CTO News

Archive for May, 2019

Authentic Caribbean Cultural Experiences are Driving Influences for Travelers’ Vacation Plans

NEW YORK, NY (31 May 2019) – Today’s traveler demands a more authentic cultural experience and are exploring destinations that highlight artistic, musical, culinary, literary, social, religious and political attributes. Countries in tune with the trends will amplify its appeal and increase market share and revenue.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Tourism Marketing Conference will feature a line-up of some of the most innovative minds who will address ways of “Leveraging the Cultural Excitement of the Caribbean” so that countries develop tourism-specific plans enveloping the centuries-old history of Caribbean culture and ultimately moving the region to the forefront of this burgeoning market trend.

Scheduled during Caribbean Week New York (#CW2019), the event will take place on Wednesday, 5 June 2019, 8:30 – 2 p.m. at Wyndham New Yorker (481 Eighth Avenue). The conference, which targets Caribbean tourism leaders, marketers and practitioners, is organized by the CTO allied members and will be moderated by Colin C. James, CEO of Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority.

Presenting the keynote address, John Peters, founder of Mind Mashery, will speak about “Culture Tourism and Investment.” A panel discussion will follow Peters’ keynote presentation and will feature:

  • Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, co-executive director, CaFA/Third Horizon, will be speaking about The Magic of Film around the Caribbean.
  • Maria Atanasov, brand director, MSC Cruises, will discuss the topic Cultural Heritage and its Impact on Tourism Dollars.
  • Russell Zingale, president, eastern region, USIM, and Eran Goren, president, digital media/executive vice president communications, USIM will speak about The Programmatic and Retargeting Brief.


The Caribbean Tourism Marketing Conference includes breakfast and lunch and is open to the public. Tickets range from $295-$595 each and can be purchased at: https://www.caribbeanweek.com/events/caribbean-tourism-marketing-conference-includes-breakfast-and-luncheon/.

John Peters is the founder of Mind Mashery, a solutions-oriented consulting firm focused on the travel, hospitality and travel tech industries for both startup and established companies. Prior to forming Mind Mashery, Peters was the president of Travel Media Group at USA Today and led the team efforts around developing and implementing the company’s digital transformation strategy. He also served as the senior vice president of digital strategy and business development for Rand McNally and launched many successful programs. Peters has been recognized by the U.S. Travel Association, the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), is a frequent speaker and moderator at international conferences and has appeared numerous times in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, ABC News, MSNBC and The Wall Street Journal.

Jason Fitzroy Jeffers is co-executive director at CaFA/Third Horizon, a Miami-based collective of Caribbean filmmakers, musicians and artists. As a writer, Jeffers has covered arts, lifestyle, and local politics in South Florida and the Caribbean for publications such as The Miami Herald and American Way Magazine. As a filmmaker, he wrote and produced the award-winning short film “Papa Machete,” which explores the esoteric martial art of Haitian machete fencing. The film world premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and had its U.S. premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. It has since screened at more than 30 film festivals around the world and has garnered coverage from NPR, Al Jazeera and the Associated Press. The film is currently featured on NationalGeographic.com and TheAtlantic.com and has been viewed more than one million times.

Maria Atanasov is the brand director for MSC Cruises. Significantly contributing to the journalism field, Atanasov was a contributing editor at BBC Capital, news editor for the Wall Street Journal and a reporter for Fortune Magazine.

Russell Zingale brings a wealth of experience to USIM as president of the eastern region. He has spent the majority of his career developing strategy and running media planning teams, including management positions at Western International Media/Initiative Media, planning positions at Backer, Spievogel Bates, and Wells, Rich and Greene and as director of business development for Carat USA. Throughout his 20-plus years in the media industry, Zingale has worked with clients ranging from Proctor & Gamble, Land O’Lakes and Applebee’s to Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Marriott International, Aruba Tourism and Blooming Brands.

Eran Goren is responsible for leading USIM’s integrated strategies, innovation and digital operations as president of digital media/executive vice president of communications. He combines experience and leadership in marketing and analytics with a deep understanding of how technology is changing the way businesses acquire, retain and service customers. During the past 20 years, Goren has held several senior executive positions. Most recently, he founded and led the rapid growth of enCircle Media, launched and managed media agency sourceOut and directed the sales and marketing team at iVenturi, a software company spun off from Dow Chemical and Andersen Consulting. He serves on the board of the YPO Orange County Chapter and multiple company boards.

About Caribbean Week New York:

Caribbean Week New York is the largest regional tourism activity in the New York area. Artistes, performers, celebrity chefs, the Diaspora, investors and other strategic partners join government officials and the media for a week of festivities designed to raise awareness of the Caribbean’s diverse tourism industry and provide opportunities for member destinations to promote their individual products and services, participate in meetings, seminars and other business development activities to further enhance the Caribbean brand, and provide updates and critical support to travel agents and the media who influence key travel demographics.

Caribbean Week is supported by: Academy Engraving, American Express, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bedessee Sports, The British Virgin Islands, Bloomingdale’s, Blue Waters, Calabash Cove Resort & Spa, Cayman Islands, Cititech Solutions, Coyaba Beach Resort, Cool Tech Air Conditioning and Refrigeration LLC, Delta Airlines, Dominica, Doctor’s Cave, Four Season Resort Nevis, Grenada, Jamaica, James Beard Foundation, JetBlue, Lightspeed Reservation System, Martinique, Ocean Terrace Inn, Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Sandals, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Saint Lucia, The Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, Travel+Leisure, Williams-Sonoma.

To participate in, or sponsor any Caribbean Week New York event, visit www.caribbeanweek.com; email [email protected] or call (212) 636-9350.

CTO members receive special concessions when they participate in Caribbean Week New York. To find out more about membership visit http://bit.ly/alliedmembers or email [email protected].


Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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Climate Risk To Be Focus of Upcoming Sustainable Tourism Conference

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (31 May 2019) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), in partnership with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA), will be providing a platform for the region to address some of the most pressing issues facing Caribbean tourism at the regions premier conference on sustainable tourism development in August.

In what will be the first international tourism conference hosted in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), the 2019 Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, otherwise known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (#STC2019) is slated for 27-29 August at the Beachcombers Hotel in St. Vincent.

Under the theme ‘Keeping the Right Balance: Tourism Development in an Era of Diversification’, industry experts will address the urgent need for a transformational, disruptive, and regenerative tourism product to meet the ever-rising challenges.

“Caribbean economies are facing tremendous pressure to respond to changes that are impacting the business of tourism and innovations are required to address urgent matters such as climate risk, waste reduction, community involvement and the so-called internet of things,” says Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism development specialist. “STC 2019 will be pivotal in bringing to the fore such issues that impact on the future sustainability and growth of Caribbean tourism.”

St Vincent and the Grenadines will host STC amidst an intensified national thrust towards a greener, more climate resilient country, including the construction of a geothermal plant on St. Vincent to complement the country’s hydro and solar energy capacity and the restoration of the Ashton Lagoon in Union Island.

CEO of the SVGTA, Glen Beache notes the importance of hosting the conference at a time when the United Nations is painting a grim picture of the earth’s natural life support systems, including its ocean life and natural ecosystems.

“The need for Caribbean destinations to find development models that lean heavily towards destination sustainability is essential and so we must pay careful attention to the way we plan, manage and market our destinations’ tourism development,” Beache said. “St. Vincent and the Grenadines is pleased to be hosting STC 2019, at a time when we are seeking to maintain the balance and maintain SVG’s reputation as an unspoilt destination”.

A primary concern and priority for the Caribbean is enforcing greater preparedness and resilience to climate change. Of equal importance are the changes in consumer consciousness which require the region’s tourism sector to be more astute as it relates to tourism planning and the management of resources.

Regional benchmarks and best practices in community-based tourism, financial technologies for medium, small and micro enterprises, business innovation and destination competitiveness will be in focus during the two days of discussion. Participants will also experience a full day of study tours to immerse themselves in local communities.

Speakers will address ways the region can respond to challenges and opportunities presented by increasing competition, shifts in consumer demands and purchasing preferences driven by social media and networking platforms, the sharing economy, and financial technologies.

The experts will explore how this can be done in a way that enhances local livelihoods through the creation of new, varied, and innovative tourism experiences using the natural and man-made assets of Caribbean society.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, STC

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St. Kitts Welcomes Non-Stop Service from JFK by American Airlines

Basseterre, St. Kitts (May 28, 2019) – Continuing to expand upon a successful airline-destination partnership, American Airlines will fly a second weekly non-stop flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to St. Kitts on Wednesdays, complementing the carrier’s existing non-stop Saturday service from JFK.

“I am very pleased to welcome the addition of this mid-week flight by American Airlines,” said the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce. “It’s wonderful to receive this additional service from a valued partner, which provides visitors and Diaspora alike with more ways to get to island from our primary source market. This is a testament to American’s confidence in our tourism product.”

Starting on December 18, 2019, American Airlines will operate the flight utilizing a 176-seat Boeing 757 with 16 business class seats through February, and then a 160-seat Boeing 738 with 16 business class seats with the following schedule:-

Depart                                         Arrive                 
JFK 8:30 am                                  SKB 1:40 pm
SKB 2:35 pm                                JFK 6:20 pm

*Note: Flights are listed in local time and schedules are subject to change.

Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, added, “The timing of this additional flight is particularly significant, as American just launched summer non-stop service from Dallas this past weekend and expanded twice-daily service from Miami International Airport (MIA) to 5 days a week in 2017. The addition of mid-week service year-round from the New York metropolitan area indicates a growth in the marketplace concurrent with our marketing initiatives. This new service is part of our specific strategy to grow our tourism industry by building out airlift from select target gateways with our air partners to support the destination’s expanding hotel product.”

American Airlines is the carrier operating the most seats into St. Kitts. In addition to the new Wednesday non-stop service from JFK, American also serves St. Kitts non-stop on Saturdays from JFK and Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) year-round. The carrier also flies to St. Kitts non-stop on Saturdays from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in the summer, with service having just launched May 25, 2019. American further provides year-round, non-stop daily service to St. Kitts from MIA, with twice-daily flights operating five times weekly (Wednesday through Sunday).

American’s new Wednesday JFK flight provides extra capacity to carry passengers to island, thereby supporting potential air arrivals growth for St. Kitts for 2020. Already for the first four months of 2019, St. Kitts is reporting a system wide increase in air passenger arrivals of +14.5% as compared to the same period in 2018. From all North American carriers, St. Kitts’ air passenger arrivals increased +17.2% for January through April 2019 as compared to the same period in 2018.

About American Airlines Group

American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld® alliance, whose members serve more than 1,000 destinations with about 14,250 daily flights to over 150 countries. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. In 2015, its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Pure Grenada Heats Things Up with #NextStopGrenada Summer Campaign

Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean, is providing visitors with limitless opportunities to explore, relax and unwind this summer with the relaunch of its #NextStopGrenada campaign. From now through October 31, travelers can enjoy specials including discounts off hotel rack rates, room upgrades, complimentary massages and more during Grenada’s extended summer season.

Grenada Tourism Authority’s (GTA) Marketing Manager, Francine Stewart introduced the new feature of the campaign this year with the launching of the #NextStopGrenada Summer Savings card. This special savings card allows visitors to take advantage of additional discounts on tours, experiences, restaurants and more. Travelers can collect the discount card upon arrival at the airport or at all participating hotels and present it to participating vendors to enjoy the specials.

Now in its second year, the destination-wide campaign was developed by the GTA and designed to provide travelers with true value for money as well as the chance to experience all that Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique has to offer.

Grenada is also offering a wide selection of festivals and cultural events throughout the summer, including Flavours of Grenada, May 20-27, Grenada Chocolate Festival, May 31-June 7; Grenada Music Festival, June 7-9; Petite Martinique Whitsuntide Regatta, June 7-10, Carriacou Regatta, August 2-5; Grenada Spicemas Carnival, August 11-12 and much more.

As an added bonus, JetBlue has announced an increase in service throughout the summer from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to the Maurice Bishop International Airport. From June 11 – July 31, flights will operate daily and beginning August 1 – September 3, the airline will operate two flights per day direct to Grenada. Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen welcomes the increased airlift especially in time for our peak Summer booking period. She also highlighted the recent announcement by American Airlines that will bring additional flights direct from Miami and new route from Charlotte, North Carolina for the upcoming Winter Season.

For a complete list of summer specials and participating hotels, hospitality partners and tour operators visit www.puregrenada.com/summerdeals.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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NEW YORK, NY (17 May 2019) – The leading Caribbean food and rum event in New York will be rocking under the power of Skinny Fabulous, the leading Vincentian soca artiste and Trinidad carnival 2019 road march winner, during Caribbean Week New York (CWNY2019).

‘Skinny’ whose real name is Gamal Doyle, will unleash his infectious energy and mesmerising performance skills on Rum & Rhythm, The Ultimate Caribbean Food and Rum Experience, at Capitale (130 Bowery in Manhattan) on Friday, 7 June 2019 from 6:30 p.m. – 11 p.m. It is this same versatility, incredible talent and ability to create a perfect marriage between soca and dancehall that led him to create history by becoming the first non-Trinidadian to win the road march title in the twin-island republic.

“Skinny Fabulous is an internationally and regionally acclaimed soca artiste, who has penned, produced and performed several hits including the 2019 Trinidad carnival road march hit, Famalay,” said Glen Beache, chief executive officer of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority. “Having him represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines at Rum & Rhythm, will enhance the mandate of the tourism authority of attracting increasing exposure to our destination. Skinny’s presence as an official cultural ambassador will also serve to highlight a major component of our culture, namely our premiere festival “Vincy Mas,” which takes place annually, culminating with two weeks of fun and frolic beginning the last Friday in June.”

Skinny Fabulous joined forces this year with Trinidadian titans Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin for the massively popular song “Famalay,” produced by Dominica’s Krishna ‘Dada’ Lawrence. This infectious song with its catchy phrasing has been ripping up the airwaves regionally and internationally. It was the first soca track to ever hit No. 1 on the iTunes Reggae Charts.

In addition to his many accolades as a singer, the skilled artiste has delved into philanthropy. He founded a scholarship for grade six students and masterminded a school’s talent search which targeted young singers from secondary schools nationwide. He has also launched The Dazzle Magazine, which provides exposure for young professionals, entrepreneurs as well as established businesses.

“CTO is honoured to have Skinny Fabulous showcase the authentic, complex but complementary nature of the Caribbean at Rum & Rhythm,” said Sylma Brown, director CTO-USA. “Skinny Fabulous’ music continues to motivate audiences throughout the Caribbean, and now, during Caribbean Week, in the spirit of festivals of the Caribbean, his artistry will inspire travel to our region.”

Rum & Rhythm is an event where memorable experiences are made. Recognised as the most exclusive and exquisite Caribbean food and rum affair in New York City, the event brings  consumers, travel industry professionals and tourism officials on a magical cultural journey through the Caribbean by experiencing the eclectic cuisines, pulsating rhythms, camaraderie and quintessential experiences the region offers.

While the Rum & Rhythm represents the refined Caribbean cultural and gastronomic experience that the region is well known for, the event is also a major fundraiser for the CTO Scholarship Foundation, a charitable organisation that provides scholarships to Caribbean nationals desirous of pursuing studies in tourism and tourism-related subjects, who, without this assistance, could not pursue their dream of a career in the tourism industry.

Tickets are $150 each and can be purchased here. For more information about Rum and Rhythm Benefit™ and Caribbean Week New York, visit https://www.caribbeanweek.com.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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Antigua and Barbuda April 2019 Tourism Air Arrivals Show Best Ever Performance

JOHN’S, ANTIGUA (May 15, 2019) – Antigua and Barbuda has attracted a record number of visitors for April 2019, with 27,301 visitors arriving into the country during the month.  This is according to the latest tourism statistics released from the Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism & Investment.

April 2019 saw an increase of 17.06%, with 3,979 more visitors travelling to Antigua, compared with April 2018 when 23,322 visitors vacationed in Antigua and Barbuda.

“A seventeen percent increase in arrivals is remarkable growth, and spells exciting news for Antigua and Barbuda”, said Minister of Tourism, the Honourable H. Charles “Max” Fernandez.  We hope to carry forward this momentum through the crucial summer months of May – October with the launch of our global summer marketing campaign #WhatCoolLooksLike.  This will all help to increase visitor arrivals and revenue to the destination, during this period.

The #WhatCoolLooksLike campaign currently being rolled out by the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, offers cool savings on flights and accommodation for persons booking vacations to Antigua and Barbuda, with opportunities for further savings on tours, excursions and restaurant dining, when they arrive in the country.

Antigua and Barbuda’s peak season generally extends well into April, with flagship activities taking place in the destination, such as the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, and the Antigua Sailing Week.

During the month of April, the US market lead the way with 11,709 US visitors, arriving into Antigua and Barbuda, recording a 23.43% increase. Antigua and Barbuda also saw increased arrivals from the United Kingdom, Europe and the Caribbean source markets, with increases of 9.92%, 32.75% and 14.81% respectively.

For the year to date, visitor air arrivals into Antigua and Barbuda are showing an increase of 9,327 or 8.59% visitors over the same period 2018. This equates to 117,920 visitors up to April 2019, compared to 108,593 for 2018.

Tourism Officials anticipate that the strong performance so far will continue during the summer, with the new opening of the luxurious Royalton Resort, and the hosting of events on the tourism calendar such as the ‘Play It Out” Concert, Antigua and Barbuda Sports fishing Tournament, The Optimist World Championships, and Antigua’s Carnival: The Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival.

View #WhatCoolLooksLike Cool Vibes clip:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLNsR9sUjBE

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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