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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

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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

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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

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POST HURRICANES CARIBBEAN UPDATE – 6 NOVEMBER, 2017

LONDON,UK (6 Nov., 2017) – As member countries of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) affected by the recent hurricanes Irma and Maria reopen for business, the CTO presents this update, which includes data provided by our partner, OAG, the leading air travel data provider based in the UK, the state of readiness in the member countries and planned events in the coming months, as provided by the member destinations.

The CTO Relief Fund (a 501 c3) helps families and countries rebuild after hurricanes, with monies raised being sent directly to CTO-member destinations affected by the hurricanes. To make a donation, visit www.gofundme.com/hurricane-relief-fund-cto.

Donations through CHTA’s Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund can be made via http://www.tourismcares.org/caribbean.

Download Full Post Hurricanes Caribbean Update Nov. 6, 2017

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery

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Remarks by CTO Chair, Dionisio D’Aguilar Chairman, at WTM News Conference, November 2017

The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens has been quoted so much over the years that it has become somewhat of a cliché. However, in the present context, it is a most appropriate cliché for our circumstances as the Caribbean has witnessed the proverbial tale of two cities during the past ten months or so. We had the best of times, with record performances in the first half of 2017, and for some of our member countries, and by extension the region, the worst of times with the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria.

We began the year growing at a healthy pace of 5.2 per cent between January and June, when compared to the same period last year. This was ahead of the growth rate of 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent which had been our forecast and was a reflection of economic stability in the market, expansion and inauguration of flights by major carriers and new marketing and product development initiatives.

During this period the region recorded 16.6 million international tourist arrivals, some 800 thousand more than in the first six months of 2016. Growth was recorded in all major source markets except South America, which contracted by 14.3 per cent.  Up to June, the European market had grown by 7.9 per cent, Canada by 6.4 per cent, and despite the weak sterling, the UK grew by 4.8 per cent.

In the hotel industry, the half-year outcomes reported by STR Global showed that average occupancy increased marginally by 0.2 percentage points to 70.8 per cent, while the average daily room rate rose slightly by 0.2 per cent, moving from US$220.84 in 2016 to US$221.38 in 2017.

Growth in the cruise sector also remained positive and stronger than the expected performance in the first half of the year. At the end of the first six months of 2017, cruise passenger arrivals to the Caribbean region had reached an estimated 15.3 million, up four per cent over the corresponding period of 2016. This performance represented the largest number of cruise passengers in the region at this time of year.

Then came the hurricanes – first, Irma, then Maria – that inflicted such damage on some of our member countries, causing such despair!

There has been widespread coverage of the damage caused to these countries and territories, the most serious   among them being Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Puerto Rico, both Dutch and French Saint Martin and the US Virgin Islands. Understandably, this triggered a slowdown, with travel to many of these destinations having been severely impacted. Consequently, we have revised our forecast for 2017 to between one and two per cent, with a similar growth rate projected for next year.

This is expected to have a significant economic impact, based on predictions by the Caribbean Development Bank; according to the CDB  every one per cent reduction in tourist arrivals could cost US$137 million in lost revenue. Our revised forecast is based on a number of factors, including figures provided by CTO’s partner, OAG, the air travel data provider based here in the UK. Data based on schedules that were provided to OAG by the airlines showed that in October the number of flights to the region fell by 6.7 per cent, while seat capacity contracted by 4.1 per cent.

Among the worst hit destinations, the frequency of flights to Puerto Rico decreased by 25.1 per cent, Dominica by 13.7 per cent, St. Maarten by 12 per cent, the British Virgin Islands by 11.2 per cent, Anguilla by 6.3 per cent and the  US Virgin Islands  by 5.6 per cent.  Seat capacity to all of these destinations was consequently adversely affected with St. Maarten experiencing a near 50 per cent falloff.

Some of these reductions were influenced by Hurricane Harvey, which hit the US mainland, but most were a direct result of Irma and Maria.

It must be noted, however, that Cuba’s capacity grew by 10 per cent despite changes to the schedule. The new services from the US are a major influence on this performance. The largest of the carriers based in the region, Caribbean Airlines and LIAT, both registered declines in capacity, with LIAT falling by 21.3 per cent and Caribbean Airlines by 9.5 per cent. However, overall, air capacity in the region grew by five per cent for the first nine months of 2017 when compared to the same period last year.

As for post-hurricane tourist arrivals, it is still too early to tell, since the October numbers are not yet in. However, with several of the key cruise destinations, including Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and the US Virgin Islands recovering from the impact of the hurricanes, cruise lines made changes to their itineraries  to include alternative regional ports which remained open.

These redeployments have benefited countries such as Curacao, which registered a 138.3 per cent rise in cruise passenger arrivals in September, Jamaica (54.1 per cent), the Cayman Islands and Grenada.

You would have noticed that we predict growth in tourist arrivals this year, albeit slower than expected, which could still mean new record performance for the Caribbean despite the storms. This is mainly due to the fact that some 75 per cent of the Caribbean was unscathed by the hurricanes and continued to welcome visitors.

And, if we are to return to Dickens, there is prodigious strength in sorrow and despair, as a brilliant people rise from this destruction and devastation, with the fighting spirit of the people of the Caribbean, ready to rebuild stronger and more sustainably than before.

Already, virtually all of the affected countries are reporting that they are open again for business, although not at full capacity, with every one of them planning some sort of event either later this year or early next year.

A separate document will be presented to you outlining the state of readiness of these countries.

Thank you all for coming and for helping spread the word that the Caribbean is open for business, and for reminding everyone that the best way to help the Caribbean is to travel to the Caribbean.

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery

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Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival Supports Region’s Tourism Recovery Efforts

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (31 October, 2017) – The 2017 Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival is throwing its support behind the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s efforts to help Caribbean families and countries recover and rebuild after the monstrous hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated some member destinations.

The festival, an authentic Caribbean event, will be raising monies for the CTO Hurricane Relief Fund, which was activated through GoFundMe.

“We were horrified by the devastation inflicted on the region by the Category 5 hurricanes in September 2017 and, as an authentic Caribbean event, we felt obligated to assist those affected,” Cheryl Collymore, the festival director said.

“As the region’s tourism development agency, the CTO is a reputable organization with a history of coming to the support of Caribbean countries hit by natural disasters and we are happy to support its efforts.”

The festival will take place on 9 December, 2017 at the Rockley Golf & Country Club in Barbados, and by that time the initial attention on hurricane-hit territories will have started to dwindle, but the struggles suffering of those affected will not have ended.

To support the CTO Hurricane Relief Fund the 2017 Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival has committed to contributing five per cent of ticket and exhibitor space rental to the fund and to encourage regional producers who may not be attending the event to donate bottles of product to the festival to be sold, with 100 per cent of the sale monies going to the fund.

In addition, on-site activities at the festival venue will be organized to raise funds for the CTO Hurricane Relief Fund, while a page has been established on the festival’s website encouraging the population to donate.

“Hurricanes Irma and Maria have had a significant impact on families and countries in the affected countries and we welcome any contribution to the CTO Hurricane Fund,” the CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley said.

“We are grateful to the organisers of the Caribbean Rum & Beer festival for their generous contribution.”

Those unable to attend the 2017 Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival can still donate to the CTO Hurricane Relief Fund thru their GoFundMe page.

Among activities at the 9 December event are a selection of rum and beer products to sample and purchase, intriguing master classes on a variety of rum and beer related subjects presented by industry experts, a highly competitive highly competitive ‘Rum Cocktail Wars’ bartender competition, creative culinary demonstrations of cooking with rum and beer and chocolate pairing with rum and beer.

The Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival, which has previously been hosted in Barbados, Grenada and St Maarten,  has been awarded a ‘Best Event’ accolade by RAD Season, an international adventure specialist travel company, and was rated as one of the Top 10 Best Drinking Festivals in the World.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery

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