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Ashanti, Keyshia Cole, Ja Rule Set to Headline at 50th Anniversary of St. Maarten Carnival

NEW YORK, NY (March 18, 2019) – Music legends Ashanti, Keyshia Cole, and Ja Rule will be headlining a concert at the 50th Anniversary of St. Maarten Carnival. On April 25, the three globally renowned musicians will take the stage at the Soulful Company concert. Presented by the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF), the concert promises to provide a night of “smooth groovin’ and boppin’.”

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of St. Maarten Carnival. Festivities will officially take place from April 20 to May 7, with pre-Carnival activities kicking off on March 16. At 33 days in overall length, St. Maarten Carnival is the longest carnival in the Caribbean.

“We’re so excited to welcome Ashanti, Keyshia Cole, and Ja Rule to St. Maarten,” stated the Director of Tourism of St. Maarten, Ms. May-Ling Chun. “To have these three artists, all who have impacted the international music scene on such a large scale, headline at the 50th anniversary of our renowned Carnival is a joy and an honor. We cannot wait to see the energy that they bring to the stage.”

The three headliners will also be joined by two of St. Maarten’s best young singers and their bands. Local talents Natisha Hanson and Kenyo Baly will accompany the headliners on stage, representing The Friendly Island at the second iteration of the Soulful Company concert.

“We have so many gifted musicians in St. Maarten, and to bring our island’s local musical talent together with these artists is sure to bring forth a unique, incredible concert,” said St. Maarten’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport, and Telecommunication, Stuart Johnson. What’s more, we look forward to the opportunities this collaboration will bring forth for these exceptional St. Maarteners, and can’t wait to see them showcase their musical gifts on the main stage.”

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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AA Resumes Service to Antigua

St. John’s, Antigua (March 14, 2019) – The Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism and Investment along with the country’s Tourism Authority has announced the resumption of service by American Airlines to and from Miami following the temporary grounding of flights by the US Government of airlines using the 737 Max 8 aircraft. The airline’s Miami and New York turn service will operate tomorrow March 15th with a 737/800 aircraft at 1:11 p.m. to New York and 3:05 p.m. to Miami respectively.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism & Investment, Hon. Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez, notes that this is welcome news for local tourism officials and hoteliers. “We thank the visitors for their patience and understanding as we worked with the local civil aviation authority and the local American Airlines office, to ensure that those currently in Antigua and Barbuda were provided with alternative routes for comfortably returning to their home countries following their vacation,” notes Fernandez.

During the disruption in service on American Airlines, tourism officials held discussions with the local American Airlines operations along with Caribbean Airlines, Seaborne and LIAT to examine all options to facilitate the rerouting of passengers via Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and St. Kitts.

The Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism and Investment along with the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority remain committed to the safety of visitors traveling to the destination. The resumption of service to the country’s vital Miami gateway is critical to continue the strong growth in US air arrivals, that Antigua and Barbuda has been experiencing for the first two months of 2019.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Meet The New Ministry-Level Leadership in BVI Tourism

Road Town, Tortola, March 12, 2019….The British Virgin Islands has new leadership in the pivotal Tourism sector with the recent election of Premier and Minister responsible for Tourism, Hon. Andrew A. Fahie and Territorial At-Large Representative and Junior Minister for Tourism, Hon. Shereen Flax-Charles.  The British Overseas Territory of the Virgin Islands held elections on Monday, February 25th.  Under Fahie’s leadership, the Virgin Islands Party took eight of the 13 seats held by elected members of the Territory’s House of Assembly.  He was sworn in as Premier by Governor Augustus Jaspert on February 26th.  Mrs. Flax-Charles was subsequently named Junior Minister for Tourism to assist Premier Fahie in handling the tourism portfolio.

A veteran legislator, Hon. Fahie has served in the House of Assembly (previously called the Legislative Council) for the past 20 years as the representative for the First Electoral District.  He served as Minister for Education and Culture from 2000-2003 and again from 2007-2011, and as Leader of the Opposition from 2017-2018. Hon. Fahie is a former educator and businessman.

Mrs. Flax-Charles has been involved in the tourism industry from childhood, having worked at the Fischer’s Cove Beach Hotel in Virgin Gorda, which is owned by her parents.  The first-time legislator is a business woman who worked full time at the BVI Tourist Board in the capacities of Sister Islands Tourism Development Manager and Projects Manager for almost 20 years.  She is well known as a singer with her band “It’s a Secret” and as calypsonian Queen Shereen.

In a statement from the Premier’s Office today, Hon. Fahie said, “I am a proud product of the First District which has always been a major hub of tourism activity in our Territory, with several hotels and villas, yacht charter companies, boat and vehicle rentals, marinas as well as one of the primary ports of entry at West End.

I am committing to being laser-focused on Tourism as a driver of economic development in these Virgin Islands.  My Government will do its best to provide the BVI Tourist Board with all the resources necessary to foster the sustainable development of tourism in the BVI for the benefit of all residents.”

Hon. Flax-Charles said, “As Junior Minister for Tourism, the Premier has charged me with ensuring that policies and programmes aimed at the growth and development of this very critical sector are executed. The Premier knows that I am very passionate about tourism and therefore this is a responsibility which I take very seriously.  I am making a commitment that with the assistance of the BVI Tourist Board, we will deliver on our promises to make this one of the most vibrant tourism economies in the region and the world.”

The duo along with the other members of the new government has already begun their review of the industry including meetings with key tourism industry partners, briefings by the BVI Tourist Board and inspection of key tourism facilities, with a view to enacting policies that will chart the way forward for tourism in the British Virgin Islands for the foreseeable future.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Pure Grenada Stands Out With Designer Stand At ITB 2019

St. George’s, Grenada – 11th March 2019 – ITB Berlin is the world’s leading travel trade show held in Germany every March. This year Team Grenada had its own Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean themed stand thanks to the generous support of Silversands Grenada.

Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen led the delegation from the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) including CEO Patricia Maher, Marketing Manager Francine Stewart and Marketing Executive Shanai St. Bernard. The GTA Representatives, Discover the World in Germany headed by Margit Schwarz consulted with the tour operators and Condor Airline and arranged the full appointment schedule.

Representatives from Silversands Grenada, Spice Island Beach Resort & Blue Horizons Garden Resort, Laluna, Mount Edgecombe and St. James Travel & Tours joined the GTA on the stand and were delighted with the ease of doing business during the show. Tour Operator DerTour reported 100% growth in room nights for the current winter season and Condor Airline reported improved seat load factors for the period November to April 2019.

Minister Modeste-Curwen reiterated the importance of direct air connectivity from Frankfurt to Grenada not only for the German and Continental European market but from as far away as China as well. CEO Patricia Maher stated “The German market has tremendous potential considering Germany is the largest national economy in Europe and the Germans are world travel champions. Grenada offers the perfect mix of white sandy beaches and natural rain forest to rich cultural heritage and tasty cuisine to meet the needs of the modern German traveler.”

GTA Marketing Manager Francine Stewart highlighted the new inter-airline agreement between Condor and LIAT, which allows for a seamless connection via Barbados in the summer months. This connection will allow the GTA to market Grenada’s authentic festivals during the summer months such as Spicemas (August 12-13).

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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BTMI Head Announces Solid 2018 Performance

CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), William ‘Billy’ Griffith, has revealed that Barbados enjoyed a 2.7% increase in stay-over arrivals last year, compared to the corresponding period in 2017.

During the course of 2018, the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) welcomed 681,197 visitor arrivals – 17,686 more than 2017. Over at the Bridgetown Port Inc. (BPI), the island’s cruise tourism was significantly impacted by the effects of vessel redeployments following on from the hurricanes of 2017. This was due to the fact that Puerto Rico, the primary homeport for US based sailings to the southern Caribbean, was severely affected. However, Barbados has been resilient, and through new homeporting business, saw a performance of 826,267 arrivals for both transit and homeporting visitors combined.

“I am delighted by this news and what it says about Barbados’ tourism product,” said Griffith. “It is never easy as a mature tourism destination to maintain growth at these levels in the competitive

business landscape in which we operate, but I am pleased that through strategic marketing efforts we have once again proven Barbados’ value as shown by the record number of arrivals at both the air and sea ports throughout 2018.”

Of the five markets, the United States registered the strongest growth with 8.4%, producing 204,830 visitors to the island compared to the 189,022 arrivals in 2017. Other Caribbean followed, contributing 4.6% growth of business with 77,149 arrivals for the year. Canada grew by 1.8% to 86,723 arrivals, and the United Kingdom contributed 1.4% growth of the business, and recorded 225,519 arrivals, compared to the 222,346 recorded in 2017.

Griffith attributed the destination’s noteworthy performance to a number of strategic and integrated marketing initiatives which were deployed across Barbados’ top source markets. “I must commend our tourism teams both here and in our global offices, whose efforts were instrumental in us achieving this record 2.7% growth. They did a great job individually, and that’s reflected when we look at our overall reporting.”

Some of the marketing efforts Griffith referenced included:

New air services

“One of the key components in achieving positive tourism performance is of course the accessibility of the destination to visitors around the world. Bearing this in mind we have worked to ensure that we are both maintaining our current airlift, while adding new, enticing services to our repertoire, for example the new Copa partnership,” said Griffith.

Barbados’ new partnership with Copa Airlines saw a twice weekly Barbados–Panama service commence last July 17. In Winter 2017/2018, the BTMI also joined with GAIA in welcoming Virgin Atlantic’s new London Heathrow twice-weekly service to Barbados which re-commenced December 2018. Around the same time, Thomas Cook added a new weekly flight from London Gatwick which also recommenced in Winter 2018/19.

Over in the United States, American Airlines announced an addition of a third flight from Miami which commenced December 19, 2018; and in addition, a daily flight from Charlotte also started on December 19, 2018.

West Jet saw an 8% increase in seats last summer between May and October, and last winter, Air Canada also increased capacity by 75% from Montreal with a large aircraft and three weekly flights.

Exciting new attractions and accommodations

“Considering the numerous new and increased services, we also saw it important to ensure that we had adequate and quality accommodations available to the additional arriving passengers,” Griffith said. “We therefore gladly welcomed a number of hotels that refurbished and reopened just ahead of the 2017/2018 Winter season; hotels such as Sea Breeze, Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Treasure Beach, The House and so on.”

Griffith also acknowledged the contribution of the new business that the recently opened Sandals Royal located on Maxwell Beach has already brought to Barbados.

Describing the island’s new attractions as “integral” in differentiating destination Barbados, Griffith added that “I am happy to say that a number of new attractions have come on stream – attractions that will differentiate the product offering we have here in Barbados. There’s the Nikki Beach club that opened at Port Ferdinand, and last December we experienced the grand opening of Virgin Holiday’s Departure Beach. The first of its kind, the beachfront departure lounge allows Virgin customers to spend their last moments in paradise.”

Most recently, visitors to Barbados are now able to take a trip back in time and experience riding the railway line from St. Nicholas Abbey and up the picturesque Cherry Tree Hill. The first trip on the Heritage Railway was on January 21, 2019.

International recognition

Throughout 2018, destination Barbados picked up several awards and accolades. Barbados won the World DSI Award with an overall score of 8.8/10. Over 70,000 global travellers from 24 source markets rated their trips across the globe throughout 2017 including areas such as accommodation, food, quality of beaches, security, hospitality and value and Barbados ranked above every other destination in the world.

In November, Barbados also won the prestigious Star Winter Sun Destination 2018 award at the Travel Bulletin Star Awards in the United Kingdom. Finally, to end the year with a bang, Barbados took the title for the 2018 Digital Marketing Campaign of the Year in Latin America Caribbean with the ‘Brilliant Barbados: Year of Culinary Experiences’ campaign.

New opportunities for 2019

Looking ahead, Griffith said that “While we celebrate the numerous successes of last year, we are already full-steam ahead with our plans to make sure that 2019 is an equally promising year of growth for Barbados tourism. We have high hopes for our new airline partnerships, new hotel accommodations, new product development, and other new marketing activities in which we will be engaging across our source markets.”

“We have packaged 2019 as the Year of Wellness and Soft Adventure, where we will be highlighting the different accommodations, attractions and activities the island has to offer to support the growing and lucrative wellness industry,” he added. “And I am confident that with all the new festivals and events centered around health and wellness, we will once again be celebrating a record year come January 2020.”

Up next for the destination is the annual Connect Barbados B2B conference which sees tour operators travel to Barbados from around the world to experience and learn more about all the island has to offer. The conference is scheduled for May 1 – 4, 2019.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Latest news from ITB 2019

This is special! Catch these amazing ITB Berlin moments, and feel the fire and the passion of the #Caribbean representatives while taking a short trip with us round the world’s largest tourism trade show.
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156991939225883/?t=59

Breaking news! Tobago strikes deal with Condor Airlines for code share with airline partners to facilitate seamless travel from Scandinavia to Tobago, reveals CEO of tourism, Louis Lewis
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156989678830883/?t=17

Lufthansa will begin service to\ Barbados come October, reveals Billy Griffith, the CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156988565950883/?t=16

Haiti is still open for business, for investment, and for tourism, says cabinet director Savela Berenji, who along with product development director Pascale Hilaire and Philippe Stephenson, the director of the regional integrated programme for tourism in the south, spoke with CTO
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156989590050883/?t=32

Belize is trending among Germans with numbers expected to surpass the 25 per cent rise last year, says director of tourism Karen Bevans
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156989438385883/?t=30

A light bulb came on in minister Dionisio D’Aguilar’s  head here during his first ever visit to ITB Berlin. Find out what it is in this interview
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156990116320883/?t=1

Carol Hay, the head of CTO UK/Europe, shares the joys of Caribbean success at ITB Berlin 2019
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156990052260883/?t=5

Germany is looking up for the #Caribbean, says Patrick Mirbach of DERTOUR, the leading tour operator
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156989669485883/?t=3

You can perfect the art of doing nothing at The Liming Bequia in St. Vincent and The Grenadines, says managing director Norbert Lieder
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156989638155883/?t=15

Martinique is climbing the charts in Germany, which has become its biggest market outside of France, says Pascal Reine-Adelaide of Martinique tourism in Europe
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156989574715883/?t=18

Being chosen as the number 1 sustainable tourism destination in the world means a lot for Discover Guyana, says tourism director Brian Mullis
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156989467070883/?t=22

Fresh photographs of the Caribbean at work at the world’s largest travel trade show.
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/media_set?set=a.10156983128090883&type=3&comment_id=10156987460505883&notif_id=1552049306637790&notif_t=photo_album_comment

Grenada announces a new code share agreement between LIAT and Condor Airlines that makes connections seamless – no need to re-check, no more having to fetch and check in luggage.
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156987430545883/?t=0

Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism minister Charles Fernandez explains why the country is having one of its best seasons and #WhatCoolLooksLike in Antigua & Barbuda.
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156987225785883/?t=27

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett speaks on how Jamaica is ensuring that communities benefit from tourism.
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156986498760883/?t=2

Colin Piper, the CEO of Discover Dominica says his country is emerging from Hurricane Maria with some exciting developments.
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156986479755883/?t=31

Jamaica has had its best winter season ever, says Edmund Bartlett, the Minister of Tourism.
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156986423330883/?t=20

Director general of the Bahamas ministry of tourism Joy Jibrilu talks about the #FlyAway campaign with Lenny Kravitz and rising arrival numbers.
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156986414030883/?t=29

How Curaçao’s master plan to conquer the South American market has led to a surge in arrivals from Colombia, making up for the drying up of Venezuela; and a fresh focus on North America, particularly the US, as explained by new tourist board CEO Paul Pennicook.
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156985054180883/?t=202

The secret to Grenada’s impressive rise in recent times, as revealed by Tourism Minister Dr. Clarice Modeste.
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156985044090883/

And the British Virgin Islands is sailing again, says Gabi Rombert.
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156983272790883/?t=216

In addition, get behind the scenes with us at ITB as we sneak into some of the Caribbean booths where business is taking place.
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156985340965883/?t=11

And, take a quick tour of the Caribbean at ITB Berlin 2019.
https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/videos/10156982865905883/?t=2

 

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News, ITB & WTM

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