively market the Caribbean as a region.

We are also working with Bitt, a financial technology company to develop ways of using blockchain technology and mobile money systems to the advantage of the tourism industry in the Caribbean. This work includes promoting the inclusion of micro, small and medium tourism enterprises; providing fast, simple and secure methods for visitors and locals to complete a wide range transactions; and assisting vendors and policymakers to improve data-processing and decision-making.

The CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) at Paradise Island, the Bahamas from 1-5 October, 2018, will feature a key session on ‘Modernizing the Experience: Using Technology to Enhance the Visitor Experience’. The discussion will cover a broad range of applications from customer-centric hospitality models leveraging technology, to the way industry leaders are using mobile and virtual reality innovations to differentiate brand identity.

In the coming months the CTO will continue to develop an agenda which encourages and assists member states’ efforts to create digitally-enhanced tourism services via entrepreneurship and innovation. It is our firm belief that more efficient resource management will empower our local communities and help build a truly inclusive tourism sector.

Tourism must bring benefits to all members of our society. Emerging digital technologies provide a range of new tools that can tackle challenges faced throughout our member states, increase profitability and bring about positive change for stakeholders that will improve the quality of life for all Caribbean people.

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Pure Grenada Bans the Importation of Polystyrene ‘Styrofoam’

St. George’s, Grenada – September 18, 2018 – Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean, has made a major shift to ensure that its natural environment is protected and preserved for future generations. The Government of Grenada has implemented a far-reaching Non-Biodegradable Waste Control Act, which began with the complete ban on the importation of polystyrene commonly referred to as ‘Styrofoam’ effective September 1, 2018.

The importation ban will be followed by sale sanctions on ‘Styrofoam’ effective March 1, 2019 and a complete embargo on its use a month later. The Act will also bar all single use plastics such as shopping bags, cutlery, plates, straws and cups by February 1, 2019.

Grenada’s Minister for the Environment, Simon Stiell, described the Non-Biodegradable Waste Control Act as a “progressive legislation which seeks to regulate the use of non-biodegradable products, with a view to reducing the negative environmental impacts and improving the health of Grenadians.”

Environment America’s Wildlife Over Waste campaign is one of the many environmental campaigns that believe banning Styrofoam needs to occur. According to their campaign, scientists have found plastic fragments including Styrofoam in 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species and 43% of all marine mammal species. When animals ingest Styrofoam it can harm the animal’s health and people as well if the animal makes its way up the food chain.

The Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) fully supports this move by the Government. CEO of the GTA, Patricia Maher said, “Our brand is Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean. This legislation will greatly assist us in keeping our tri-island destination of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique clean and beautiful for citizens as well as visitors.”

Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen has always championed the ban on ‘Styrofoam’ and plastics. She said, “Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean is renowned for its naturally beautiful landscape. I am elated that my Government has taken action to contribute to the preservation of our environment for future generations.”

The legislation comes on the heels of robust advocacy by the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) and the Grenada Green Group (G3) for a ban on Styrofoam and plastic. Already in Grenada, many hotels, restaurants and stores have transitioned to the use of alternative biodegradable products.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Dominica Update – One Year Post Hurricane Maria

ROSEAU, Dominica, Sept. 18, 2018 – One year after Hurricane Maria devastated Dominica, the island nation is rebounding.

“A growing share of affected residents can say their lives are back on track or almost back to normal after the hurricane,” said Colin Piper, Director of Tourism. “The progress made this past year represents a milestone in the recovery process during which the people of Dominica – and the natural environment itself – have shown their resilience and indomitable spirits.”

Island updates include:

Access
Dominica’s airports – Douglas-Charles and Canefield – are fully open for commercial operations with same-day connectivity with international carriers to and from Douglas-Charles. The ferry service operated by L’Express des Iles is also available. A new ferry service, Val Ferry, began operating between Dominica and Guadeloupe in August 2018. Val Ferry runs a weekly schedule with seating capacity of 400.

Cruise tourism continues to generate significant economic activity. Dominica hosted 33 cruise ships for the 2017-2018 season (out of 219 expected cruise visits prior to Hurricane Maria).

Since July 2018, Carnival Fascination began making bi-weekly stops to Dominica and will continue until November 2018. A total of 181 cruise calls – or 304,031 passengers – are projected for the 2018-2019 cruise season.

Roadways are also open for all vehicles across the island, yet travellers are advised to be cautious as road repair work is still ongoing in some areas. Public transportation, taxi services and car rentals are all available on the island.

Hotels/Accommodations
A majority of Dominica’s properties are open, with more than 540 hotel rooms available. Since last fall, many lodging properties have made an amazing rebound and have used this as an opportunity to do intense renovation to improve and enhance their existing location. Two hotels will be reopening soon – Secret Bay (November 2018) and Jungle Bay (February 2019) Fort Young Hotel, Dominica’s premier hotel, is currently operating with 40 rooms and is undergoing a massive renovation to include 60 additional rooms to be fully operational by October 2019 with a total of 100 new and refurbished rooms.

Two new luxury hotels will soon be available – Cabrits Resort Kempinski Dominica (October 2019) and Anichi Resort, part of the Marriott Autograph Collection (late 2019).

Health Services
Princess Margaret Hospital, the island’s main health system, has been fully functional and all of the 49 community health centers are operational (39 operate from their original locations and 10 have been relocated due to the devastation).

Tourist Attractions
The top tourism sites and attractions are open to the public. Restoration and maintenance work are still ongoing in some areas, including roads, facilities and signage. All major beaches have been cleaned and are open to visitors.

Restaurants
The restaurant and food industries have shown significant rebound, and many of the food establishments have received renewed operation permits from the Environmental Health Department. The island’s food scene will be highlighted in the upcoming Taste of Dominica event (October 15 to November 30, 2018).

Utilities
Electricity has been restored to the national power grid in most areas across the island. Full connectivity to individual homes is ongoing in conjunction with certified home renovations. Ninety-seven percent (97%) of customers have access to reconnect to the national grid.

Ninety-eight percent (98%) connectivity has been restored to the national water supply network.

Internet service and Wi-Fi hot spots are widely available within town and urban settlements, including Roseau. Cellular phone service on the island is widely available.

Events
Earlier this year, Dominica celebrated Carnival and the Jazz ‘n Creole Festival. Both events attracted many local and visiting patrons. Upcoming events include the World Creole Music Festival (October 2018) and Dominica’s 40th Year of Independence (November 3, 2018). This year is also a reunion year, an opportunity for Dominicans living abroad to return to celebrate their culture. Most of the reunion activities will take place during the independence celebration (starting September 29, 2018).

About Dominica

For more information about Dominica, contact Lise Cuffy at the Discover Dominica Authority at 767-448-2045 or [email protected] Visit www.DiscoverDominica.com. Follow Dominica on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. A playlist of videos highlighting the recovery and unique experiences in Dominica is available on the Discover Dominica YouTube channel.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Saint Lucia Assures Visitors of a Holiday Guarantee

CASTRIES – September 18, 2018 – Saint Lucia continues to prove why she is a destination that inspires travelers to visit and explore her beauty and splendor.

Visitors can now enjoy a stress-free vacation while they play and stay at 22 properties on the island that are offering guests a holiday guarantee if their vacation were to be interrupted by adverse weather.

Though Saint Lucia is seldom affected by hurricanes, hotel operators associated with the Saint Lucia Hotel Association and Tourism Association created the holiday guarantee, so visitors could book their vacations with confidence at any time of the year. This unique Holiday Guarantee programme covers cancellations made prior to arrival and if the vacation is cut short because of a hurricane.

The guarantee becomes effective when a hurricane warning is issued by the Saint Lucia Meteorological Service and offers a waiver of cancellation penalties and an opportunity to rebook the vacation.

Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Mrs. Tiffany Howard said, “Given the impact of the 2017 hurricane season on the region, it is utterly important that this guarantee remains in effect to assure visitors that Saint Lucia takes pride in its tourism product. While Saint Lucia is rarely affected by hurricanes, this guarantee provide another security blanket to our visitors.”

Hotels offering holiday guarantees include Coco Palm Resort; Rex Resorts; Harmony Marina Suites; Hotel Chocolat; Ti Kaye Resort & Spa; Villa Beach Cottages; Bay Gardens Resorts; Cleopatra Villas;  Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort;  Stonefield Villa Resort; Sugar Beach- A Viceroy Resort; Villa C’est La Vie;  Marigot Beach Club; Dive Harmony Marina Suites; St. James Club; Calabash Cove, and Castles in Paradise.

Additional information on the Holiday Travel Guarantee can be obtained via our Saint Lucia Expert Agents or by visiting http://stlucia.org/summer-of-discovery/images/HolidayGuaranteeTerms. Terms and conditions will apply.

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