Archive for January, 2022

Dr. R. Kenneth Romer Named Deputy Director General of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism

NASSAU, Bahamas, 24 January 2022 – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation has appointed Dr. R. Kenneth Romer as Deputy Director General, filling the senior post in the Ministry’s leadership team after Ms. Latia Duncombe was selected as Acting Director General.

Dr. Romer has held a leadership position within the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism since 2019, serving as Executive Director overseeing airlift, cruise, yachting, visitor safety, sites and facilities, quality assurance, as well as brand management, research and statistics, guest services and special projects. He is a member of the Bahamas Tourism Readiness and Recovery Committee as well as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, among others.

“Dr. Romer brings deep expertise across critical sectors that will be invaluable as he steps into this important role,” said Deputy Prime Minister the Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation. “He is no stranger to the Ministry team, and will no doubt continue to make significant contributions as we bring our country back to pre-pandemic prosperity and growth.”

Over the past 25 years, Dr. Romer has served in senior level executive roles in both the private and public sectors throughout The Bahamas, the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States, and the Caribbean, spanning key sectors across aviation, tourism and hospitality, as well as corporate and civic communities.

“This is a pivotal turning point for tourism, and I look forward to helping our great nation rebound and recover,” said Dr. R. Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation. “While the past two years have been a challenge, I’m confident in the path forward and am thrilled to bring my expertise to our country as Deputy Director General.”

Dr. Romer holds a Doctorate Degree with specializations in Leadership and Organizational Management as well as academic and professional credentials from Harvard University, University of The Bahamas, University of The West Indies, Cornell University, James Madison University, among others. He holds specialized certifications in both Contract and Aviation Laws; FAA Private Pilot; Human Resources Management; Executive Leadership; Educational Leadership; Tourism, Hospitality and Travel Management; Creating Innovative Business Models, and Infrastructural PPPs, among others. The recipient of numerous leadership awards, he continues to serve his country through many civic, community and statutory appointments.

Dr. Romer is married to his wife Crystal and has two children, Kenedee and Harper.

Posted in: 2022 News, Blog, Destination News

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Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Appoints Latia Duncombe Acting Director General

NASSAU, Bahamas, 24 January 2022 – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation has appointed Latia Duncombe as Acting Director General, under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister the Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation.

In August 2021 Latia Duncombe was recruited as Deputy Director General of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation. ADG Duncombe is a seasoned Bahamian business professional, bringing over 25 years of cross-industry experience in sales and marketing, public relations, finance and business analysis. Her positions and responsibilities range across local and international destinations throughout the Caribbean, including The Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Turks & Caicos Islands.

“Latia Duncombe is a distinguished executive in marketing and sales, and we are confident she will bring invaluable oversight while further propelling The Bahamas as a leading destination,” said Deputy Prime Minister the Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation. “ADG Duncombe will help me lead in the execution of our robust strategic growth plans for tourism and investments, as outlined in our Blueprint for Change.”

The Bahamas continues to be acknowledged and lauded as one of the very best destinations in the world, landing on annual award and hot lists of consumer and trade publications and organizations. Most notably, The New York Times and Travel + Leisure have recently recognized The Bahamas as a top place to go in 2022. At the hands of ADG Duncombe and in cooperation with the deeply experienced executives at the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, it is expected that these accolades will only increase.

“I am honoured to represent the people of The Bahamas in continuing to drive a healthy tourism economy in our great island nation,” said Latia Duncombe, Acting Director General, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation. “These recent years have been challenging as we navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but we look toward a more prosperous future with many accomplishments to celebrate in the months and years ahead.”

ADG Duncombe was employed as a Senior Executive and the Head of Sales & Marketing for Rubis Bahamas and Rubis Turks & Caicos Limited before serving as Deputy Director General for the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation.

ADG Duncombe holds an MBA with Merit from the University of Liverpool, an Associates of Arts in Accounting with Distinction from the Bahamas Baptist Community College and is an Affiliate of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). She is equally committed to charitable and community work, serving as a REACH (Resources and Education for Autism Relates Challenges) board member. She is also a former Miss World Bahamas, youth parliamentarian and Red Cross volunteer.

Hailing from the island of Abaco, ADG Duncombe is married to Othniel Duncombe and has two energetic sons, Tré and Zion.

Posted in: 2022 News, Blog, Destination News

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Belize Tourism Board Announces New Safe Travel Requirements

In an effort to further protect the health and wellbeing of international visitors and Belizeans from COVID-19, Belize Tourism Board (BTB), the official tourism organization for Belize, has released new safe travel standards for any persons entering the country. Effective Feb. 15, 2022, all visitors are required to apply for Belize Travel Health Insurance – a mandatory insurance that helps protect travelers against incurred medical and non-medical expenses, if they test positive for COVID-19 during their stay in Belize.

The cost of the policy is $18 USD and provides coverage for up to $50,000 USD in medical expenses related to treatment of COVID-19 for a period of 21 days. This insurance plan will come online under the country’s public health regulations and provide cover for lodging expenses due to quarantine up to $2,000 USD (max $300/day USD). Travelers will also be covered for emergency assistance services such as air evacuation and emergency expenses related to pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, it covers trip cancellations and expenses incurred by COVID-19 positive travelers for extended stays.

Some important entry highlights are listed below:

  • It is recommended that travelers purchase the Belize Travel Health Insurance prior to their travel to Belize. However, purchases can be made upon arrival at the Philip Goldson International Airport or at Belize’s land borders.
  • Visitors must purchase Belize Travel Health Insurance and are required to complete the Customs and Immigration form that is provided on all flights to Belize.
  • Exempted from this mandatory insurance are Belizean nationals, permanent residents and travelers with QRP or Long Stay status and flight crews.
  • All international tourists must book their stay in Belize at a Gold Standard property (approved hotel or accommodation) and present confirmation at immigration.
  • All travelers, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, entering Belize through the Philip Goldson International Airport from other countries, will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test.
  • If no test is presented, a COVID-19 test will be administered at the airport for a fee of USD $50 per passenger. Children under the age of 5 years will not be required to present a negative test.

In the past year, Belize has implemented several traveler protocols to keep visitors feeling safe, including the Tourism Gold Standard Program and Travel Belize app, which enables travelers to seamlessly plan their vacation with certified hotels and tour operators (an entry requirement). The new Travel Health Insurance mandate underscores Belize’s commitment to health and safety, enhancing travel confidence and giving visitors peace of mind to schedule that well-deserved vacation for 2022 and beyond.

About Belize Tourism Board
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is a statutory body within the Belize Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, and it is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations. The BTB works in conjunction with members of the private sector – including the Belize Hotel Association, Belize Tourism Industry Association and Belize National Tour Operators Association – and is dedicated to building tourism in the most economically and environmentally sustainable manner. As a part of its responsibilities, the BTB promotes Belize as a premier tourism destination to both in-country and international consumers. Among its outreach to the international travel market, the BTB markets the country’s unique attractions to travelers, members of the travel trade industry and media outlets in key markets. The BTB is also dedicated to developing and implementing tourism programs that will help strengthen and grow the Belizean tourism industry; promote good destination stewardship; and instill high quality standards for accommodations and travel experiences. For more information on the BTB and its services, visit

Posted in: 2021 News, Destination News

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Caribbean Tourism Industry Remains Hopeful of Gradual Rebound

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (13 Jan., 2022) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) remains positive about the continued rebound of the tourism industry even in the face of the uncertainty caused by the ongoing pandemic.

Over the past eighteen months, Caribbean destinations, without exception, have shown their resilience in creating strategies for recovery, incorporating frequently updated travel protocols, and collaborations with regional and international partners in the areas of health and economic support and development. Recovery in each instance, has taken place while ensuring the health and safety of residents and visitors alike.

The year 2021 has given us an indication that there is light at the end of what has been a long tunnel which began in March 2020. By mid-2021, we saw a turnaround in tourism activity, with the Caribbean exceeding the global average for stayover arrival growth and tourism’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP).  During the third quarter of 2021, there were 5.4 million tourist arrivals to the region, almost three times the arrivals for the same period in 2020, but still 23.3 per cent below 2019 levels. Preliminary reports suggest that this progress continued through to the end of the last quarter. Consequently, it is estimated that tourist arrivals for 2021 will exceed 2020 levels by 60 to 70 per cent.

As we begin 2022, once again grappling with the effects of a new variant which is also affecting international travel adversely, we are heartened by the recovery experiences and the lessons learnt in 2021.

These experiences and lessons have taught us that travel and hospitality can co-exist with the pandemic affecting both our destinations and markets. While the results to date have not indicated a return to 2019 levels, the exceptional results recorded in the summer to year-end period of 2021 show that a scaled or gradual rebound is likely and very possible by the end of 2022.

Recovery strategies, continuously being adapted to existing circumstances, based on continued partnerships and collaboration, advocating for safe and healthy visitor experiences and prioritising the health of residents, have proven to be the formula for recovery of the sector.

The year 2022 is being observed as the year of wellness in the Caribbean, with a focus on renewal. Given the Caribbean’s unique diversity, destination by destination, visitors to our shores will discover endless options to be rejuvenated in the region. Similarly, we encourage Caribbean nationals to explore and rediscover the diversity within their own destinations and those around them.

Even as we work on our short-term strategies for recovery of the sector, we urge longer term approaches to promote sectoral sustainability. Building on our 2021 World Tourism Day message, we encourage moving towards social inclusion and creating smart destinations based on smart businesses as key planks which will lead to sustainability. Our human resources, which are our key assets, are critical to the success of the sector. During 2022, the CTO hopes to build on a regional study of human resources to maintain the excellence of our hospitality.

Clearly there is a demand for the region’s tourism product, as shown by our ability to outpace the global growth average for arrivals. It is our responsibility to ensure that we continue to position the region to meet this demand in new and refreshed ways.

Let us continue to rebuild together.

Posted in: 2022 News, Blog

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Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Tribute to Sir Sidney L. Poitier KBE

The Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister of The Bahamas and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, along with members of the Ministry’s Senior Executive Management Team and Staff, with deepest sadness, mark the passing of a great Bahamian and global legend, Sir Sidney L. Poitier.

From humble beginnings on Cat Island, Sidney Poitier, a proud young Bahamian embarked on a remarkable life journey on which he blazed trails, shattered glass ceilings and made a resounding global impact.

Grounded in an ethos of discipline and excellence, in 1964, Sir Sidney’s achieved the distinction of being the first black actor to be awarded an Oscar for best actor, for his lead role in the film Lilies of the Field. Sir Sidney went on to enjoy a brilliant acting career with numerous box office successes including iconic films such as The Heat Of The Night; To Sir, With Love; and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.

To all his fields of endeavour — acting, film directing, activism, diplomacy, philanthropy — Sir Sidney brought a singularly outstanding level of professionalism, which earned him the highest civic awards, both in the Commonwealth of Nations (Knight of the British Empire – KBE in 1974), as a Bahamian citizen, and in the United States (the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009).

On a global scale, Sir Sidney embodied greatness. Through his cinematic roles, he challenged stereotypes, modelled the highest attributes of human dignity and universally typified the individual who, through sheer human resolve and determination, overcomes challenges imposed by the larger society.

Sir Sidney, by the measure of his bearing, belonged to the world. Yet, at his most authentic self, Sir Sidney was a Bahamian, and of that fact, the People of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas will be eternally most proud.

We convey our deepest condolences to the bereaved family of Sir Sidney, his wife, Joanna Shimkus and children: Beverly Poitier-Henderson, Pamela Poitier, Sherri Poitier, Gina Poitier-Gouraige, Anika Poitier, and Sydney Tamiia Poitier-Heartsong.

Earth Has No Sorrow that Heaven Cannot Heal.

Our prayers and thoughts are with the bereaved family of Sir Sidney.

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