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.
Archive for 2018 News
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (4 Feb. 2019) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has reiterated its strong support for the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre which was officially launched in Jamaica last week.
In a brief message endorsing the project led by Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, the CTO Chairman Dominic Fedee stressed the challenges the Caribbean region faces in recovering from natural disasters and the lasting effects of such adversities. The resilience centre, he said, will play a hugely important role in helping the region to recover from such crises, and to thrive.
The centre, which is being housed at the University of the West Indies, Mona, is being designed to help vulnerable states across the world to recover quickly from natural disasters. It will specifically target destination preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions and/or crises that threaten economies and livelihoods globally, with real time data and effective communication.
In emphasizing the timeliness of the centre, the CTO chairman referred to a study by the World Bank which found that disasters impact gross domestic product in developing states at a rate 20 times higher than in industrialised nations, causing greater disruption and severe consequences for vulnerable members of society.
He said the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre would ensure that the region would continue to benefit from the economic, social, cultural, and historic value of tourism, which is its primary income earner.
“A lot has been said about the environmental challenges that hurricanes present but they are perhaps the single largest threats to our economies. The Caribbean Development Bank did a study years ago which showed that a large portion of the debt on the books of member countries is due to borrowing to rebuild infrastructure ravaged by storms and hurricanes.
“This has resulted in a high debt-to-GDP ratio in various member countries and consequently a serious constraint to growth. So our vulnerability to hurricanes and extreme weather conditions have a debilitating effect on natural disasters,” the CTO chairman stressed.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (28 December, 2018) – As the Caribbean tourism sector prepares to welcome the New Year, we look forward to 2019 with a sense of optimism, excitement and much hope. We are optimistic because we are seeing signs that the lows which Mother Nature imposed upon us during the latter part of 2017 into 2018 are being reversed. We are excited about our prospects because of the incredible turnaround that we are seeing in the most impacted destinations. And we hopeful that the progress of our member countries and supporters can continue unabated, to maintain the momentum they developed since the storms of 2017 when everyone rolled up their sleeves and got down to work to build an improved and more sustainable product.
We are pleased to report that tourism accommodations are being rebuilt and reopened, airports are receiving their full schedule of flights with the return of airlines in full force and the diverse product offerings within our destinations are being restored.
At the same time, increases in the number of available seats, positive messaging and promotions in the marketplace have enabled the unaffected destinations to register continuous growth. The demand among international visitors is strong and Caribbean nationals have continued their quest to explore and enjoy the pleasures of their neighbouring destinations.
Regarding the cruise sector, most ports have been repaired and cruise calls have already returned to normal levels. Indeed, regional cruise visits grew in each month since May, with the region registering growth of 13.7 per cent during the May to September period and 17.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018.
In October, the region launched a digital awareness campaign “The Rhythm Never Stops” on social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, coinciding with augmented airlift for the 2018/19 tourist winter season. Travel professionals and their clients received the message that the Caribbean is a resilient region with an unstoppable resolve to succeed and to keep on moving in the right direction.
For 2019, the outlook is bright for our destinations. We’re quite excited about declaring 2019 as the “Year of Festivals” in the Caribbean. Simply stated, there’s a rhythm to the region that cannot be replicated anywhere on earth. There’s no escaping the melody of nature, as gentle breezes and free-flowing fronds combine beautifully in perfect harmony; no getting away from the heavenly choruses of tides caressing magnificent world class beaches; no missing the cadence of our conversation, the tempo of our movement.
The Caribbean is a festival of rhythms and a home of festivals – music, art, literary, sailing, lights, food, rum, religious, dance – all with their own attractive rhythms.
The Year of Festivals will focus on the fascinating events that have become an integral part of the Caribbean tourism calendar. Festivals help to energize communities across the region, while giving visitors more reasons to enjoy our destinations.
Despite all there is to celebrate in 2019, we must also approach the New Year with a degree of caution since there’s still much work to be done. While preliminary data from our member countries revealed increased demand for travel to the vast majority of the 24 reporting countries, and despite a 9.1 per cent increase in arrivals in September 2018 when compared to the same month in 2017, overall our performance was still down in 2018. A third quarter decline of 3.2 per cent made this our best quarter, and the rate of tourist arrivals is now expected to slow to -1.0 per cent to -2.0 per cent – a definite sign that the tide is turning. Cruise passenger arrivals are projected to grow at an accelerated rate of around 6 per cent to 7 per cent.
Without doubt, our region is in a stronger position than it was a year ago. We are encouraged by the prospect of even greater collaboration with our partners in the industry, including the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, and a range of travel professionals and industry partners who consistently offer Caribbean holiday experiences to their best clients. Our confidence is buoyed by the progress our region is making to combine its resources to bolster our competitive position internationally. The evidence is clear that a strong, unified Caribbean gives the region a global advantage which individual member-countries on their own have little chance of attaining. The success of our countries rests upon our ability to speak as a region with one strong voice.
On behalf of the CTO Council of ministers and commissioners of tourism, the board of directors, members and staff of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, I thank you for all your commitment, hard work and support in 2018, and wish you a New Year of rich blessings and prosperity.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (14 Dec. 2018) – On the heels of the past year’s successful Year of Rejuvenation, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has declared 2019 the Year of Festivals in the Caribbean. Throughout 2019, the region will celebrate the unique rhythm and tempo of each CTO destination.
“The Year of Festivals will focus on the fascinating events that have become an integral part of the Caribbean tourism calendar. Festivals help to energize communities across the region, while giving visitors more reasons to enjoy our destinations,” said Hugh Riley, Secretary General of CTO.
“In addition to providing an opportune time for vacationers to visit, these celebrations also emphasize the unique characteristics that define the many diverse backgrounds and traditions which comprise the Caribbean’s cultural tapestry,” added Riley.
The 2019 Caribbean Year of Festivals will be promoted through social media and traditional media channels and will create opportunities for travellers and vacation planners to share their experiences.
“While each destination is unique and inviting in its own right, the common denominator for all Caribbean societies is a yearning to celebrate life – and each Caribbean country provides a beat that can’t be replicated elsewhere,” said Riley.
“The Year of Festivals will highlight music, art, sailing, lights, food, rum, religious, literary and dance festivals celebrated throughout the region. It’s a theme which can easily be embraced by all CTO member destinations,” Riley noted.
Throughout 2019, the CTO will assist member countries with an assortment of promotional concepts and opportunities which can be implemented around the theme of festivals to appeal to consumers, travel professionals and creators of unique vacation experiences.
About the Caribbean Tourism Organization
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados, offices in New York and London and representation in Canada, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish-speaking, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year round, warm weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.
Among the benefits to its members the organization provides specialized support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution and research & information technology.
Bridgetown, Barbados (23 November 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, is soon to publish a disaster risk management (DRM) guide for the region’s tourism sector as part of its objective to foster a culture of preparedness in destination management.
The publication, which targets tourism businesses and policymakers, will help guide the tourism sector’s preparedness, response and recovery from the multiplicity of hazards that impact and/or potentially threaten the region.
The manual will provide guidelines for climate change mitigation and adaptation, showcase regional and international best practices in comprehensive disaster management, and present strategies for effective response protocols before, during and after a disaster.
“The current and future impacts of climate variability and climate change which includes an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, flood and droughts, among others, make it imperative that countries, particularly the regional tourism sector, be equipped to adequately prepare for, respond to and recover from climate related hazards,” Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism development specialist.
The handbook, which is expected to be finalised next month and launched early 2019, is one component of the ongoing project, “Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry (CSSCTI)”.
This project includes a series of training workshops in disaster risk management and climate resilience, aimed as sharing knowledge and best practices on strategies related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as identifying sound DRM approaches, to enhance tourism sector preparedness, response and resilience to climate-related hazards.
A team of consultants from the University of Technology of Jamaica (UTech) has been engaged by the CTO to produce the ‘Disaster Risk Management Guide for the Caribbean Tourism Sector: A Practical Handbook for Tourism Business and Policymakers’, and to facilitate the workshops – two days of training on DRM followed by a one-day training programme for trainers to help build local capacity. The target audiences are tourism practitioners and decision-makers from the public and private sectors, and representatives from key ancillary sectors such as air and sea port authorities and disaster management agencies who play a key role in tourism disaster management.
In this first phase, five countries: The Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Haiti and Jamaica are benefiting from this training, with workshops having already been held in the Bahamas, Belize Haiti and Jamaica, while the workshop for Dominica will be held in the coming weeks.
“Given the vulnerability of the tourism sector to climate-related disruptions, the CTO is pleased to deliver this training to our member countries as part of efforts to support climate sensitisation and capacity enhancement in disaster management. As we move towards realising the vision of an industry that is climate smart and resilient, we must make every effort to reduce the risks of climate change and related hazards by effecting the necessary policies and being trained to respond swiftly and efficiently to manage and mitigate risks” said Hugh Riley, CTO’s secretary general.
The CSSCTI project is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) through resources allocated under the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)- European Union (EU)- CDB Natural Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) in CARIFORUM countries programme.
“CDB recognises the enormous contribution of the tourism sector to the socio-economic development of the Caribbean and is pleased to support CTO’s initiatives to promote a climate smart and sustainable Caribbean tourism industry. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report-Global Warming of 1.5 0C underscores that climate change impacts on natural and human systems have already been observed as a result of approximately 1.0 0C of global warming from human activities, and climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5 0C and increase further with 2 0C. Therefore, building local, national and regional capacities of key tourism stakeholders is crucial to enhance resilience to climate-related risks and to ensure the sustainability of the tourism sector”, said Dr. Yves Robert Personna, project manager ACP-EU-CDB NDRM programme.
Other activities of the CSSCTI project include updating the Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework and producing a compendium of Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism; an ongoing regional tourism education and awareness campaign delivered through social media and a televised video series; and a feasibility study to inform the needs related to climate services in tourism. In addition, a regional workshop was held last month, which brought together hotel and tourism association executives and officials from ministries of tourism and tourism authorities from CTO member countries. The workshop facilitated the review and validation of the disaster risk management guide, the updated Caribbean sustainable tourism policy framework and other project related manuals, by the tourism sector decision-makers, which aimed to obtain their input, enhance awareness and foster utilisation of the updated manuals. The project is expected to be concluded by mid-2019.