Archive for 2018 News

Remarks by Hugh Riley Sec. Gen. CTO, State of the Tourism Industry Conference, Friday 5 October, 2018

I’m excited at the prospects for the CTO and the critical role it can play in unifying the Caribbean, not simply as a tourism destination, but as a people destined for greatness.

I’m convinced that a well-supported, well-funded, CTO can take its place alongside other venerable institutions to lift the people of the Caribbean to incredible heights that are attainable but not yet achieved.

The organisation’s leadership in tourism and its contribution to the development of our human resources will help drive strong economies and build reliable, competent and productive workforces and Caribbean populations that are ready to face an ever-changing global environment.

The CTO’s leadership was on full display this week through the experts we brought together to share insights into how we can better build a lasting and sustainable tourism sector that will benefit every individual, every community, every country in this region.

We dared to challenge the region to build better, not just the infrastructure, but the entire industry. We explored applicable recommendations for the use of technology, not only to improve the visitors’ experience, but our lot as a people. We boldly tackled controversial issues such as commoditizing our cultures without exploiting them and embracing the Caribbean as a region of roots.

We brought these issues to the forefront not because they’re popular, but because we are convinced they must be successfully addressed sooner rather than later, if we are to truly build a Caribbean tourism industry for the future.

And there’s no better way to shape the future than to involve our young people. There isn’t a single person among those who were in the room for yesterday’s youth congress, or among the approximately three thousand people who watched it live on the CTO Facebook page, who will disagree with me when I say we have some of the most creative, imaginative and smartest young people anywhere.

They are the ones who will be challenged to continue building the tourism industry on the foundation that has been laid by today’s leaders and yesterday’s pioneers. Based on the strength of their performances yesterday, I’m confident that the future of tourism is bright.

In this context, allow me to congratulate the youth congress winner, Jamaica’s Bryanna Hylton, as well as St. Maarten’s Kiara Meyers and Caroline Pain of Martinique, who placed in the top three.

I know you’d also like an update on our The Rhythm Never Stops campaign; I’m happy to advise that the campaign will be launched this coming Monday, thanks to the public- and private sector stakeholders who contributed to this important first phase.

On the region’s tourism performance, it has been a tale of two situations. On the one hand, we have robust growth in countries that were not affected by last year’s hurricanes.

On the other, we have seen dramatic decreases in arrivals to those hit by the storms, although the performances of these countries are steadily improving.

Of the 22 reporting destinations, 13 of them registered increases in tourist arrivals during the first half of the year, ranging from 1.7 percent to 18.3, while seven recorded decreases of between a negligible -0.3 percent and 71 percent.

The top performing destination during this period were Guyana at 18.3 percent, Belize at 17.1 percent, the Cayman Islands at 15.9 percent, and Grenada at 10.7 percent and the Bahamas at 10.2 percent.

These individual results substantiate the regional messaging of the openness of the destinations for business and the confidence in destinations to deliver quality experiences.

The performances of the key source markets varied considerably, with some destinations recording strong growth, while others registered declines.

In the US market, for example, while Jamaica reported growth of 8.4 percent, the Dominican Republic was up by 6.3 percent and 11 other destinations achieved growth, six of which were by double digits, the Caribbean received Seven million visits from the US during the first half of the year.

This was a 15.8 percent decrease when compared to the corresponding period last year, due mainly to a 54.6 percent fall in arrivals to Puerto Rico and decreases in arrivals to Cuba.

On the other hand, there was a new record in arrivals from Canada for this time of year, with 2.4 million overnight international tourists, representing a 4.7 percent increase.

Arrivals from Europe also increased, though marginally at 0.3 per cent, with three million tourists visiting the Caribbean during the first half of the year.

Belize led the way with 24.3 percent growth, followed by Guyana at 9.4% percent, Curaçao 6.2 percent and Saint Lucia at 4.5 percent. However, overall growth was impacted by steep falls in arrivals to Anguilla, Puerto Rico and Bermuda.

There was also a marginal decline of 0.5 per cent in cruise visits, although there are signs of improvement. Of the 23 reporting destinations, 15 realized improvement upon their 2017 performances with Trinidad & Tobago registering increases of 166 percent, St. Vincent & the Grenadines up by 84 percent and Martinique at 54.7 percent, leading on growth rates.

However, this was countered by declines of nearly 90 percent in the British Virgin Islands, Dominica was down by 88.4 percent, St. Maarten down 27.5 per cent, and the US Virgin Islands decreased by 22.5 percent. Puerto Rico, though hurricane-impacted, posted a 1.1 percent increase during the period.

The region’s competitive advantages of a diverse tourism product and safety and security are still intact. Destinations are rebuilding, and new tourism products and services are being restored daily in the destinations impacted by last year’s hurricanes.

Our research department anticipates an overall decline of between three and four per cent this year, but predicts a 4.3 percent increase next year.

Cruise, on the other hand, is projected to grow by five per cent to six per cent this year.

Let me take the opportunity to thank Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar, director general Joy Jibrilu and team at the Bahamas ministry of tourism, as well as our own CTO staff for working so hard to pull off a wonderful State of the Tourism Industry conference, and I thank you for your participation.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Saint Lucia voted Chair of the CTO

NASSAU, Bahamas (2 October, 2018) – Saint Lucia has been voted in as chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with the election today of its Minister of Tourism Dominic Fedee, ending the two-year term of the Bahamas, which ascended to the position in Barbados in 2016.

His election took place late this evening at the Atlantis, Paradise Island resort where the CTO held its annual general meeting ahead of the official opening of the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC).

Following his election Mr. Fedee said he was humbled and proud that his colleagues had placed their trust in him. The new chairman also stated: “We have an opportunity to advance the strength of our collective purpose. We have to spare no effort to use our collaboration at the CTO level to help to advance the wider integration movement and the CTO can be seen in the same ilk as West Indies cricket and the University of the West Indies as success stories to unite the Caribbean further.

“The Caribbean is one of the strongest and one of the most iconic and aspirational travel brands in the world but also it is the most underutilised and the opportunity exists for us to ensure that we utilise the strength of the brand for the collective good of the destinations of the Caribbean.”

The Saint Lucian minister has named Tiffany Howard, the acting chief executive officer of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, as chairman of the CTO board of directors, since, according to the CTO constitution, the board chairman and the chairman of the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism must come from the same member country.

In addition to the election of the chairman, vice chairs were elected to serve on the executive committee of the board of directors to represent various sub-groups – Curacao, representing the Dutch Caribbean; Haiti representing the French Caribbean; Bahamas and Jamaica, representing the independent Caribbean Community countries and the Cayman Islands representing the British overseas territories. This committee will be completed with representatives from the private sector.

Today’s vote was in keeping with the CTO constitution which mandates that elections must be held every two years and that the chairman cannot serve consecutive terms.

This year’s conference at the Atlantis, Paradise Island resort is organised in collaboration with the Bahamas’ ministry of tourism and is sponsored by Martinique’s Aimé Césaire International Airport, Cititech Solutions, JetBlue and Delta Air Lines, with support from American Airlines, Bahamas Air, Caribbean Airlines and InterCaribbean Airways.

To view a short video clip of the new chairman, please click on the following link: https://bit.ly/2xPxQzB, and for more information on SOTIC, visit www.sotic.onecaribbean.org.

About the Bahamas

The Islands of the Bahamas have a place in the sun for everyone. Each island has its own personality and attractions for a variety of vacation styles with some of the world’s best scuba diving, fishing, sailing, boating, as well as, shopping and dining. The destination offers an easily accessible tropical getaway and provides convenience for travelers with preclearance through U.S. customs and immigration, and the Bahamian dollar is on par with the U.S. dollar. Do everything or do nothing, just remember It’s Better in The Bahamas. For more information call 1-800-Bahamas or visit www.Bahamas.com. Look for The Bahamas on the web on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News, SOTIC

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CTO presents Dr. Roy Hastick, Sr., with its Distinguished Citizen Award

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (4 August 2018) – Hugh Riley, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) presented its “Distiguished Caribbean Citizen Award” to Dr. Roy A. Hastick, Sr., president and CEO of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), during a recent CACCI small business development power breakfast meeting. The honour is part of CTO’s Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards given annually during Caribbean Week New York festivities.

“The Caribbean Tourism Organization recognises Dr. Roy Hastick for his longstanding commitment to representing the interests of Caribbean people at the New York City and State levels,” said Riley (pictured on the right in the photo). “His steadfast endeavours to strengthen commercial links between the Caribbean and the region’s Diaspora are particularly worthy of commendation and for that reason we have bestowed the Distinguished Caribbean Citizen Award on him.”

“I am excited and thrilled to receive the Distinguished Caribbean Citizen Award from the Caribbean Tourism Organization, a prestigious association that promotes tourism in the region throughout the world,” said Hastick (pictured on the left in the photo). “For over 33 years CACCI has been promoting trade, investment and tourism between the United States and the Caribbean as well as helping thousands of small businesses in the New York metropolitan area survive and thrive.”

Hastick was born in Grenada and migrated to the U.S. in 1972 and worked for several years as an administrator, community advocate, entrepreneur and newspaper publisher. Through his involvement with organisations in the Borough of Brooklyn, Hastick recognised the need for the Caribbean community to unify in support of one another in order to improve the quality of life for everyone. As a result of his work in the small business community, Hastick was appointed Honorary Brooklyn Ambassador by Brooklyn Borough president Eric L. Adams.

As president and CEO of CACCI, he has helped grow the statewide membership organization to over 1,700 and provides expertise in providing business assistance to small start-up and emerging businesses in areas of business planning, financing, procurement, preparation for certification and business expansion, tourism and export/import opportunities.

CACCI’s extensive track record of service delivery includes sponsoring over 600 business networking meetings and establishing partnerships with US government and private business entities. Over the years, CACCI has sponsored numerous trade missions to the Caribbean, convened business meetings and held briefing sessions on behalf of several Caribbean Heads of State including Prime Ministers of Jamaica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Barbados, Haiti, Dominica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, and the Chief Minister of Montserrat.

In August 2017, the CTO and CACCI formalised a cooperation strategy between the two organizations to enhance the level of engagement with the Caribbean Diaspora and to strengthen relationships with entities serving the people of the Caribbean.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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CTO Helps Dominica Prepare To Cope With The Impact Of Climate Change

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (30 July 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, has been working closely with its member country, Dominica, to be better able to plan for, withstand and recover from the negative impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

The CTO has completed a two-day climate sensitisation and disaster risk management workshop in Roseau, aimed at facilitating the sharing of knowledge and best practices on strategies related to climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as identifying sound disaster risk management approaches.

Dominica suffered a direct hit by category five Hurricane Maria last September, which wiped out 226 per cent of its gross domestic product, two years after Tropical Storm Erika passed over the island, destroying an entire village, killing 20 people and leaving behind damage to 90 per cent of the country’s GDP.

“The topics of climate change and disaster preparedness are very pertinent to us in Dominica and in the wider Caribbean. We live in a region that is prone to the effects of climate change and disasters especially hurricanes. Of course, we have first-hand knowledge and recent experience with hurricanes,” Colin Piper, the chief executive officer of Discover Dominica Authority (DDA), the island’s tourist board, said at the opening of the workshop

“Anecdotal data indicates that tourism arrivals after natural disasters reduce by up to 30 per cent for up to three years. We are in fact experiencing a reduction in promotable visitor arrivals. For some properties, their occupancy levels may be up due to aid and agency short stays, but we must address this issue which threatens our livelihood within the hospitality industry and as nation,” he added.

Thirty tourism practitioners and decision makers from the public and private sectors participated in the event, which formed part of the “Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry” project currently implemented by the CTO, with funding and technical assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank, through the joint Natural Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) programme for Caribbean Forum states, undertaken in conjunction with the African Caribbean and Pacific Group and the European Union.

The 26-27 July workshop, facilitated by strategic planning expert Dr. Jennifer Edwards, was the latest in a series of training programmes being conducted by the CTO for Dominica.

Earlier this month a “Delivering Quality Service” workshop was held for 55 craft and souvenir vendors, hair braiders and tourism taxi service providers to help them better appreciate the importance of their roles in visitor satisfaction; improve people relations through effective communication and understand how positive visitor interactions result in satisfied visitors.

That workshop, facilitated by the CTO’s regional human resources development consultant Sharon Banfield- Bovell,  covered areas such as understanding the customer, the importance of delivering quality customer service and the ten principles of customer service, all areas which Dominica said were critical in ensuring the service providers are equipped with the necessary skill set to deliver the highest level of customer service.

In addition, 25 participants each are to be trained in the management of sites and attractions at a workshop which targets forestry park wardens and the Waitukubuli National Trail Project among others, and a management of service quality workshop for senior executives and general managers in private and public sector tourism enterprises.

The CTO’s resource mobilisation and development division offers several training and development programmes, for member countries and the tourism sector, in keeping with its mandate to assist in developing and strengthening human capital in the region’s tourism sector so as to offer high levels of professional service.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Climate Change, Corporate News

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Tourism Human Resource Professionals To Plan Strategies To Build High Performance Workforce

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (26 July 2018) – When human resource professionals from across the region meet in the Cayman Islands in November for the 9th Tourism Human Resources Conference, they will be challenged to develop effective strategies and plans to build a high performance and motivated workforce.

The 28-30 November conference, organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT), comes at a time when the Caribbean faces increased competition in the global, high-tech, innovation driven industry, and amidst increasing calls for a total rethink of the way tourism leaders engage with the workforce.

“There is an urgent need for a high performance, resilient workforce which is critical for sustainability of the tourism sector in this ever-changing environment,” Sharon Banfield-Bovell, the CTO’s regional human resource development consultant said as planning for the conference intensifies.

Building high performance teams come with challenges, she said, including employees’ unwillingness or lack of motivation to change; low employee productivity and morale; and the scarcity of relevant skills, as well as weak or outdated leadership thinking and styles.

However, Banfield-Bovell said, while technology can help drive efficiency, “the real value in tourism is our human resources – the power of people – and the ability of a well-trained, highly valued, and fairly compensated workforce to transcend beyond process and profit”.

The conference, which has as its theme Building a Resilient, High-Performing and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Workforce For Global Competitiveness, will feature experts in human resources, tourism and labour, including Claudia Coenjaerts, director of the International Labour Organization’s decent work team  and office for the Caribbean, who will deliver the keynote address on, The Future of Work – What will become the New Normal.

The CTO team has been working with the CIDOT to produce a dynamic programme of plenaries, masterclasses, a students’ forum and a tour.

“As Caribbean nations, it is imperative that we make the necessary investments which drive visitation in this globally competitive industry. While these investments often come in the form of property development or increased marketing, it is my belief that the greatest asset any tourism product has is its people,” commented Rosa Harris, director of tourism for the Cayman Islands. “The Cayman Islands has continued to develop our local tourism workforce through nationwide customer service training, tertiary education scholarships and the establishment of a vocational certification programme through our School of Hospitality Studies. We are proud to host the 2018 Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Human Resources Conference and look forward to inviting professionals from across the region, to share best practices on ways we can strengthen our tourism workforces for collective success.”

Registration and other information available at www.onecaribbean.org.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, HR Conference

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