Archive for February, 2022

Showcase Antigua and Barbuda is Back

February 24, 2022, Antigua and Barbuda:  On June 8 – 10, 2022 the Antigua & Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association, in collaboration with the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority will be presenting the 7th installment of the travel trade business to business destination event, Showcase Antigua Barbuda.

The event which has been absent from the destination’s calendar for the past two years due to the pandemic, has been re-designed with a focus not only on the business aspect of the one-on-one meetings with Tourism related businesses, but also presenting the destination’s offerings of Culture & Heritage, Wellness, Romance, as well as Yachting & Sailing.

Patrice Simon, Executive Director of the ABHTA remarked that “Giving our partners the opportunity to experience the destination firsthand is important now more than ever. We are looking forward to welcoming our partners from the US, UK & EU, Canada and the Caribbean for face-to-face meetings with our members. As travel continues to rebound, we cannot miss an opportunity to showcase Antigua and Barbuda to the key decision makers in the travel industry.” 

Colin C. James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority wants travel partners to continue to keep Antigua and Barbuda top of mind. James said, “Antigua and Barbuda has incredible new product offerings that have come on stream since 2020 and we are more than ready to wow our travel partners, some of who will be making their first visit back to Antigua and Barbuda since the pandemic.  

We will be highlighting our key pillars, and our partners can expect to be fully immersed in the destination, as we take them on a journey with vibrant presentations that focus on our heritage and culture, wellness attributes, romance-inducing scenes and our rich nautical elements – all experiences that visitors to the destination can enjoy on their vacation.” 

Showcase Antigua and Barbuda will include a welcome event on June 8 and a full day of business meetings on the 9th and the opportunity to play and explore the destination on June 10. Travel partners and local stakeholders can also look forward to a new element being added to this year’s event which will include sessions of consultations on the destination and exploring avenues for growth and development of the industry.

Travel partners and Members of the ABHTA are asked to save the date June 8 – 10 2022. More details on registration will be shared in the coming weeks.

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Caribbean Tourism Professionals Receive Certification in Sustainable Tourism Destination Management

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (22 Feb. 2022) – Close to 20 senior tourism professionals from the region are now certified in sustainable destination management after completing a six-course programme designed by the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies through a partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

The programme, which exposes the participants to practical tools that facilitate the successful planning, development, management and marketing of sustainable tourism destinations and businesses, also presents them with the opportunity to improve their professional standing, expand their industry network, and deepen their understanding of tourism’s ability to contribute to environmental, social and economic goals.

Already, nearly 50 participants from CTO member countries, including permanent secretaries and directors of tourism, have completed at least one of the six-course online programme, 18 of whom have completed the full curriculum.

“We are pleased to see how this partnership with the International Institute for Tourism Studies, which was envisioned to equip tourism professionals across our membership with the skills needed to move the sector into the future, has been embraced by so many,” said Faye Gill, the CTO membership services director and the programme lead at the CTO. “We congratulate everyone who has enrolled in the professional certificate course on the success achieved and we look forward to seeing even more of our tourism leaders take up the challenge to broaden their knowledge and build on their expertise.”

Also commenting on the success of the collaboration, Seleni Matus, the institute’s executive director, said: “We are thrilled with the broad success of our partnership with the CTO through which we jointly offer a professional certificate in sustainable tourism destination management. Many tourism directors are graduates, as are professional staff from destination organisations throughout the region.  Because tourism is critically important to Caribbean economies, George Washington University is committed to working closely with the CTO to introduce new professional development programmes that will aid Caribbean nations in tackling relevant industry issues such as visitor management, product development and climate change adaptation.”

Each of the six self-managed, expert-led courses is offered over a one-week period. The six core courses include an introduction to sustainable tourism, destination management, destination marketing, product development, destination investment and finance and destination policy and planning.  Students must complete the six online courses to earn a sustainable tourism destination management certificate.

The certificate programme will be offered in three-course sets twice in 2022, with the first course scheduled to begin in June and the second in October.

About the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies 

For more than 30 years, the International Institute of Tourism Studies has been a global leader in tourism education, research, and consulting. We are helping to build a sustainable industry that balances visitor interests with destination well-being by providing guidance and support to community development and governance projects around the world. We also offer professional certificate programs in cultural heritage tourism, destination management and event management to prepare the next generation of doers, leaders and thinkers in these growth fields.

For more information on the GW International Institute of Tourism Studies, please visit https://business.gwu.edu/research/IITS and follow GW IITS on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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New Director of Tourism Appointed In Montserrat

Gvernment Information Unit / Montserrat Tourism Division, Brades, Montserrat. The Government of Montserrat welcomes the appointment of the new Tourism Director Mrs. Ineta Rosetta  West-Gerald with effect from February 7, 2022 for a period of two years.

Mrs. West-Gerald holds a Bachelor’s Degree (Honors) in Tourism from the University of Derby, United Kingdom, and a Higher National Diploma in Tourism Management from Loughborough University, UK. Other professional qualifications include Certificate in Marketing from the University in Applied Sciences, Breda, the Netherlands as well as professional certificates in Project Management, Product Development, Sustainable Tourism for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Event Planning.

Mrs. West-Gerald brings with her a wealth of experience spanning 25 years in the tourism field, twenty of which were through her roles as Marketing Officer and Product Development Officer at the Tourism Division.

She was instrumental in assisting the Tourism Division in its recovery efforts during the volcanic crisis when the island saw tourism arrivals plummet, and again through its transition to its new operations under the Office of the Premier.  She was also intimately involved in the Development of the Tourism Master Plan and Policy (2016-2025) and coordinated the development of the current Tourism Strategy (2019-2022).

Mrs. West-Gerald is known synonymously with Montserrat tourism at a number of trade events and worked with both the travel trade and media to strengthen the Montserrat Brand.  She is well respected in the tourism sphere and among several regional partners including the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.

Mrs. West-Gerald now succeeds outgoing Director of Tourism, Mr. Warren Solomon, who was recruited under the Government of Montserrat’s Technical Cooperation (TC) Programme in February 2019.

Mr. Solomon’s achievements included spearheading the launch of the Montserrat Service Ready programme, which certifies members of the transportation and hospitality sectors as having achieved an advanced standard of service delivery training; the formation of a Tourism Stakeholders Advisory Council (TSAC) in November 2020, and he maintained brand visibility for Destination Montserrat throughout the COVID era, among other accomplishments. He will be in office until March 31, 2022.

The Premier of Montserrat, Hon. Joseph E Farrell, and Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Premier, Mrs. Daphne Cassell, take this opportunity to extend appreciation to Mr. Solomon for his strategic leadership of the tourism sector over the past three (3) years and to welcome Mrs. Rosetta West-Gerald at the particular juncture.

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The Cayman Islands Announces Removal of On-Island Antigen Testing for Travellers

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (17 February 2022) – The Cayman Islands Government today announced that effective Friday, February 18, fully vaccinated travellers are no longer required to complete on-island antigen testing on days 2, 5 and 7 after arrival. A negative antigen or PCR test conducted the day prior to arrival is still required for entry and applies to all travellers aged 5 and over.

In addition, the Government announced it is easing the following restrictions:

  • Public gathering limits will have a new maximum capacity of 500 persons for indoor events and 1,000 persons for outdoor events.  
  • Fully vaccinated travellers are no longer required to take a COVID-19 test prior to travelling domestically between Grand Cayman to the sister islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. 

For more information, please visit www.visitcaymanislands.com

Posted in: 2022 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19), Destination News

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Antigua and Barbuda Inspires Middle East Travellers

DUBAI, 18 February 2022 – A high-level government and tourism delegation from Antigua and Barbuda visited the United Arab Emirates earlier this month as part of a week-long promotional and development mission to deepen connections between the two countries and showcase the allure of the destination.

Located at the heart of the Caribbean, the twin-island paradise is known for its 365 white and pink sandy beaches, cheerful weather, and world-class resorts. While it has long been a favourite with affluent US and British travellers, it is now emerging as a must-visit destination for Middle East travellers, with its award-winning V.C. Bird International Airport providing convenient travel connections from key international hubs already popular among Middle East travellers, including London, New York and Miami.

To highlight the exceptional range of experiences on offer, the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority hosted a series of events across the UAE over the past week, including a culinary masterclass with the Antiguan and Barbudan chef Lejorn Hill who is Executive Chef at Dubai’s Paramount Hotel, providing a taste of Antigua and Barbuda cooking experience. Fashion-loving Emirati women were also treated to a virtual fashion show by Antigua and Barbuda’s iconic female fashion designers and artists, while an exclusive dinner with CEOs from major travel corporations at the world’s tallest restaurant, At.mosphere at the Burj Khalifa, provided a meaningful and memorable networking opportunity.

The team also hosted an insightful panel session at the Antigua and Barbuda Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai to discuss the destination and the positive social, economic and environmental impact of its wide-ranging approach to sustainable tourism.

Led by Colin C. James, Chief Executive Officer of Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, and supported by Patrice Simon, Executive Director of Antigua Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association, the conversation also featured valuable insights from Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi, known as the ‘Green Sheikh’ and the official environmental adviser to the Ajman Government.

Broad appeal for Middle East travellers

As one of the Caribbean’s premier destinations for leisure, cruises, and business travellers, Antigua and Barbuda welcomes over a million visitors annually to its shores and is well positioned to meet and exceed the needs of travellers from across the region.

“There is undoubtedly a strong synergy between what we offer as a destination, and what visitors from the region are looking for when it comes to travel experiences,” explained Colin James.

The essence of Antigua and Barbuda undeniably lies in its culture and people. Steeped in history and wrapped in a culture of warmth and vibrancy, the country is excited to welcome guests from across the globe to experience the islands’ traditions, taste its delicacies and witness how a rapidly progressing nation is becoming a key business and tourism destination.

“We have a lot to offer the mid to the upper end of the market and know how to cater for a discerning clientele, which is important when welcoming affluent travellers from this region, as they are typically very well-travelled and expect exceptional service and experiences,” continued James.

“The pandemic has really put a reset on where people go and what they do, with people looking to improve their wellbeing, seeking space and opportunities to reconnect with family. Antigua and Barbuda is the perfect fit for the kind of traveller that is seeking these experiences and we would like to be top of mind when they look for new adventures and destinations for their next vacation.”

Getting there is set to get easier

James emphasised that whilst getting to Antigua and Barbuda is possible – it is currently featured with Emirates Holidays, showing that there is latent demand – they also have laid the groundworks for introducing air services. “We are continuing to have meaningful discussions with Emirates Airlines, and are very hopeful that, in the foreseeable future, we will be at the top of their list as they expand and look towards our part of the world, making it even easier to get to our little piece of paradise.”

service WITH CARIBBEAN PANACHE

Patrice Simon explained how the private sector works diligently to ensure visitors receive the highest level of service, but in a way that is authentic to the island and the people. “People who come here expect a certain level of service but they still want to feel like they are in the Caribbean. Our people are very laid back – we’re on an island surrounded by 365 beaches, so there isn’t any stress and we can focus on creating a wonderful environment and offering the best service possible. This is really important to us – hospitality is what we do, it’s not an industry, it’s a way of life – around 70 per cent of our GDP comes from tourism – so we have to excel at it.”

85 per cent of accommodation sits within the luxury category, including the 300-acre private island paradise, Jumby Bay Resort which is part of the renowned Oetker Collection of premium destinations and is rated the number one luxury resort in all of the Caribbean, and the fifth-best resort in the world.

Total ban on plastic

In a week that has seen the UAE take its own progressive stance in the battle against plastic bags, Simon explained how Antigua and Barbuda was the first country in the western hemisphere to ban plastic bags in 2016, followed a total ban on all plastics and Styrofoam in 2018.

Describing the importance of it being driven at a government level and how the movement had been embraced across the islands, Simon said: “We have a lot of properties that have taken their own initiative to contribute towards the sustainability movement, but we also have a very strong foundation from the Ministry of Tourism which has ensured everyone is aligned in utilising energy saving initiatives, green water to reusable packaging.”

James added: “This is serious for us. We are a small island state and we depend on the marine environment. We realise that a lot of that plastic waste ends up in the ocean and our beaches, and that affects out livelihoods and longevity as a nation. We have to be very targeted in what we do and we make sure to practice what we preach. Much like the UAE, we punch well above our weight on issues that really matter to us.”

100% green energy – with SUPPORT from partners in the UAE

The island of Barbuda, known for its beautiful 17 miles of unbroken pink sand beaches, was totally devasted by hurricane Irma in 2017. It has since been rebuilt but, with a very small section of our total population living on Barbuda – around just 1,500 permanent residents – it presented an opportunity to approach the rebuild differently.

In another example of the government’s commitment to using resources wisely, they decided to make Barbuda the first country in the world to be totally reliant on green energy. James explained ‘’working in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, as well as the governments of New Zealand, the UK and the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, we have rolled out a solar initiative that allows us to harness the beautiful, free energy source that we have. By early 2023, every single household in Barbuda will be powered exclusively by green energy.”

Avoiding ‘greenwashing’ through transparency

The Green sheikh commended Antigua and Barbuda for its commitment to creating a cohesive and sustainable approach to environmental challenges. While welcoming the greening of consumer sentiment, he also highlighted the awakening of travellers to the reality that not all claims of environmentally and socially responsible practices are true. “Of course, not everyone takes the issue as seriously as Antigua and Barbuda does, and there are instances where perhaps efforts are unsubstantiated and even exaggerated, and we need more transparency to mitigate scepticism and enhance consumer confidence in the industry.”

To find out more about visiting Antigua and Barbuda and its commitment to building a sustainable tourism industry, visitantiguabarbuda.com.

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