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CTO Sec. Gen. Message on the observance of Caribbean Tourism Month November, 2017

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 1 Nov 2017.  This year can be described as a tale of two situations for Caribbean tourism. During the first half of this year the region performed at new record pace, welcoming 16.6 million international tourist arrivals at a healthy growth rate of 5.2 per cent, when compared to the same period last year.

However, hurricanes Irma and Maria have dented this growth, with the revised forecast for 2017 now at one to two per cent, down from 2.5 to 3.5 per cent.

The economic impact of the storms is significant. The Caribbean Development Bank predicts that every one per cent reduction in tourist arrivals (based on 2015 travel data) will cost US$137 million in lost revenue.

No doubt, the hurricanes have presented us with some major challenges, but we are determined to rebuild better and more sustainably.

In the meantime, while the affected countries are at various stages on the road back to normality, it is also important to note that over 75 per cent of the region was unscathed by the storms. In this context, we encourage you to keep visiting the Caribbean, as this is the best way to help the region.

During Caribbean Tourism Month we will focus on adventure, in keeping with the Year of Adventure. Mindful of the impact of the storms, there are still countless travel adventures to be had this month and for the remainder of the year.

We look forward to hearing of the various events and activities planned for the month, and with your permission, we will share your information and images. .

The month also provides an opportunity to reiterate the message that we are open for business and we do have an exciting product to offer.

Yes, some challenges remain and those are being addressed, but let’s also emphasize the  superb experiences we can offer to guests right now and help them and their companions have a Caribbean adventure to remember.

Together, let’s keep the right focus on this important industry and reaffirm the value of One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Tourism Month, Corporate News

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St. Kitts Reports Christophe Harbour Marina is Open For Business this Season

Basseterre, St. Kitts (November 1, 2017) – St. Kitts is pleased to report that The Marina at Christophe Harbour is open for business, and the island is fully operational as the Caribbean yacht charter season is soon to begin. With little to no damage from the recent hurricanes, the island is an ideal place to start and end charters this season.

The Marina offers a variety of services for visiting vessels, including in-slip fueling, dedicated crew amenities and crew concierge, YU Lounge private jet terminal for expedited arrivals and departures, and a host of expanded services including onsite provisioning. The Marina has also announced reduced berthing rates for the month of November to assist those vessels displaced by the storms.

In support of our neighboring islands who were less fortunate, Christophe Harbour has partnered with YachtAid Global, the disaster relief service which supports remote coastal communities, with the development’s marina serving as the organization’s regional base of operations. Additionally, the development is coordinating relief efforts with the government of St. Kitts & Nevis to support its neighboring islands.

With an onsite tank capacity of 48,000 US gallons, The Marina features the largest refueling station dedicated to a marina in the Eastern Caribbean. This state-of-the-art facility can provide 40,000 US (duty free) gallons per day of in-slip fuelling for vessels, with up to 125 gallons per minute of Sol-supplied, ultra-low sulphur diesel. The Marina also features a professionally-engineered entry and turning basin and is a designated point of entry allowing for onsite expedited clearance. Offering a naturally protected harbour, The Marina has the ability to accommodate some of the world’s largest superyachts.

In September, construction crews installed the cupola atop the Marina’s three-story customs house, officially “topping off” the 11,000-square foot iconic building slated to make its official debut in the first half of 2018. In addition to Customs and Immigration offices, the Customs House will include a crew lounge for visting yachts, the marina office, a fitness center, and a real estates sales gallery.

All seven planned boutique retail shops are open at the Marina Village, including an art gallery featuring local and regional fine art as well as local artisans, upscale boutiques, and the most recent addition – Ballast Bay Outfitters, the first true “outfitter” in the Federation to offer a full line of outdoor sportswear and equipment tested in St. Kitts. Further, Peppe’s coffee kiosk is open daily at the marina village. In November, the Caribbean’s first Park Hyatt, the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour, will debut as part of the resort community.

For more information about Christophe Harbour, visit www.ChristopheHarbour.com.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Grenada In Top 10 Hot Global Destinations To Travel In 2018

St. George’s, Grenada – October 30th, 2017 – Pure Grenada has been recognised by the prestigious Wall Street Journal newspaper as one of the “10 hot destinations to travel to in 2018” in the world. This accolade appeared in the October 26th Wall Street Journal’s Travel News article. The story was also carried by the BBC UK, which included all the countries making the list.

Grenada was 6th on the list along with places including Shangai, Madagascar and the Faroe Islands. About Grenada the article noted, “On the southern edge of the Caribbean hurricane belt—hit by only three storms in 50 years—it’s flourishing while many of its neighbors rebuild. In the spring, Silversands resort will bring minimalist luxury to the island’s southwestern tip, with 43 suites, nine villas and the region’s longest pool.”

The Wall Street Journal website reaches a global audience of 42.4 million digital readers per month who seek the news and information critical to their business and personal lives.

Pure Grenada was also recently recognized by the Caribbean Journal news site as the ‘Caribbean Capital of Chocolate.’ This accolade is partially a result of Grenada’s four chocolate producing companies: The Grenada Chocolate Company; Crayfish Bay Estate; Diamond Chocolate Factory; and Belmont Estate.  The Caribbean Journal article is quoted, “It’s no surprise, then, that a place called the Spice Isle would produce some of the globe’s most exciting cocoa — and some of its best chocolate.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) Patricia Maher says the latest recognition for Pure Grenada is delightful. She added “with the charming personality of the people and the great stories to be shared, we know we have got what it takes to create wonderful—and delicious—memories for our visitors. It is great to be recognized by the Wall Street Journal as a “hot destination” and we welcome everyone to experience the Spice of the Caribbean for themselves.”

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Top-Level Meetings for Martinique at FCCA Conference

New York, NY – October 24th, 2017 —Mrs. Karine Mousseau and her team at the Martinique Tourism Authority along with Mr. Jean-Remy Villageois, President of Le Grand Port Maritime de la Martinique and representatives of Martinique’s cruise private sector, will meet with cruise executives and present the many positive developments and results of the cruise sector in Martinique.

Meetings scheduled with key decision makers such as Micky Arison, Chairman of Carnival Corporation, Arnold Donald, Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Corporation, Rick Sasso Chairman of MSC Cruises USA and Adam Goldstein, President & COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, will confer the opportunity to strengthen the relationship established with the cruise companies and support the destination’s interests.

“Martinique is significantly growing its cruise activities, making the destination an unmissable stop in the Caribbean and strong ally to our cruise industry partners.  This season, as a result of successful efforts undertaken by the public and private sectors of the Martinique cruise industry, the Island of Flowers as a home port boasts one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Caribbean.  All industry partners are constantly improving their facilities, quality of service, while delivering a warm welcome”, said Karine Mousseau.

Martinique as a cruise destination is steadily growing and the destination is thankful to the cruise ship companies for their trust in choosing Martinique as a call of choice. Fortunately the island has not suffered from the hurricanes damages sadly encountered by some of her Caribbean neighbors.

From 214 calls, the Island is now expecting 369 port calls for 2017/2018 season.

Port Calls

The number of cruise passengers will also be on the rise with a forecast of 786,000 passengers. Thanks to the growing interest of cruise lines, the terminal of La Pointe Simon in Fort-de-France, is one of the few ports in the world located in the heart of a capital city.  The terminal of la Pointe Simon will welcome over 150 port calls this season.

The end of 2017 will mark the opening of the first shops of the new shopping center of la Pointe Simon, Tour Lumina, which will also contribute to the site’s appeal. Moorings in front of the towns of Anses d’Arlet, Le Marin and Trois-Ilets are very sought-after by boutique luxury ships.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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BVI Still Sailing

October 25, 2017 — Although the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and its tourism sector were deeply affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September, the Tourist Board can now proudly proclaim that we’re still sailing as of Nov. 1.

The BVI Tourist Board and government have been fully dedicated to restoring the territory to its luxurious allure. While many of the landside accommodations are currently closed, the BVI is thrilled to announce that the yachting sector will begin welcoming visitors in November. The following charter companies intend to resume sailing for the Winter 2017/2018 season – many of whom are bringing new yachts to the BVI for the first time:

The BVI Charter Yacht Society Boat Show will be held at Nanny Cay Marina from Nov. 7-10. The show will feature 30-35 luxury yachts, which is about half the number from previous years. While images after the storm have shown widespread destruction in the BVI’s boatyards, many yachts have been able to return to full functionality.

“The BVI has historically been the sailing capital of the world,” Charter Yacht Society Chairman Ruth Ross said. “And the reasons for this have not changed. Our water is still brilliant blue, the anchorages are still beautiful and near one another, and the tradewinds will be blowing.”

A sailing enthusiast’s delight, the BVI is excited to once again host the highly-anticipated Anegada Lobster Festival on Nov. 25 and 26. Guests are encouraged to stop by the event to indulge in delectable and authentic seafood offerings, entertainment and fun.

Additionally, the Tourist Board has announced that the BVI Sailing Regatta will be held as scheduled next spring, from March 26-April 1, 2018.

“We remain energized and optimistic that the destination’s tourism industry will rebound. Guests of the BVI have come to expect a luxurious, personalized experience in terms of the islands’ natural beauty and our unparalleled hospitality. When they return, this product will only have gotten better,” Director of Tourism Sharon Flax-Brutus said.

On smaller islands like Jost Van Dyke and Anegada, beloved restaurants and bars are working hard to reopen this winter. Foxy’s, for example, plans to host its iconic Old Year’s Night celebration to ring in the New Year.

Diving enthusiasts can enjoy the BVI’s vast marine life at the Wreck of the RMS Rhone, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, or at the new BVI Art Reef. Dead Chest, Peter Island, Norman Island and the Indians are also great places to experience underwater beauty. Meanwhile, the dive operator sector is focused on rebuilding efforts to become fully operational.

Starting Nov. 1, Dive BVI will operate initially from their main base at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor while Sunchaser Scuba (Bitter End) and Sail Caribbean Divers (initially from the Moorings base) will begin operations the following month.

Commercial flights to the BVI have resumed, and travelers may reach the territory via connections in San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua and St. Maarten. Upon arrival, visitors will have access to car rentals and taxis ready for hire, albeit with fewer vehicles available in some cases.

Inspiring tales from the relief and recovery efforts have swept the territory, as residents and friends of the BVI strive to rebuild what is still a dazzling destination.

A Facebook group designed to share news after the storm swelled to more than 32,000 members in just three weeks, and has spurred the launch of the first aid and volunteer organization focused solely on the BVI: One Love BVI.

All those interested in volunteer opportunities may visit BVIVolunteers.com.

Contact:

Perla George
Business Development Director
BVI Tourist Board
[email protected]
212-563-3117

Keith Dawson
Marketing Manager
BVI Tourist Board
[email protected]

Imani Rodman
Account Executive
M Booth (U.S. PR agency)
[email protected]

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Dominica Post Hurricane Maria Update

Roseau Dominica – (October 18, 2017) – Dominica was severely impacted by category 5 Hurricane Maria on September 18, 2017. Assessment of the country’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges and sites and attractions continues.  Updated information from daily press briefings are accessible at http://www.opm.gov.dm/.  Following is an update on island services:

Current Status

Dominica has classified this new period post Maria as one of relief, recovery and rebuilding.  The positive news is that many areas, communities and families are now moving from the relief phase to recovery. Restoration and repair of some services has begun. The Government led rebuilding phase will focus on incorporating best practices that ensure Dominica will be better able to withstand future acts of nature.

  • Main roadways have been cleared and damage is still being assessed.
  • Over 275 tons of food and 45,000 gallons of water have been distributed to over 93 communities.
  • All banks, some businesses and government offices are now open for business in the city.
  • The Ministry of Education is working to have 23 schools reopened by October 18, 2017. Many schools will reopen in their original buildings, while others will operate on a shift system or in an alternate location.

Travel

  • Most roads are safe for driving and motorists are advised to proceed with caution in certain areas.
  • LIAT Airlines and Seaborne have resumed commercial flights to Dominica and are operating at a limited capacity.
  • Seaborne Airlines began commercial flights to/from Dominica on October 11, 2017. Flights depart San Juan, Puerto Rico at 12:45 pm and depart Dominica 3:00 pm daily. For additional details, visit https://www.seaborneairlines.com/
  • LIAT Airlines will operate commercial flights as follows:
    • Return flight to Antigua (LI624) will operate on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday departing Antigua  at 11:30am and  Dominica at 1:10pm;
    • Return flight to Barbados (LI601) will operate on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday departing Barbados at 10am and Dominica at noon.

This schedule will run until November 7th when the airline will update its schedule.

For additional details, visit http://www.liat.com/ or call the Call Centre at 1-888-844-5428

  • L’Express des Iles ferry service is operating to Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia from the Roseau Ferry Terminal.  The ferry travels the Martinique /St Lucia route on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays departing Dominica at 10:30 am and on Saturdays at 3 pm.  Service to Guadeloupe from Dominica is at 11:30 am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and at 9:15 am on Saturdays.  For additional information, please visit http://www.express-des-iles.com/index.cfm?lng=en .

Accommodation

  • Prior to Hurricane Maria, Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) had on record of seventy-three (73) properties / nine hundred and nine (909) guest rooms. As of October 17, 2017, sixty-four (64) of these properties have been reassessed for hurricane damage.  Assessments show that thirty-two (32) properties are moderately damaged and able to operate now or in the near future.
  • Twenty seven (27) properties have been severely damaged or destroyed, with serious to total destruction of structures including roofs, electrical and plumbing. Wi-Fi  is not available in most cases.

The properties that suffered moderate damage account for fifty one percent (51.4%) of the total room stock or four hundred and sixty-seven (467) guestrooms.

Tourist Activity

  • Most natural sites have been assessed.  Access roads to these sites have been damaged and consequently tourist sites and natural attractions are currently closed until repair work is complete.
  • Overall 35% of reefs at dive sites were damaged, particularly sponges and softer corals above 45 feet. Currently all nine dive operators are closed for business and most will not be operational before January 2018. Upon resumption the number of dives per day will be reduced to ease the strain on the fragile reefs.  Kindly check in with your dive shop for more details.

Utilities

  • The Dominica Water and Sewage Company (DOWASCO) has restored drinking water supply to 55% of its network and work is ongoing to restore pipe borne water to other communities.
  • The Dominica Electricity Services (DOMLEC) has restored electricity to parts of the capital city Roseau, Portsmouth and are continuing restoration of electricity to other communities.
  • Mobile phone service providers FLOW and Digicel have restored access to their mobile networks to a number of communities.  FLOW has restored 21 of its 49 mobile sites and land line phone service has been restored to parts of Roseau, Canefield, St. Joseph, Portsmouth, Morne Daniel, Mahaut and Pond Cassee.  Digicel has restored mobile service to communities in the north, south and west as well as Roseau, Portsmouth and environs.

Relief Operations

  • Relief efforts are being coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister through the Emergency Organizing Committee.
  • Detailed information on relief operations can be found at www.opm.gov.dm.

While some of our accommodations and sites have been damaged by hurricane Maria, our welcoming spirit has not been deterred. Many within the hospitality sector have regrouped and welcome voluntourism visitors.  If you are interested in such a visit to Dominica kindly contact our office.

For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 1-767- 448-2045; or, visit Dominica’s official website: www.DiscoverDominica.com, follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and watch our videos on YouTube.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News, Uncategorized

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