Archive for October, 2023

CTO Announces Theme and Social Media Showcase for Caribbean Tourism Month 2023

BARBADOS (October 30, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has declared the theme for this year’s Caribbean Tourism Month in November as “One Caribbean: Investing in Our People, Protecting Our Planet, Prosperity for All”.

The 2023 theme echoes the sentiments of the recently concluded 2023 World Tourism Day, focusing on “Investing in People, Planet and Prosperity”, underscoring the interconnectedness and the shared future of Caribbean nations and territories.

In a dynamic region renowned for its vibrant culture, beaches, rivers, majestic waterfalls and warm hospitality, Caribbean Tourism Month 2023 is set for another landmark celebration that not only highlights the scenic beauty and diverse cultures of the Caribbean but also emphasizes the importance of sustainable development and investment in human capital.

CTO Secretary-General and CEO Dona Regis-Prosper remarked, “This year’s theme, ‘One Caribbean: Investing in Our People, Protecting Our Planet, Prosperity for All’, reflects our deep-rooted commitment to fostering an environment that nurtures our people’s gifts, talents and abilities, safeguards our natural resources, and promotes sustainable prosperity as a goal for every man, woman and child,” she said. She continued: “We believe that the path to sustainable tourism and inclusive growth lies through concerted efforts in these critical areas.”

Throughout November, the CTO will showcase the unique attributes of each of its 25-member destinations across its social media platforms. Designed to celebrate the diversity and resilience of the Caribbean, this campaign offers a window into the rich cultural tapestry and the majestic natural environments of CTO members. The hashtag for the campaign is #OneCaribbean.

Regis-Prosper added, “Our social media showcase is more than just a promotional activity. It’s a canvas for storytelling, sharing the narratives of our people, the custodians of our planet, and the architects of our shared prosperity. It will be a testament to the distinct yet unified spirit that comprises our Caribbean region.”

CTO invites residents, travelers, industry stakeholders, and the global community to join this month-long celebration. Through engagement, exploration, and shared dialogues, Caribbean Tourism Month 2023 aims to strengthen the bonds within the Caribbean community, encourage responsible travel, and showcase the myriad opportunities for investment and collaborative growth within the region.

For further information about the Caribbean Tourism Organization, visit

Posted in: 2023 News, Blog, Caribbean Tourism Month

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CTO Chairman Wants Stronger Partnerships Between Banks and Small Businesses

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (October 29, 2023) – Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Kenneth Bryan has amplified the pivotal role of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the Caribbean’s economic landscape, highlighting their significance in generating jobs, fostering innovation, and contributing substantially to the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Delivering a profound message at the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) Conference held in Trinidad last week, the Minister of Tourism and Ports for the Cayman Islands called for enhanced bank support for these businesses, noting small business loans account for less than 30 percent of bank loan portfolios across the region.

Video of Minister Bryan:

The theme for this year’s CAB Conference was “Embracing Change and Building Resilience in a Dynamic Environment”. Among its key events was a SME Workshop and Marketplace focused on “Nurturing a Big Business Mindset for Your Small Business Success”. Minister Bryan’s appearance underscores his commitment to bolstering the Caribbean tourism sector and the Cayman Islands’ economic resilience and prosperity.

“Too often, when we think of tourism we think of hotels, cruise ships, and the huge international brands that line our shores. We often forget that it includes thousands of micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) such as the boutique hotels, the local tour operators, restaurants, street vendors, taxi drivers and craft shops that give our region its unique charm and authenticity. These small businesses form the backbone of our economies. They drive innovation, create jobs, and substantively contribute to GDP. They are not only vital for our tourism industries, but instrumental to our region’s development,” he said.

The CTO Chairman shared staggering figures from the Caribbean Development Bank: MSMEs represent 70-85% of Caribbean businesses, contributing 60-70% to GDP. Furthermore, he noted that they account for about 50 percent of total employment, and an impressive 40% of these businesses are woman-owned, emphasizing the sector’s role in fulfilling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

A significant challenge that small businesses face is accessing financing. Minister Bryan argued that while banks often view smaller businesses as riskier investments due to factors like lack of collateral or credit history, their socioeconomic value demands innovative solutions.

The tourism leader said redefining the relationship between banks and small businesses could unlock potential. “This is something that remains high on the agenda of the Caribbean Tourism Organization … because as we continue to support tourism growth, we have to ensure the small businesses (and “Mom and Pop” operations) have the ability to offer the range of authentic products that are needed in the tourism sector,” he said, noting that the inter-regional body has been advocating for greater access to financing and grants for small businesses.

He also spotlighted the Visitor Experience Development Grant (VEDG) in the Cayman Islands, designed to amplify the visitor experience by investing in start-ups that spotlight Caymanian culture. Minister Bryan believes similar initiatives, coupled with partnerships between small businesses and banks, can fortify the Caribbean’s tourism sector.

“The banking sector has immense opportunities to re-imagine and change the narrative between themselves and small businesses by recognizing that the small business sector presents significant business opportunities. This transformation, however, requires a shift in mindset and a commitment to embrace innovation, and collaboratively working together to forge new paths. Ones where banks are not seen solely as financial institutions, but also as catalysts for creativity, and partners in the prosperity and business development process,” said Minister Bryan. “If we accept that small businesses are engines of economic growth, employment generators and vehicles of poverty eradication, this then raises the question of what types of initiatives could banks introduce to help small businesses reduce their risk profile and improve their bankability?”

Minister Bryan suggested various initiatives banks could introduce, including supporting internal capacity-building for small businesses through mentorship, sponsoring small business development centers, and funding programs to elevate their competitiveness. He offered the example of the Small Business Development Centre in the Cayman Islands, which is tasked with supporting the holistic development of small businesses.

In closing, Minister Bryan urged all attendees to channel the Caribbean’s signature warm hospitality into their relationships with small businesses, fostering environments where both banking institutions and businesses can thrive symbiotically: “Just as we welcome tourists with open arms to our pristine beaches and vibrant culture, I believe we also need to extend the same warmth and hospitality to our small businesses.”

The CAB Conference serves as a vital platform for leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders to converse and strategize on promoting the growth, stability, and sustainability of the banking industry throughout the Caribbean.

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Philip Mondor to Deliver Keynote Address at CTO Tourism HR Conference in Nevis

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis (October 18, 2023) – Philip Mondor, President and CEO of Tourism HR Canada, will keynote the 10th Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Tourism Human Resources Conference, set for Nevis from October 30 to November 1, 2023.

The signature CTO event, to be held at Four Seasons Resort Nevis, unites industry professionals, HR leaders, and stakeholders from across the Caribbean and beyond.

“This event promises to be a pivotal gathering, offering invaluable insights into the present and future of the Caribbean tourism industry,” promised Dona Regis-Prosper, Secretary-General and CEO of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, who said Mondor’s address, entitled “Reimagining the Future of Work”, will be one of the main highlights of the event.

With close to 35 years of expertise, Mondor is an accomplished leader and has collaborated with labor market stakeholders in a dozen countries and across 15 different industrial sectors, with a primary focus on the tourism industry. He currently serves as an industry representative to Canada’s Deputy Minister’s Advisory Council for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. He also is an advisory member of the Labor Market Information Council.

Under this year’s theme, “Navigating the Next Phase of Caribbean Tourism”, the conference will delve deep into the realms of “Talent and Technology – 2024 and beyond”. Attendees can expect to gain a profound understanding of how human resource development can be optimally leveraged to boost the growth, development, innovation and competitiveness of the Caribbean tourism sector.

One of the conference’s notable features is a Student Forum, offering students studying tourism and hospitality the platform to showcase their understanding of the vital role tourism plays in the Caribbean region. Through impactful presentations, these young voices will contribute to the dialogue, ensuring the perspectives of the future tourism workforce are heard and considered.

Nevis, with its unspoiled landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and a relaxed pace of life, serves as the perfect backdrop for this significant event. Delegates and attendees will have the opportunity to explore the remarkable beauty of this Caribbean jewel, known for its welcoming community and genuine charm.

The last Tourism Human Resources Conference was held in the Cayman Islands in November 2018. “The return of this prestigious event demonstrates the commitment of the CTO to advancing the region’s tourism industry through people-centered development and collaboration,” said Regis-Prosper.

For registration details and the full conference agenda, visit

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British Virgin Islands Wins CTO’s 2023 Regional Tourism Youth Congress

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands (October 14, 2023) – In an inspirational demonstration of passion, preparation and poise, Naomi Onwufuju, Junior Minister of Tourism of the British Virgin Islands, brought home the winner’s plaque at the 19th Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Regional Tourism Youth Congress, held at Beaches Turks & Caicos in Providenciales on Friday.

Competing against students from 13 other Caribbean destinations, the 16-year-old skillfully presented three innovative strategies her country could undertake to develop and implement an initiative whereby tourism stakeholders and their allied partners can work together to enhance access, safety, use, and enjoyment of the destination’s tourism offerings by visitors with disabilities.

“Accessibility is not only a responsible tourism policy but also a moral obligation,” declared the Elmore Stoutt High School student as she described her vision for increasing accessibility to the islands’ beaches, restaurants and other attractions ensuring inclusivity and equity for all visitors.

Elated upon hearing the declaration of her victory, Onwufuju was effusive in her praise of her fellow contestants.

“I love my country and I am honored I have gotten the chance to represent and to win this [award] for my Territory to be able to be an influence in tourism so that my ideas and the ideas of everyone who participated in this competition today can be heard. Truly, everyone had amazing ideas!” she stated during a press conference immediately following the Youth Congress event, which was attended by ministers and commissioners of tourism from numerous CTO member countries and territories.

Seventeen-year-old Jordan Greig of Barbados, a student at Harrison College, who was named the second-place winner, was recognized for his polished presentation of his thoughts related to executing a strategy for addressing tourism workforce issues facing the island’s tourism industry.

Tobago’s Junior Minister of Tourism Jael Morgan was awarded the third-place award. The 17-year-old student from Signal Hill Secondary School described three innovative strategies her country could carry out to realize an initiative to offer visitors unique, sustainably developed wellness tourism experiences.

Layla Leathen, Junior Minister of Tourism for the Bahamas, was recognized for her performance with an Honorable Mention for an excellent presentation on the topic of wellness tourism, which demonstrated a unique approach to promoting health and well-being for visitors.

Sharon Banfield-Bovell, Director of Resource Mobilization and Development for the CTO, who served as Master of Ceremonies for the competition, lauded the participants for demonstrating excellence in their research, ideas and presentations. “It is extremely evident that the future of Caribbean tourism is filled with great promise and potential in the hands of these future leaders,” she stated.

Fourteen CTO member countries and territories participated in the Regional Tourism Youth Congress, which was chaired by the 2022 winner, J’nae Brathwaite of Tobago. Each Junior Minister made a three-minute presentation on one of the three topics: Wellness Tourism Beyond the Norm, Accessibility Tourism, and Building a Resilient and Sustainable Tourism Workforce. They were also required to make a one-minute presentation on a “mystery” question. In this category, the contestants were asked to identify an interesting, unusual or unique place, person, thing, event or activity from their respective destinations which they believed would provide a visitor with a rare and exceptional experience.

Barry Brown, Executive Director – Sales with AFAR Media and a member of the CTO Allied Board; Stacey Liburd, Director of Tourism for Anguilla; and Petra Roach, CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority, served as judges for the highly anticipated competition.

The 2023 Regional Tourism Youth Congress marked the end of the CTO’s Business Meetings and State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC), which began in the Turks and Caicos Islands on October 9.

Prizes for the winners were provided by the Caribbean Tourism Organization; the Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Tourism; the Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Youth Affairs; Flow; Chukka Caribbean Adventures; Carnival Corporation in partnership with Acordis International Corp; and Dufry.

Posted in: 2023 News, Blog, SOTIC

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Grenada to host CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Conference in April

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands (October 16, 2023) – Grenada will play host to the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development to be held from April 22-24, 2024.

Making the announcement via a video recording during the wrap-up press conference following the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) held in the Turks and Caicos Islands last week, Grenada’s Minister of Tourism Lennox Andrews thanked the CTO for selecting the destination to host the important event, which plays a key role in disseminating information and increasing awareness of the CTO’s vision related to sustainable tourism.

“We are honored to host the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Conference in 2024. Grenada’s commitment to sustainable and inclusive tourism aligns perfectly with the conference’s objectives,” said Minister Andrews. “We are dedicated to showcasing the transformative power of sustainable tourism and its role as a push for social and economic growth and environmental stewardship throughout the Caribbean.”

Minister Andrews noted that he and his tourism colleagues will be honored to welcome regional and international industry stakeholders and other interested parties to participate in conference discussions and to experience the warm hospitality of the “Spice Island”.

The Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development was last held in 2019 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We are excited about presenting the Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development in Grenada next April. This conference underscores the CTO’s commitment to advancing sustainable tourism policies and practices in the Caribbean. Grenada’s natural beauty and dedication to sustainable tourism make it an ideal host, and we look forward to engaging in fruitful discussions with our colleagues in the industry,” said CTO Chairman Kenneth Bryan.

The conference examines how member states can design and implement sustainable tourism policies and programs, offering a regional forum for information exchange on the successes and pitfalls of national, regional and international initiatives.

Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22, 2024, the opening day of the conference, under the theme “Planet vs. Plastics”.

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