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MSC Meraviglia: World’s 7th Largest Ship Makes Golden Voyage to Belize

Belize City, Wednesday, November 13th, 2019:   MSC Meraviglia, the 7th largest cruise ship in the world, made its golden voyage to Belize today carrying nearly 4,500 guests (at double occupancy) on board.

MSC Meraviglia, is owned and operated by MSC Cruises and  entered service in June 2017. It is the world’s 7th largest ship.  It was built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France by STX France. MSC Meraviglia was MSC Cruises first ship in the innovative Meraviglia class of next-generation ships, designed to be able to call in most of the world’s international cruise ports.

The ship initially operated in the western Mediterranean and has also cruised in Northern Europe as of summer 2019. In October 2019, MSC Meraviglia repositioned to the United States for the first time. Designed to sail in all seasons and climates, the glamorous MSC Meraviglia began her North American journey with three sailings from New York City (NYC), including two itineraries to New England and Canada and one repositioning to her new homeport in Miami. From November 10, 2019 through April 5, 2020,  MSC Meraviglia will sail two different 7-night western Caribbean itineraries, including stops in Belize.

With a name meaning wonder, MSC Meraviglia’s design is inspired by the wonders of the world. The ship’s Mediterranean-style promenade includes a variety of shops and restaurants – including partnership with two Michelin-starred Spanish chef Ramón Freixa for HOLA! Tapas – and features the longest LED sky at sea, displaying unique vistas day and night. Activities on board include a winter-themed aqua park; a Himalayan bridge; a XD cinema; and several kids clubs. In an industry-first, MSC Meraviglia’s on board entertainment includes a partnership with world leader in live entertainment Cirque du Soleil, creating two unique Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows VIAGGIO and SONOR exclusive for MSC Meraviglia.

Since its early beginning in 2003 with 315 port calls and 575,196 visits, the Belize cruise ship industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade and is poised for further growth. 2018 was a record breaking year for tourism arrivals to Belize with the cruise industry alone registering 1,208,137 million visitors through 392 port calls.

The BTB’s latest Travel & Tourism Mid-Year Performance Statistics Report indicate that cave tubing, visits to Mayan temples, the Belize City tour and snorkeling are the most popular activities among cruise ship visitors.

    

Currently seven major cruise lines make port calls on Belize. The addition of MSC Meraviglia is not only expected to boost the number of cruise ship visits, but it is also a strong indication that Belize is now a popular tourism destination in the region.  It underscores the efficacious strategy by the BTB and its partners to market and promote Belize as one of the world’s leading immersive tourism vacation destinations. Belize, a Curious Place.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Cayman Islands Celebrates 7,000 Room Stock Milestone

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (13 November 2019) The Cayman Islands tourism industry recently achieved a major milestone in the accommodations sector through the significant growth of over 7,000 rooms licensed and available to visitors.  This includes over 1,000 new rooms added within the past three years alone, with the condominiums and villas categories accounting for 73% of this increase.

Now standing at 7,027 rooms available across the three-island nation–Grand Cayman has 6,646 rooms, followed by 220 in Cayman Brac and 161 in Little Cayman–the condos and villas category represents the majority share of accommodation types now available with 4,310 rooms versus 2,717 rooms in the hotel category.

“We have seen continued interest from the community to embrace entrepreneurship opportunities in tourism through homesharing, which accounts for 32.2% of the total rooms now available,” stated Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism, the Honourable Moses Kirkconnell. “Through the Ministry and Department of Tourism’s commitment to facilitating annual training and educational forums led by international partners such as Airbnb, as well as meeting regularly with potential developers to provide business solutions, we are extremely proud to now offer the largest and most diverse room stock numbers available to our visitors.”  In total, as of 31 October 2019, there are currently 799 licensed properties representing 9,958 beds.

Ongoing aviation strategies led by the Ministry and Department will continue to provide travellers even greater access to the destination through new key hubs in North America and beyond with their preferred airlines.  Maintaining and growing air access remains a top priority to ensure that the accommodations sector will continue to benefit from tourism, a key pillar of the economy.

Looking forward, the Hon Minister of Tourism shared: “As the Cayman Islands gears up for what is anticipated to be another active winter season around the globe, we encourage our tourism partners—whether new to the industry or long-established—to continue providing our world-renowned warmth through our Caymankind hospitality and our rich cultural experiences. The efforts we make today will secure friends of Cayman for a lifetime and allow others to share in the essence of “Dreaming in Cayman”. We congratulate all tourism partners as we continue to work together to maximize our destination achievements.”

For more information and detailed arrival statistics, please visit www.visitcaymanislands.com/statistics.  For information about current air access, please visit: https://www.visitcaymanislands.com/en-us/plan-your-trip/getting-here/travel-by-air/

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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What’s New in the Islands of the Bahamas for November

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, November 12, 2019 – Grand Bahama Island has already rebounded from Hurricane Dorian with a handful of reopenings this month.  Many of its hotels and attractions have reopened or plan to do so shortly, while cruise ships have resumed calling to the island and the airport plans to resume international service this month. The Islands Of The Bahamas are truly Open For Business and are ready to welcome visitors as we head into the holiday season.

GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND REOPENS

Hotel Openings – Many of Grand Bahama Island’s resorts reopened towards the end of October, including Grand Lucayan Lighthouse Pointe, Castaways Resort & Suites, Taino Beach Resort & Clubs, Paradise Cove, The Village Bahamia, Royal Islander Resort and Sunrise Resort &Marina. Pelican Bay Hotel, Ocean Reef Yacht Club & Resort and Bell Channel Inn are open to relief workers. While its marina, Teasers Beach Side Bar & Grill, Banana Hammocks Harbour Side Bar and the beachside pool reopened in October, Old Bahama Bay Resort is expected to reopen to guests in November.

International Airport – Grand Bahama International Airport has a tentative opening of mid-November while Bahamasair and Western Air have resumed domestic services out of temporary facilities.

Cruise Port – Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Celebration returned to regular scheduled  sailings on September 27. Passengers have the option to add a free volunteer excursion to help on the ground or assemble family boxes onboard the ship. Carnival Cruise Line has also resumed sailings to Grand Bahama Island. Between the relaunch date and the end of the year, Carnival expects to host 39 calls in Freeport, bringing more than 100,000 visitors to the island.

OTHER NEWS

The Bahamas Awarded in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards – The Islands Of The Bahamas placed tenth in Condé Nast Travelers’ 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards for the Top 10 Islands in The Caribbean & Atlantic. Despite the trying hurricane season, The Islands continue to be a leader in Caribbean travel.

United Airlines Adds Non-Stop Service between Denver and Nassau – United Airlines have added Saturday-only non-stop service from Denver to Nassau. The service begins March 7 and continues through August 15.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s New Nassau Offering – Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line introduced its popular cruise and stay program to Nassau. Departing from the port of West Palm Beach, passengers can choose from a two or six night stay at participating resorts in Nassau, including SLS Baha Mar, The Melia Nassau Beach All-Inclusive or Comfort Suites Paradise Island. Over 250,000 stayover guests are expected to arrive to The Islands Of The Bahamas in the next year.

PROMOTIONS AND OFFERS

For a complete, up-to-date listing of deals and packages for The Bahamas, visit www.bahamas.com/deals-packages.

Warwick Paradise Island’s Fourth Night FreeGuests traveling through December 15 can earn a fourth night free when spending three nights at Warwick Paradise Island.

Pineapple Fields’ Special Offer  – Stay in a one bedroom upstairs condo for three days or more from November 18 – December 15 and save 20% when booking by phone.

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

Stay up-to-date with the latest events and happenings in The Bahamas: www.bahamas.com/events

The P1 AquaX Bahamas World Championship (November 8 – November 10) – Atlantis, Paradise Island will play host to professional watercraft competitors, representing 12 countries for the P1 AquaX Bahamas World Championship. Additional festivities will include a nearby Race Village with live music, local bands, food and activities for all ages. Tickets can be purchased at www.atlantisbahamas.com/p1-aquax.

Bahamas Hoopfest (November 27 – November 30) – In partnership with International Youth Education & Sports Foundation, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation will be hosting the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Thanksgiving Classic in Nassau this year. This will be the first women’s basketball event of its kind to be hosted in The Bahamas. View fan packages here.

The Jonas Brothers at Atlantis (December 30) – GRAMMY-nominated band, the Jonas Brothers, will perform at Atlantis, Paradise Island on December 30, 2019. The performance is a part of the resort’s acclaimed entertainment series Atlantis LIVE. This will be the multiplatinum trio’s fifth time performing for Atlantis LIVE and 10 years since their last Atlantis performance. Tickets are available for purchase at jonasbrothersatlantis.com.

ABOUT THE BAHAMAS

With over 700 islands and cays, and 16 unique island destinations, The Bahamas lies just 55 miles off the coast of Florida, offering an easy fly away escape that transports travelers away from their everyday. It’s also easy to get to The Bahamas from Canada by traveling on Air Canada or Westjet. The Islands Of The Bahamas have world-class fishing, diving, boating and thousands of miles of the earth’s most spectacular water and beaches waiting for families, couples and adventurers. Explore all the islands have to offer at www.bahamas.com or on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram to see why It’s Better in The Bahamas.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO Sustainable Tourism Roundup – October 1st, 2019

In this edition we are pleased to announce the launch of the Community-Based Tourism (CBT) Toolkit by the CTO in partnership with Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF) and the call for proposals for agro-tourism and community-based tourism initiatives. We also highlight two upcoming conferences and provide a three month drought bulletin and sargassum outlook newsletter developed by our partners.

View Roundup.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Announces Winners of the 2019 Caribbean Travel Media Awards

London, UK, 5 November 2019: Amidst the sounds and colours of a Barbados Tuk Band, courtesy of headline sponsor, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., the big winners of the 2019 Caribbean Travel Media Awards were revealed last night at an exclusive networking evening held at the Crowne Plaza London Docklands.

Shortlisted by a panel of 14 judges representing the industry, the winners across eight categories were each awarded a prestigious trophy with Certificates for runners-up, in the presence of visiting Caribbean ministers and UK Chapter members, including individual sponsors of the awards.

The first award of the night went to Martin Steady winning in the Best Travel Trade category for ‘A Journey to Belize’* in Selling Travel Magazine, an excellent account of his cultural and historical journey through the Belize islands.

Within the national and regional press categories, Juliet Rix picked up the Best National Newspaper award for her inspiring coverage of Dominica two years after the devastation of Hurricane Irma featured in the Telegraph’s print as ‘The Calm After the Storm’ and online as ‘Rediscovering Dominica two years after the hurricane’; with the Best Regional Newspaper award going to Hannah Stephenson for the second year running. Her feature ‘ Spice of Life – Grenada ’syndicated nationwide for PA Media (formerly the Press Association) offered a refreshing focus on Grenada’s community spirit and its unspoilt nature.

Amongst the other accolades the Best Consumer Feature went to Ronan O’Shea who takes his readers off the beaten track to discover amazing hiking trails and coastal food in his feature ‘ Antigua Beyond the Beaches’ for Escapism Magazine.

In the biggest category overall, with over 40 entries submitted, Blogger Macca Sherifi of An Adventurous World scooped the combined Best Online & Blog Post award. In his feature and video, Macca brings the island of Dominica to life through his passionate and inspiring travel guide ‘ What to do in Dominica-My Travel Guide to Dominica’.

The Best Broadcast category brought up some surprises with two episodes of Ainsley’s Caribbean Kitchen, Antigua and Dominica, reaching the finalist stage. Presented by Ainsley Harriott, Ainsley’s Caribbean Kitchen –Antigua, which showcased the island’s local culinary treasures alongside stupendous footage, scooped up the winner’s award. View the trailer at YouTube Antigua Trailer.

In the Social Media category, three impressive campaigns made the shortlist with the winner of the Best Social Media Campaign going to #WhatCoolLooksLike for the Traverse Antigua Conference 2019. Up to 10 UK influencers representing blogs including Dejashu, Travel Documentaries, I Want You To Know, Sandy Makes Sense and Travel Colourfully were part of a Campaign involving 33 content creators who individually presented excellent content across numerous social media platforms.

In the final category for 2019, Audrey Gillan and Nicola Trup scooped the Best Caribbean Round Up award for their feature, ‘Caribbean Cook Up’ in National Geographic Traveller, a fascinating and beautifully illustrated culinary journey through the Caribbean.

Carol Hay, the CTO’s director of marketing for UK and Europe, said “Congratulations to all the finalists and winners in the 2019 awards; the Caribbean Travel Media Awards have successively drawn a high standard of entries in all categories, each entry playing their part in raising awareness of the Caribbean as a region, and this year has been no exception.

“I would like to personally thank all the entrants who took time to submit their entries and express my gratitude to our headline sponsor, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, our individual award sponsors who very generously provided the prizes and the Judges for taking time out to review the entries.”

The 2019 Caribbean Travel Media Awards winners, runners-up (2nd and 3rd place respectively) and sponsors were:

Best Travel Trade Feature:
MARTIN STEADY for ‘A Journey to Belize’, Selling Travel
In 2nd place: Andrew Doherty, TTG with ‘Jamaica Beyond The Beaches’
In 3rd place: Kathryn Liston, Selling Travel, with ‘My Journey – St. Vincent & the Grenadines’
Sponsor: Discover Dominica Authority

Best National Newspaper Feature:
JULIET RIX for ‘Rediscovering Dominica two years after the Hurricane’, The Telegraph and Telegraph.co.uk
In 2nd place: Ian Belcher, The Times for ‘How Grenada turned up the heat’
TIED with James Henderson, The Telegraph for ‘Go Organic, local… and Jamaican’
In 3rd place: Fiona Hyde, Irish Times, for ‘Holidaying solo on the honeymooner’s island of Saint Lucia’
Sponsor: St. Kitts Tourism Authority

Best Regional Newspaper Feature:
HANNAH STEPHENSON, ‘Spice of Life Grenada’, PA Media
In 2nd: Priya Joshi, PA Media for ‘In Jamaica, The Jamaican Way’
In 3rd place: Jane Harris, Waterfront Magazine with ‘Happy Landings Saint Lucia’
Sponsor: Saint Lucia Tourism Authority

Best Consumer Feature:
RONAN O’SHEA for ‘Antigua Beyond the Beaches’ Escapism
In 2nd place: Caroline Robertson-Brown, Scubaverse, for ‘Treasure Island Barbados’
In 3rd place: Nick Redman, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, for ‘Beq in Time’
Sponsor: Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

Best Broadcast (TV & Radio) Feature:

AINSLEY HARRIOTT forAinsley’s Caribbean Kitchen – Antigua, ITV
In 2nd place: Greg McKenzie, BBC Travel Show for ‘Swapping dance moves for hard hats in Saint Martin’
In 3rd place: Ainsley Harriott, Ainsley’s Caribbean Kitchen – Dominica, ITV
Sponsor: Bahamas Tourist Office

Best Online and/or Blog Feature:
MACCA SHERIFI for ‘What to do in Dominica-My Travel Guide’, An Adventurous World
In 2nd place: Ursula Barzey, Caribbean & Co for ‘10 Islands To Visit in St Vincent & The Grenadines’
TIED WITH
Laura French, Lonely Planet, for ‘Wildlife, beaches and rum: Embracing Guadeloupe’s rustic charm’
In 3rd place: Heather Cowper, Heather on her Travels for ‘Kaaboo Cayman Review’
TIED WITH
Ella Alexander, Harper’s Bazaar (Online) for ‘Beyond the beaches, a cultural guide to Jamaica’
Sponsor: Tobago Tourism Agency

Best Social Media Campaign:
#WhatCoolLooksLike campaign for TRAVERSE ANTIGUA CONFERENCE 2019
In 2nd place: Charlie and Jess Wild for Kuoni & the Travel Project ‘Secret Antigua’
In 3rd place: Ursula Barzey, Caribbean & Co for ‘Celebrating Creole Day& Other Things To Do In Saint Lucia’
Sponsor: Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

Best Caribbean Round Up:
AUDREY GILLAN & NICOLA TRUP for ‘A Caribbean Cook Up’, National Geographic Traveller
In 2nd place: Lucy Thackray, Mandarin Oriental Magazine for ‘Six luxury trips from Canouan’
In 3rd place: Jo Cooke, Travel Weekly for ‘Eight of the best Caribbean Cities’
Sponsor: Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

View photos from Awards.

Posted in: 2019 News, Corporate News, Uncategorized

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