CTO News

Archive for 2017 News

Kittitian and Nevisian University Students Contribute to CTO Hurricane Relief Fund

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (23 May, 2018) – Students from St. Kitts & Nevis pursuing studies at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies in Barbados have thrown their support behind the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s ongoing efforts to help Caribbean families and countries recover and rebuild after last year’s monstrous hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated some member destinations.

The St. Kitts-Nevis Students’ Association (SKNSA) has made a cash donation of the equivalent of US$600 to the CTO Hurricane Relief Fund, following a fundraiser, which included a “We Care” benefit concert. The association also received donations from the Leeward Islands Students Association of Trinidad & Tobago at UWI in St Augustine, Trinidad.

“We wanted to do something for the affected countries in the region, we wanted to give back to show we really care, and although we are small in numbers we can do a lot,” Dennis McCall Jr, the outgoing SKNSA president said.

The CTO collects donations through the CTO Relief Fund for relief efforts in any of our member countries affected by hurricanes, and to assist other Caribbean countries affected by natural disasters. The CTO Relief Fund has “501(c)(3)” status in the United States, which means it has been approved by the United States Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt, charitable organisation.

“We’d like to offer our gratitude to the St. Kitts Nevis Students Association for their generous donation to the CTO Relief Fund. It is heartwarming to see the care and attention that people throughout the caribbean are paying to this really important cause and, most especially, to see we have engaged the attention and the generosity and compassion of the young people,” Hugh Riley, the CTO’s secretary general said.

“They are the future of the Caribbean and they are as concerned about the well-being of the Caribbean as the rest of us are and they are doing something about it, and we are eternally grateful.”

To make a donation to the CTO Relief Fund please visit https://bit.ly/2H0idHq.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery

Leave a Comment (0) →

British Virgin Islands Tourism Sector Looks Ahead With Confidence

Seven months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the beautiful British Virgin Islands, the territory’s attractions, accommodations and activities continue to rebound. The tourism industry and team here at the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board have worked extremely hard to revitalize the BVI’s tourism product — the lifeblood of our islands. We are fortunate to have the support of our Government, which remains steadfast in its commitment to BVI tourism. Now more than ever, it is critical that we encourage visitors to come experience the BVI they know and love.

Over the last few months, our tourism season has come alive with vibrant events, property reopenings and new local initiatives, symbolic of a BVI renaissance. And as of April 10, the U.S. Department of State has updated its BVI travel advisory to Level 1 (exercise normal precaution), another indication of the territory’s return to normalcy.

The BVITB is pleased to provide a comprehensive update on accommodations, local businesses and upcoming events around the territory as we emphasize that the destination is indeed open for business.

In terms of landside accommodations, some of the BVI’s premier properties are welcoming guests once again, including Oil Nut Bay on Virgin Gorda, and Cooper Island Beach Club. On the island of Anegada, 10 of 11 hotels are operational, including Anegada Beach Club and Anegada Reef Hotel, among others. There are currently 552 total hotel rooms (about 16%) available for bookings throughout the BVI.

The remainder of our private island resorts are working fast and furious to restore their cherished luxury experiences. Guana Island Resort will reopen in July, as will Scrub Island Resort & Spa. Necker Island will have a partial reopening in the fall, while Rosewood Little Dix Bay and Bitter End Yacht Club — among the hardest hit resorts — are expected to reopen in late 2019.

Of course, the wonderful thing about the BVI’s tourism product is that we offer both land and sea accommodations. After the storms, we immediately identified the yachting sector as the first to rebound. The yacht charters have made a strong recovery, and as it stands now, the territory has 1,860 charter boat berths/cabins available. This includes premier charter companies such as The Moorings, Marine Max, Sunsail and Horizon.

Additionally, a total of 36 cruise ship calls have been made at the Tortola Pier Park since December, another encouraging means to bring visitors to the destination. This includes cruise lines such as Columbia and Silver Seas, while larger ships such as Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line will resume cruising to the BVI in the fall.

Getting to the BVI has never been easier. InterCaribbean Airways has expanded service between San Juan and Tortola, adding another convenient connection option for travelers.

When visitors land on our spectacular shorelines, there are a number of attractions that are open for them to explore at their leisure, like the iconic Baths on Virgin Gorda. Our exotic dive sites are open as well, so guests can enjoy underwater adventure and marine life at the BVI Art Reef and Wreck of the RMS Rhone. BVITB is also working in conjunction with the National Parks Trust to revive our parks (Sage Mountain, Mount Healthy, and others) and reopen them for locals and visitors alike. Local businesses around the islands are determined to provide the level of service and fun that patrons have come to expect. Legendary beach bars like Foxy’s Tamarind Bar and Soggy Dollar Bar have reopened on Jost Van Dyke over the past few months. Additionally, museums such as Sugar Works and the Old Government House will return this fall.

Most recently, the BVI hosted the 47th BVI Spring Regatta in March. Sailors from around the world convened on our shores and celebrated another successful week of competition and island spirit.

We are confident that with the help of our yachting sector and the reopening of land accommodations over the next several months, we will continue sailing towards the full rebuilding of our beloved BVI. Looking ahead, we’re excited to share a great lineup of events and festivals that will attract visitors as we move into the summer months.

  • Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta on Jost Van Dyke (April 21-22)
  • Lowell Wheatley Anegada Pursuit Race at Anegada Reef Hotel (April 28)
  • BVI Dinghy Championships at Nanny Cay Hotel and Marina (May 19-21)
  • Second Annual BVI Jazz & Style Festival (May 25-27)
  • Leverick Bay Poker Run (May 27)
  • BVI Summer Sizzle (July 25-30)
  • BVI Emancipation Festival (July 27-August 10)

Finally, with an eye on preservation, our team has just unveiled its Seeds of Love initiative, a project that aims to replant the islands’ indigenous trees and vegetation. Environmental protection is vital to the future of our unspoiled landscapes. Donations can be made through Pledgeling, and the funds will be used for gorgeous trees such as coconut palms, white cedars, and mangroves. The seeds will then be planted by BVI residents, visitors and local organizations. The Tourist Board is also collaborating on voluntourism opportunities for those travelers who want to give back during their visits.

BVITB will launch a new multi-channel ad campaign next month to showcase the breadth of our rebuilding efforts, and highlight the abundant natural beauty that remains at tourists’ fingertips. Plus, a special summer promotion is just around the corner to encourage eager vacation planners to make their return to the BVI.

For real-time updates, visit www.bvitourism.com/bvistrong where you can find the latest information about attractions, restaurants and property reopenings on each island. As our treasured islands continue on the road to full recovery, we must always remember that we are ONE BVI. We are stronger together.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Destination News

Leave a Comment (0) →

Dominica Continues Recovery Six Months after Hurricane Maria Hits Island

Roseau, Dominica – (March 20, 2018), March 18, 2018 marks six months since a powerful Category 5  hurricane slammed the island nation of  Dominica.  Six months following Hurricane M aria, Dominica has made major progress in restoring routes to and from the island, essential services and amenities, and transportation throughout the island.

“Nothing is better for our recovery from Hurricane Maria than visitors to our island,” says Colin Piper, CEO of the Discover Dominica Authority. “We have made significant progress in getting the island ready for guests. Whether it’s for a relaxing getaway, special event or meaningful travel, visitors will see the same vibrant spirit of our people and beautiful scenery and features that make Dominica the Nature Island of the Caribbean.”

Access

Dominica has full connectivity to international and regional markets with regular flights offered by regional carriers including LIAT, Seaborne Airlines, WINAIR, Air Sunshine, Coastal Express Carrier and, most recently, InterCaribbean Airways. As of March 22, 2018, InterCaribbean Airways will operate nonstop scheduled services between Dominica, St. Lucia and Tortola. Chartered flights are also available via Sky High Aviation Services, and Trans Island Air.

The Douglas Charles Airport, located at Melville Hall, and the Canefield Airport have welcomed passengers since October, 2017.  Connections are available to Barbados, Antigua, San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Tortola, St. Thomas, Anguilla, St. Lucia, St. Croix and St. Thomas.

Air access has been expanded with night landing available at Douglas Charles Airport until 8 p.m. for public flights and until 10 p.m. by special arrangement.

L’Express des Iles fast ferry service was operational within a few weeks after Hurricane Maria and provides service between Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia. L’Express des Iles has partnered with Air Caraïbes to offer simultaneous airline and ferry bookings with connections to L’Express des Iles destinations.  Booking can be made on www.aircaraibes.com through the NavigAir programme.

Accommodations

A total of 393 hotel/guest house rooms are available.  This represents 41 percent of the total stock of 962 rooms available before Hurricane Maria.  Fort Young Hotel will open additional rooms and Secret Bay, Calibishie Cove and Citrus Creek Planation are expected to reopen in the last quarter of 2018.   Two additional properties, Jungle Bay Resort and Cabrits Resort Kempinski, are expected to open during the first half of 2019, and Anichi Resort late in 2019.  The opening of these three hotels will increase Dominica’s room stock by 340.

Sites and Attractions

The majority of sites and attractions, 19 of the 23 on the island, have been officially declared open to visitors.  These include the signature sites of Trafalgar Falls, Middleham Falls, Emerald Pool, Fresh Water Lake and the Indian River. Visitors can enjoy magnificent easy to moderate hikes across the island including, Syndicate Nature Trail, Cabrits/Fort Shirley and others. Diving tours are currently available with six dive operators offering dive tours at all of the key dive sites on the north, south and west coasts of the island. Divers can explore a world of incredible underwater vistas and discover why Dominica is ranked amongst the world’s top ten dive sites.

Voluntourism Packages

Dominica encourages visitors to get involved in meaningful tourism by considering a Voluntourism package. These unique packages are offered to assist Dominica with the cleanup of sites such as the Indian River, dive sites and the Waitukubuli National Trail.  Packages are being offered by the Tamarind Tree Hotel, Fort Young Hotel, Secret Bay, Cobra Tours, Cool Breeze Tours and Cabrits Dive.

Cruise Travel 

Before Hurricane Maria, Dominica was on course to receive 219 cruise calls during the 2017-2018 cruise season. This number has since been reduced to 34 calls and the country welcomed the first cruise vessel following the hurricane on December 28, 2017.  The Sea Cloud II anchored off Portsmouth and one month later, the MV Mein Schiff 3 of TUI cruises docked at the Roseau cruise ship berth.  Since then, the island has received an additional 16 cruise calls. Carnival Cruises is expected to make a total of five visits, commencing with three in July, 2018.

The people of Dominica continue to show their resilience and steadfastness in building a better Dominica. In mid-February, the country celebrated Carnival and plans are in motion for the 9th Annual Jazz ‘n Creole on May 20, 2018 at Fort Shirley in the Cabrits National Park, along with fringe events in Portsmouth on the weekend of the Jazz ‘n Creole main stage.

Plans are being made for World Creole Music Festival from October 26 -28, 2018 followed by the island’s 40th Anniversary of Independence celebration on November 3, 2018.

For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 767 448 2045. Or, visit Dominica’s official website:www.DiscoverDominica.com, see Dominica’s updates on the tourism sector post Hurricane Maria: www.dominicaupdate.com, follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Destination News

Leave a Comment (0) →

BTB Presents U.S. $59,934.00 Cheque to CTO As Contribution to “A Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund”

Belize City, Thursday, February 17th  2018:  The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), in collaboration with tourism industry stakeholders, raised U.S. $59, 934.00 (Bz $119,868.00) as part of the Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund campaign. The fund was created to assist victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which severely devastated many Caribbean countries in September last year.

This morning Ms. Karen Pike, BTB’s Director of Marketing and Industry Relations, presented the cheque to Mr. Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) during a virtual press conference hosted by CTO in Barbados.

In presenting the cheque, Ms. Pike said “when we got the news on the Caribbean Relief Fund Campaign, we embraced it immediately because it was not only the right thing to do, but also because it brought all of us in the Caribbean once again even closer together in a unified effort to assist those in need.” She added: “As part of the Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund Campaign, the BTB reached out to the entire country of Belize through the media, press releases, the BTB’s website and its news distribution network.”

In his response, the Secretary General said, “we thank you Belize on behalf of the entire Caribbean family.” During the press conference, an overview on the state of the tourism industry in the Caribbean was also presented.

As part of its Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund Campaign, each participating tourism stakeholder donated a $1 for every guest; the BTB then contributed by donating $1 for every tourist arrival for the month of October therefore, creating a multiplier effect. The BTB initiative was supported by the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), the Belize Hotel Association (BHA), Tropic Air, the Belize Airport Concession Company (BACC), Tour Operators, water taxis, and hoteliers amongst many others.

During the first week of September, category 5 Hurricane Irma pummeled a number of Caribbean countries in the northern Leeward Islands and the northern Caribbean leaving a long trail of devastation. Many residents of these countries were left homeless, without food, power, water and basic essentials.  Two weeks later, Hurricane Maria followed the same path further exacerbating the level of destruction throwing many of these countries in a severe state of despair. The Caribbean depends on tourism as their chief means of survival and the devastation by both hurricanes has stalled the economies of countries affected, which may take several months or perhaps years to recover.

The BTB  and the Belize tourism stakeholders are extremely pleased that they were able to make a contribution towards the Caribbean Relief Fund and take this opportunity to offer their heartfelt thanks to all Belizean stakeholders and  organizations that donated generously in order to ease the road to recovery for our Caribbean sister countries.

According to the CTO, approximately U.S. $135,000.00 was raised by the Caribbean Hurricane Relief Fund Campaign.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Destination News

Leave a Comment (0) →

Caribbean Relief Concert Featuring Dollarman, Th3rd, Scheduled Jan. 19 at Union Stage, Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, DC (17 Jan. 2018) – Members of the Caribbean community have planned the first annual live “Caribbean Relief Concert” to raise money for natural disaster relief efforts for those countries impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, 19 January at Union Stage, 740 Water Street SW, Washington, D.C. Headline performers include Dollarman and Grammy-nominated artist Th3rd as well as Ras Slick & The Dutty Bus Crew with music by DJ Knightrin, DJ Mystic Vibes and DJ Majestic.

Tickets can be purchased via https://www.unionstage.com/event/1612541 and are $30 for General Admission (standing) and $50 for Premier Plus which offers reserved seats and tables in a raised area that offers great views of the performers. A full dinner and drinks menu is available.

All proceeds from ticket sales will be collected through the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Relief Fund (a 501 c3) via www.gofundme.com/hurricane-relief-fund-cto with monies raised being sent directly to CTO-impacted member states.

Dollarman is a force straight out of Brooklyn known for his dynamically gritty voice and innovative rhyme flow. He has been capturing his audience in a lyrical groove packed with rhythms and rhymes for over 15 years. Dollarman is the featured Dancehall artist on Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now) produced by Bob Sinclar. The track went to number one on the Billboard Dance Chart in five weeks and won Dollarman a gold record for his vocals.

Leo Sibilly III, better known as the Th3rd, is a singer, songwriter, and music producer who was born and raised in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. He was Grammy nominated for Musiq Soul Child’s single, “I Do.”

The concert is organized by Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, which is proud to be a founding partner of the Caribbean Relief Concert and will preview the 10th annual Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge, an International food competition that features the unique flavors of more than 40 embassies, including numerous Caribbean countries, in a friendly, delicious culinary competition.

In addition to Events DC, event sponsors include the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Knightrin, Hed + Rush Agency, Cutlass & Cane, Union Stage and Music Makes Life Better.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery

Leave a Comment (0) →

New Year’s Message from CTO Secretary General, Hugh Riley

Bridgetown, Barbados (28 Dec 2017) – This has been a challenging year for Caribbean tourism. While the first half of the year saw exciting growth in both tourism infrastructure and tourist arrivals over the previous year, in September we were hit hard by a series of unusual hurricanes that not only destroyed property, but also took the lives of many of our citizens. We must never forget the souls we lost along the way.

Physically, we will recover. Our Caribbean people are a resilient population. We will put the bricks and mortar back together and the hotels and vegetation will rise again and shine in the brilliant sunlight.

We take this time, a season of celebration and joy and the promise of a new beginning, to both reflect on the preceding year and look forward to tomorrow. And we will take the time to give thanks.

Travellers coming to the countries that were impacted by the storms will now see various stages of the rebuild/recover effort. Some are already fully up to speed and ready for the winter; others, only partially so. Our affected islands respect the safety and security of guests and staff and are therefore being frank and open about their state of readiness.

As tourism is the main economic driver for most of the Caribbean, we place enormous emphasis on delivering value and a superb visitor experience. In the hurricane-affected islands guests in 2018 and beyond will expect to see a product that is rebuilt stronger, better and even more attractive than before. That’s the plan, however long it takes to deliver.

We are thankful that the vast majority of the Caribbean never got touched by the hurricanes, so those islands have continued to welcome visitors every day. For them it’s business as usual. We are grateful to the travel professionals, the many visitors and our citizens themselves who continue to share images of the Caribbean today. Those pictures tell a thousand realities.

We want to use this time to thank our member countries that were quick to come to the aid of others not so fortunate. We want to thank our partners, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, the airlines, cruise lines and the hotels across the region that have worked and are still working to bring the Caribbean back to normal operations. We want to thank our marketing and sales partners, the tour operators, wholesalers and travel agents from around the world who have stood by the region and continue to promote and sell our destinations. And we want to thank the media that have, for the most part, painted a proper picture of our region that is clearly open for business. Through it all, we are also eternally grateful to our visitors and to the Caribbean Diaspora who stand shoulder to shoulder with our region in times of need.

Even as we prepare to greet a New Year let us take a moment to look back on a few of the successes of 2017.

Recently we embarked on a strategy to substantially enhance the Caribbean’s engagement in Canada, to develop business in non-traditional areas and work closely with our members’ representatives for maximum impact. New travel agent training and certification, increased use of targeted social media, enhanced deployment of the CTO’s data analysis tools, and more focused engagement with the Caribbean Diaspora were all components of the 2017 strategy for Canada. The Canadian market was a strong performer for most of 2017, with arrivals up by 6.4 percent. We can now look forward to more expansion of that market in 2018.

We also continued to focus on our two primary markets, the United States and Europe, with the UK, in particular, taking a central role. These markets were more robust in 2017 and we trust this will continue in 2018.

We realized too, that intra-Caribbean tourism, which has also been on the rise, would need our continuous attention, especially under the current circumstances where the task of educating the travelling public and removing the barriers to intra-Caribbean travel will continue to be a challenge.

At the start of the year we declared 2017 the Year of Adventure in the Caribbean and we capitalized on this in multiple promotions with member countries and industry partners. The Caribbean Year of Adventure linked directly with the United Nations Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and allowed us to pair adventure with sustainability.

The year culminated with the World Tourism Organization holding its Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth, in Jamaica, followed by the CTO’s partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank to host the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum in St. Kitts.

For the New Year the CTO has declared 2018 The Year of Rejuvenation in the Caribbean. With wellness and rejuvenation being important aspects of the Caribbean tourism product, we are encouraging our member countries and private sector partners to plan and organise events and activities around that theme.

For travellers who focus on renewing body and spirit, the options are virtually endless; from beachfront workouts and yoga retreats, to wellness resorts and spa treatments, the notion of being rejuvenated in the Caribbean is one more reason to let us pamper you in 2018.
The 2018 Caribbean Year of Rejuvenation will be promoted through social media and traditional media channels and will create opportunities for locals, travellers and holiday/vacation planners to share their ideas on how to capture the Caribbean’s huge capacity for wellness and rejuvenation. It will be a time of rebirth for us and for those who come to share the joy of a Caribbean vacation experience.

We look forward to 2018 with optimism and excitement.

On behalf of our CTO Chairman, The Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Minister of Tourism, the CTO Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism, the Board of Directors, Members and Staff of the CTO, I thank you for your continued support of our region, and I wish you and yours a safe, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 24 12345...»