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Archive for 2018

Puerto Rico Tourism Industry Calls For News Coverage Of The Island’s Positive Milestones As The One Year Anniversary Of Hurricane Maria Approaches

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, August 20, 2018 – Discover Puerto Rico announced today a new initiative to underscore the progress Puerto Rico’s tourism industry has made since Hurricane Maria. As the one year mark approaches and old imagery resurfaces in the news and in social media, local tourism and community members are rallying audiences everywhere, including news media, to #CoverTheProgress and share real-time Island imagery and the many milestones that have led the Island in one of the greatest comeback stories in tourism.This initiative stemmed from the strong sentiment of the local community paired with reactions from recent travelers to Puerto Rico. Tourism benefits everyone on the Island, and sharing the positive milestones achieved within the tourism industry will help continue to attract travelers – helping to drive the recovery forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Six months after Hurricane Maria hit, more than fifty percent of travelers said media coverage negatively impacted their view of Puerto Rico as a destination and we’re hoping to change that as the one year anniversary approaches. Puerto Rico declared itself open for tourism in late December, and the local tourism industry has worked very hard for the past year to come back strong. There’s a lot to celebrate and we don’t want the one year anniversary to set us back,” said Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico. “While there’s still progress to be made in some areas of the Island, we’re asking for the vibrancy of Puerto Rico as a tourism destination to also be shared and for the milestones the local industry and communities worked hard to achieve to be celebrated. We’re taking this moment to encourage all audiences to help us spotlight our tourism recovery and invite travelers to visit us as tourism is a vital contributor to the economy.”

As part of this initiative, local members of Humacao – one of the Island’s hardest hit communities that became well known for the S.O.S. image that went viral in the immediate aftermath of the storm – have a message to share. They came together with the local tourism industry to replace the aerial image in hopes that this image also goes viral. This time, the message reads: “Bienvenidos!”

“Being on the Island and completely disconnected, we didn’t realize how far our picture traveled. We’re thankful it did. But now, we’re ready to turn the page. We’ve been wanting to clean up that message for a while as we’re past it. We were asked what message we’d want to share with the world and hope our new positive message spreads just as fast,” said Janet Gonzalez, resident of Humacao.

The following are among the many tourism milestones achieved:

  • Arrivals by Air and by Sea. 
    • Flight capacity is on the rise with monthly seat capacity surpassing the 420,000 figure. There are currently on average 110 daily flights via 28 different airlines, and relationships with airlines continue to drive growth. By Q4, the destination is poised to make a full turnaround and be on par with 2017 levels.
    • Puerto Rico has more cruises on the Island than ever before with 14 vessels – which is four more vessels than last year. The Island also has 119 cruise shore excursions for travelers to enjoy.
    • In fact, cruise tourism in May turned out to be the best results for that month in the last 20 years, with 107,390 cruise passengers received. This was 12.9% higher than the 95,139 cruise passengers who visited in May last year.
    • All-in-all, for the next cruising season, a record breaking $1.7 million passengers are expected, which equates to approximately $250 million in revenue.
  • The Return of Luxury. 
    • Puerto Rico currently offers 132 diverse lodging options. Next month, travelers will have even more choices with iconic luxury hotels reopening after taking the time to renovate and new hotels opening their doors.
    • In October, 657 new rooms will be available from the Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve El San Juan Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton and The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort. In December, 480 new rooms will be available from Meliá Coco Beach. And, in January, an additional 652 new rooms will be available from Caribe Hilton. Additional revamping includes El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Resort and The Ritz-Carlton San Juan.
    • The investment in new hotel development equates to $1.9 billion, which adds another 2,900 jobs locally.
  • What’s Next in Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE). 
    • Puerto Rico is already a prime destination for hosting Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events. Coming next year is District LIVE!, a five acre hospitality and entertainment district built in partnership between Island Hospitality Partners and the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority. This complex is destined to be the most vibrant and popular setting for events, conventions and performances of all types in the Caribbean region.
  • Destination Attractions to Discover. 
    • Puerto Rico offers over 189 tourist attractions, including walking tours through Old San Juan, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristobal and the Bacardi Distillery. The Island also offers salsa tours that visit famous places to dance your heart out, caving systems like Cueva Ventana, Toro Verde Adventure Park and El Yunque rainforest – the largest rainforest in the U.S. While nature takes its course, many trails of El Yunque are already open – including the Angelito Trail, La Coca Falls and the Yakahu Tower.
    • The islands of Culebra and Vieques are ready to welcome visitors, too. Culebra is home to Flamenco Beach, recognized as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. There are day excursions to the islands if you are staying in mainland Puerto Rico.
    • The bioluminescent bays are an experience not to miss, and Puerto Rico has three of the world’s five. The reflection of microorganisms causes the water to glow when touched. Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays are located in Mosquito Bay in Vieques; Laguna Grande in Fajardo; and La Parguera in Lajas.
    • There are plenty of culinary options with more than 1,885 restaurants across the Island, including Culebra and Vieques. Puerto Rico is a foodie’s paradise.
    • For those looking for golf and added entertainment, the Island offers 13 professional golf courses, 16 casinos and plenty of nightlife options like bars and clubs.

It’s easy to plan a trip to Puerto Rico – no passport is required for U.S. citizens or green card holders, and U.S. currency is used. Visit DiscoverPuertoRico.com for current offers and information on the Island’s wide array of offerings in adventure, culture and cuisine.

About the Destination Marketing Organization  

Discover Puerto Rico is a newly established private, not for-profit enterprise whose mission is to make Puerto Rico visible to the world as a premier travel destination. The DMO will bring prosperity to the people of Puerto Rico by collaboratively positioning the Island’s diversity and uniqueness for leisure, business and events. It is responsible for all global marketing, sales and promotion of the destination and must work collaboratively with key local governmental and non-governmental stakeholders throughout Puerto Rico’s visitor economy and community at large, while powering economic growth.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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CARPHA Concludes Risk of Getting Zika in the Caribbean Low at this Time

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, August 13, 2018:  The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has concluded that Zika virus transmission in the Caribbean Region has been interrupted, and that the risk to residents and visitors to the Region of acquiring Zika is low. This follows a review by CARPHA of the data of the last 30 months pertinent to the situation.

Zika Virus (ZIKV) was first detected in the Caribbean Region in late 2015. The number of cases increased in the first half of 2016 and reached its peak circulation in August 2016, and then declined rapidly by December 2016.

Before, during and after the introduction of the virus, CARPHA has been conducting surveillance and laboratory testing activity for ZIKV and has worked assiduously with its 26 CARPHA Member States (CMS) and partners to strengthen the ability to detect and diagnose cases; to enhance the capacity to reduce transmission of this and other vector-borne diseases; and to improve coordination and use of information for prevention.

At this time, ongoing surveillance and laboratory testing in CMS indicate that the epidemic circulation of ZIKV has been interrupted in Caribbean territories. This is based on congruency of data available from several sources and on experience of previous outbreaks of mosquito-borne viral diseases in the Region:

  • Local surveillance in Member States has demonstrated both a decrease in general fever-related illness as well as a specific absence of ZIKV reports over the past year.
  • CARPHA Regional Laboratory continues to test samples for mosquito-borne disease, including ZIKV, Dengue virus (DENV) and Chikungunya virus (CHIKV). These tests have shown the drastic decrease from the peak of ZIKV circulation in 2016 to a situation where no cases of ZIKV have been confirmed among samples received from any CMS over the past 12 months
  • CARPHA has reached out to international public health agencies, including the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the European Centres for Disease Control (eCDC), for information on cases of ZIKV in travelers returning from the Caribbean to Canada and Europe respectively. The data shared indicate a similar pattern to that seen in our regional data – a drastic decrease from a high-point in 2016, to sporadic cases in the immediate aftermath and no cases this year.

CARPHA advises that there is still a need to be vigilant given the ongoing risk for dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases.  The Agency maintains continuous vigilance of health and disease trends and risks for residents and visitors in the Region.

We continue to work closely with other public health partners including US CDC, PAHO/WHO, tourism organizations public health agencies in Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union to find innovative ways of mosquito control including behavior change communication and research.

Working alongside CMS we will support vector control activities and educate the public to protect the health of all within their borders. There is a need to strengthen surveillance in member states, set up registries for babies affected in the 2016 epidemic, enhance laboratory testing capacity, document the findings of countries to ensure evidence-based policy and practice and to look at ways to deal with climate-sensitive, mosquito-borne diseases

As we work towards the elimination of the vector and their breeding sites CARPHA encourages visitors and residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellents, wearing protective clothing and staying in screened or air conditioning accommodations.

For further information on Zika, you may visit the CARPHA website at http://carpha.org/

 

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, ZIKA

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St. Kitts Welcomes Wednesday Peak Season Service from United Airlines

Basseterre, St. Kitts (August 20, 2018) – For the first time in the island’s history, United Airlines will fly a second weekly nonstop flight from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to St. Kitts, complementing the carrier’s existing Saturday service.

“The addition of a mid-week flight by United Airlines marks yet another historic first for St. Kitts this year,” said the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce. “I could not be more pleased to welcome this additional service, which increases the available options for visitors and Diaspora to get to island during peak travel season from the New York metropolitan area, which is our primary source market for arrivals.”

For the period from January 9 through March 6, 2019, United will operate a total of 9 scheduled round-trip, non-stop Wednesday flights between Newark and St. Kitts. 

Depart                         Arrive

EWR 8:35am               SKB 2:05pm

SKB 3:05pm                EWR 7:07pm 

*Note: Flights are listed in local time and schedules are subject to change. St. Kitts observes Atlantic Standard Time (AST; UTC-4 hours).

“We are thrilled that United has decided to provide a second weekly non-stop flight to St. Kitts,” said Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “Having a Wednesday flight gives travelers more flexibility in their vacation planning and provides increased capacity during the period when demand is highest. This is a testament to the success of our work to grow North American airlift from key gateways in order to accommodate new hotel developments and existing hotel product upgrades.”

United first began serving St. Kitts in December 2015 and continues to operate non-stop Saturday flights from Newark. With the addition of these 9 Wednesday flights, there is a greater potential for an increase in air passenger arrivals into St. Kitts.

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4,600 flights a day to 357 airports across five continents. In 2017, United and United Express operated more than 1.6 million flights carrying more than 148 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark/New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 757 mainline aircraft and the airline’s United Express carriers operate 551 regional aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “UAL”.

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 water sports, 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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Sallie Fraenkel Speaker at Statia Sustainability Conference

ORANJESTAD, St. Eustatius (August 15, 2018) Sallie Fraenkel, will headline the seventh annual Statia Sustainability Conference, scheduled to be held September 27 and 28 at the Mike van Putten Youth Centre.

Fraenkel is the founder and President of Mind Body Spirit Network, a four-year old company that brings together like-minded individuals through events and travel. She has produced over 29 events on subjects ranging from “clean beauty” to “transformative travel”.

Former chief marketing and chief operations officer of SpaFinder and executive vice president of the Global Spa and Wellness Summit, Fraenkel has over 30 years of experience in the spa, wellness and entertainment industries.

During her tenure at SpaFinder, she oversaw the expansion of the company, including the award-winning website Spafinder.com, Luxury SpaFinder Magazine, the gift card division and all marketing and technology activities for the company.

She was the creator of events including Aspen Spa Days, The Spa Experience Aspen and The Spa Experience Grand Central.  In 2013, Fraenkel ran the Global Spa and Wellness Summit in New Delhi, India. She is co-chair of the Social Impact Initiative for the Global Wellness Institute and sits on the board of Gift of Hope, a non-profit helping women and children with HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

Registration for the sustainability conference, which is organized by the St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation (STDF), Excellence Consultancy, PEECC, St. Eustatius National Park (STENAPA) and THE Eastern Caribbean Public Health Foundation (ECPHF), is now open. Interested persons may contact the STDF.

Get familiar with Statia world wide

In recognition of the island’s efforts towards sustainable tourism policy and quality, on the 30th of August 2016, Statia was presented with a Bronze QualityCoast Award by Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Mr. Henk Kamp. The island of St. Eustatius won an award: No Anansi Story! – Best Feature By A Caribbean Journalist Rickisha St. Louis of Grenada Broadcasting Network for her broadcast feature on St. Eustatius entitled, “St. Eustatius: The Caribbean’s Hidden Treasure” has been broadcasting on the Caribbean Media Corporation’s Carib-Vision http://youtu.be/qrU-MQd0jv8.

St. Eustatius, The Caribbean’s Hidden Treasure was categorized in the Top 8 Caribbean Towns in the world http://www.lonelyplanet.com/caribbean/travel-tips-and-articles/76984 by Robert Reid of Lonely Planet. On October 19, 2012, St. Eustatius was named “The Caribbean Shangri-La” story published in the famous Washington Post http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-10-19/lifestyle/35499555_1_kapok-scorpion-crater by Scott Elder. In 1991, the Simon Doncker House Museum won an American Express Award as the best example of historic preservation in the Caribbean area.

About the St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation
The St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation is the agency responsible for promoting and developing tourism on St. Eustatius. The mission is to get the island Government to lend greater priority to tourism by providing adequate funding to effectively and efficiently promote tourism in key markets; ensuring a quality tourism product by introducing and controlling the minimum standard requirements; preparing future generations to take on greater responsibilities within this sector by means of teaching tourism as a subject on levels of the education system.

The St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation office is located at The Godet House on Kerk weg, St. Eustatius, Dutch Caribbean. Tel: +599 318 2433 or +5993182107; E-mail: [email protected] ; Facebook/Twitter: St. Eustatius Tourism; Website: www.statia-tourism.com.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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TV Host and Wellness Enthusiast Santana Rodriguez to Anchor SOTIC 2018

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (13 Aug. 2018) – A California-based television presenter turned wellness enthusiast with strong ties to the Caribbean will host this year’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) in the Bahamas.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has confirmed Santana Rodriguez, the former weather personality and news reporter at Crown City News in Pasadena, and former entertainment host and morning news reporter at KLEO Television in Hollywood, California, as anchor for the 2-5 October conference, being organized in collaboration with the Bahamas ministry of tourism.

Rodriguez, who was born in Puerto Rico to a Puerto Rican father and Brazilian mother before moving to the United States at two months old, also worked as an on-air television host and segment producer for the television show, NYC Profiles, on Bloomberg local television in New York.

“As the daughter of a Puerto Rican father I am proud of my Caribbean heritage, and I am humbled, yet honoured and excited to host the Caribbean’s most important tourism event. I encourage everyone with a remote interest in Caribbean tourism or the region as a whole to register and attend the State of the Tourism Industry Conference,” Rodriguez said.

As a fitness and wellness enthusiast, the former fitness champion and magazine print model is the producer and presenter of her own show, Shaping Up With Santana, which first ran in Los Angeles, and is set to air on the South Florida lifestyle network, the Beach Channel, from 17 October, and will be streamed ‘live’ on its website, www.thebeachchannel.tv.

Rodriguez has degrees in fashion merchandising and business administration, and is a former commercial and theatre actress in Los Angeles.

Themed, Rejuvenate, Recreate, Reconnect – New Directions for Caribbean Tourism, this year’s SOTIC at Atlantis, Paradise Island brings together tourism practitioners, policymakers and strategic partners, at the highest levels, along with speakers of international acclaim who will provide best case practices and winning strategies on a wide range of topics that are critical to the growth of regional tourism.

Youth from several CTO member countries will make their contributions to the discussions at a Youth Congress, one of the vehicles through which the CTO encourages the best and brightest to consider tourism as a career.

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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CTO Statement on the Passing of William ‘Bill’ Howard, President, West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (13 August, 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) expresses its sadness at the sudden passing of William ‘Bill’ Howard, the president of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA).

Bill was a dedicated servant of the Caribbean American community and was committed to the continued development of the West Indian Day Carnival as an avenue to transmit the excitement of the Caribbean to millions of participants and viewers in the United States and beyond, provide a nostalgic and creative outlet for members of the Caribbean Diaspora – and those who travel from the region to be part of this spectacle – and advertise our carnivals and festivals in the Caribbean. We greatly appreciated Bill’s commitment to enhancing the cultural, educational and leadership opportunities for Caribbean people.

Under his leadership the CTO and WIADCA established a productive working relationship which we will continue to nurture in his memory.

On behalf of the Chairman and the Council of Ministers, the Board of Directors, Staff and entire membership of the CTO, we offer condolences to Bill’s family and loved ones, and to WIADCA, the organisation to which he devoted his considerable talent and expertise. His contribution will be sorely missed. Our prayers are with his family at this difficult time.

 

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog

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