Archive for 2019 News

Caribbean Youth to Tackle Issues of Smart Travel at CTO Youth Congress

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (20 Sept. 2019) – Students from 14 Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) member countries will tackle some of the most pertinent issues facing the regional tourism industry at the CTO-organised Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress in Antigua & Barbuda next month.

The ‘Junior Ministers of Tourism’ will present proposals on three topics – Towards Smart Travel Experiences Within The Caribbean Region; Equipping Our Youth To Thrive In A Changing Tourism Environment; and Making Excellence A Habit In Caribbean Tourism.

The students, aged 14 to 17, will do so in the presence of the key decision-makers from CTO-member governments, among other tourism leaders, at the event to be held at the Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa on Friday 4 October.

On the issue of smart travel experiences, students will propose policies or actions which can be implemented by governments to facilitate smart travel experiences at ports of entry. They will also address the quest for habitual service excellence in the tourism industry in order to meet growing expectations on businesses and keep the industry competitive and growing.

In addition, the students will also look at government strategies which can help prepare young people for the changing nature of work brought about by technology.

An Overseas Development Institute 2015 report on ‘Jobs for the Future’ predicts that such jobs “will look dramatically different” from what we are used to. “Fundamental changes in Technology – the ‘digital revolution’ – are breaking down barriers and building new bridges with unprecedented speed. Together with the retirement of the baby boomer generation and rise of the millennials generation [and Generation Z], we see a workforce with new characteristics. Interconnectivity and globalisation are weaving a new economy that connects the world at great speed, creating new powerhouses and threatening traditional models,” the report states.

The gathering, typically a thought-provoking and spirited exchange of views from the youth leaders, will be chaired by last year’s winner, Bryanna Hylton of Jamaica.

The Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress is the final event of a three-day programme of activities organised by the CTO in Antigua and Barbuda. It will follow the members-only Caribbean Tourism Sector Outlook Forum on the morning of Friday 4 October, at which Caribbean tourism policymakers, marketers and other senior officers will engage leaders from the tourism industry that generate business to the region. Both these events will be preceded by the CTO business meetings on 2 and 3 October.

For details on the programme of activities, including how to register for the forum and the youth congress, please visit https://www.onecaribbean.org/events-calendar/october-2019-meetings/.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Makes Initial Monetary Contribution to the Bahamas Recovery Effort

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (19 Sept. 2019) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has made an initial monetary contribution to The Bahamas to assist with its recovery efforts in Abaco and Grand Bahama following the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian earlier this month.

The sum of US$20,000 – monies raised through the CTO Relief Fund (https://bit.ly/2klH17e) – has been transferred to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) of The Bahamas as part of the CTO’s on-going support of the long-term recovery of the affected islands.

The CTO activated its hurricane relief fund immediately after Hurricane Dorian battered the northwestern Bahamian islands of Abacos and Grand Bahama, leaving behind a trail of destruction, over 50 confirmed deaths and many more missing.

“The CTO sincerely thanks those of you who are helping The Bahamas by contributing to the hurricane relief fund. Your assistance goes a long way towards bringing relief to the people of the Abacos and Grand Bahama who suffered gravely from Hurricane Dorian,” said Neil Walters, the CTO’s acting secretary general. “We encourage everyone to continue to contribute to the fund so we can keep assisting those affected. However, it’s important to note that 14 tourist destinations in The Bahamas were unaffected by the storm and we encourage persons planning vacations at this time to show their ultimate support to The Bahamas by visiting at least one of these destinations.”

In addition to the relief fund, the CTO is engaged in other activities to assist The Bahamas as follows:

  • Collaborating with Friends of Culture, a 501C3 organisation in New Orleans, Louisiana, to raise funds at its annual Bayou Bacchanal (Caribbean Carnival), which will be held 2 November in New Orleans
  • Worked with Julie Guaglardi of Zelman Style Interiors to highlight the Bahamas at a fashion show in Times Square, New York during New York Fashion Week, reaching an audience of 100,000

To contribute to the CTO Hurricane Relief Fund please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/hurricane-relief-fund-cto

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CTO Statement on the Passage of Hurricane Dorian

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 3 Sept. 2019- The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) expresses our deepest regret and sadness over the loss of life and damage done to the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island by dangerous category 5 hurricane Dorian.

In the wake of this monstrous storm, we have witnessed the pain of those who lost loved ones, the agony of so many who lost their homes and all their belongings, and the angst of an entire Caribbean concerned for the welfare of the people of these islands.

However, as has been demonstrated so many times in the past, we have weathered many storms, we are a resilient people who refuse to surrender even in the most difficult of times, and we are confident that the people of the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, with the full support of the Islands of the Bahamas and the Caribbean tourism family, will navigate the road to recovery together and emerge stronger.

With the Bahamas being an archipelago with more than 700 islands and cays spread over 100,000 square miles, the greatest impact of Hurricane Dorian is being felt in the northernmost islands of the Abacos and Grand Bahama, while most of the nation has been mostly unaffected.

The CTO offers our full support to the Bahamas. We have activated our Hurricane Relief Fund which has been established to help our people and countries rebuild after disasters. Please visit https://www.gofundme.com/hurricane-relief-fund-cto to donate to the fund. We appreciate your contribution and encourage you to be generous.

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CTO Honours Eight Tourism Entities with Sustainable Tourism Awards at #STC2019

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (30 Aug. 2019) -The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has recognised eight tourism entities from CTO-member countries with its top awards for embracing sustainable tourism principles. The awards were presented on 29 Aug. during CTO’s Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Following a rigorous judging process by an esteemed panel of judges, across various tourism development and related disciplines, the winners for the eight awards were selected out of 38 entries and are as follows:

  • Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award recognises a product or initiative that contributes to a better quality of life in the destination and provides a unique visitor experience. Winner: True Blue Bay Boutique Resort in Grenada.
  • Destination Stewardship Award honours a CTO-member destination that is making solid strides towards sustainable tourism management at the destination level. Winner: Guyana Tourism Authority.
  • Nature Conservation Award commends any group, organisation, tourism business or attraction working towards the protection of natural and/or marine resources. Winner: Kido Foundation in Carriacou, Grenada.
  • Culture and Heritage Protection Award honours a tourism organisation or initiative making a significant contribution to protect and promote heritage. Winner: Maroon and Stringband Music Festival Committee in Carriacou, Grenada.
  • Sustainable Accommodation Award recognises small or medium-sized (less than 400 rooms) tourist accommodation facilities. Winner: Karanmabu Lodge, Guyana
  • Agro-Tourism Award recognises a business that offers an agro-tourism product incorporating elements of food/agriculture production, culinary output and visitor experience. Winner: Copal Tree Lodge, Belize
  • Community Benefit Award honours an entity that manages tourism well for the long-term benefit of the destination, local people and visitors. Winner: Jus’ Sail, Saint Lucia
  • Tourism Social Enterprise, a special award recognising an initiative by an individual or group/association which addresses social problems by applying innovative tourism development ideas. Winner: Richmond Vale Academy, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Sponsors of the Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards include: Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Barbados; International Institute of Tourism Studies, the George Washington University; Massy Stores, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; the Mustique Company Ltd., St. Vincent and the Grenadines; National Properties Ltd., St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission.

“The CTO is pleased to recognise and promote the pioneering sustainability initiatives being implemented in its member countries. The region’s public and private tourism industry stakeholders continue to exhibit a high level of interest and commitment to sustainable tourism development, making the region a world leader in responsible travel and tourism,” said Amanda Charles, CTO’s sustainable tourism specialist.

The Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, otherwise known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (#STC2019), was organised by CTO in partnership with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) and was held 26-29 Aug. 2019 at the Beachcombers Hotel in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines hosted #STC2019 amidst an intensified national thrust towards a greener, more climate-resilient destination, including the construction of a geothermal plant on St. Vincent to complement the country’s hydro and solar energy capacity and the restoration of the Ashton Lagoon in Union Island.

 

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Acting CTO Secretary General Neil Walter’s Remarks for STC-2019

Good morning, everyone. It is with great regret that I am unable to join you today at the official opening of this year’s Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development. Given the arrival of Tropical Storm Dorian I was unable to fly to St. Vincent to participate in person in one of the CTO’s most important conferences, which, given the present climatic circumstances, is very timely.

Despite this hiccup, there are quite a few things for which I am grateful. I am grateful that to date, the impact of the weather has remained minimal and the Caribbean continues to – quite literally – smile through the storm. I am grateful for the technology which has allowed me to have at least a virtual presence at this conference. Most importantly, I am grateful to you, the delegates, who despite the challenges posed by the weather, have decided to attend the conference, which is a testament to your commitment to the development of sustainable tourism in the Caribbean.

We at the CTO would especially like to thank the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for agreeing to host this important event. This event is the first CTO event of its kind being hosted by St. Vincent and the Grenadines and we would like to thank you for your hospitality, especially in the face of the weather conditions earlier this week. We also commend you on your resolve to host the conference given the delay by one day.

It gives me great pleasure to speak to you at the opening of what promises to be a very interesting, thought provoking few days. More importantly, we hope that at the end of this period, the discussions will lead to actions and collaborations which will in turn assist with the reshaping of this industry we rely on for the sustainability of our regional economies.

Indeed, the concept of sustainability, almost unheard of just 30 years ago, has now become a buzz word, as it should. More and more, we realize that this word, hardly spoken in previous generations is now a powerful focal point since it clearly and succinctly defines how we should manage our own lives, in addition to the world around us.

The Caribbean is our slice of the earth, and like everywhere else on this planet, it comes with its own unique blend of natural characteristics. It has sustained life for thousands (maybe millions) of years and continues to do so even as life everywhere becomes more complex. We as custodians have a responsibility to ensure that we contribute to the sustenance of life now and in the future.

It is very instructive that this conference’s theme includes the phrase ‘Keeping the Right Balance’. We must keep at the forefront of our minds the delicate balance between our development as the human race and the changes we have caused in the world around us. In the latter part of the Iron Age in which we now live man has seen exponential levels of mechanical and scientific development. In fact, it is clear that man’s development in the last one hundred years has essentially outpaced the earth’s adaptation to this development. This has led to some dire consequences such as climate change which we face today.

So now, we come to tourism. As the most tourism-dependent region in the world, there is no doubt that tourism is – to a large extent – the region’s economic lifeblood. Millions of our citizens depend on tourism in both direct and indirect ways. In addition to the jobs which have contributed directly to the wellbeing of Caribbean households, tourism has also contributed to the construction of schools and medical facilities, the upgrading of utilities and roads, and has generally improved the quality of life in the region. This has translated, in some cases, to almost phenomenal levels of development in some countries in the last thirty years, especially when compared to the previous thirty years. And, like the global human development versus natural adaptation relationship I referred to earlier, the development of tourism in the Caribbean has at times not been in sync with the environment in which this growth has occurred.

Conferences like this one are very relevant, as they provide platforms for the dissemination of good practices which can, if properly implemented, help to bridge the gap and ensure a symbiotic relationship between the tourism industry and the environment in which it functions.  In this region, like other regions of the world, tourism taps into several different resources, not just the sun, sea and sand. Now more than ever before, visitors are collectors of experiences and not just any experience, but an authentic experience. This places demands on the region’s cultural, heritage, human, financial and natural resources as we seek to refine our tourism product to cater to these ever-expanding needs.

With an industry such as this, which straddles such a wide cross section of our lives while relying on so many of our resources, a sound sustainable framework for tourism is essential, even as we critically examine previous tourism development and look toward the future. As you can imagine, these changes like any other form of change, come at a cost. At this point in time, change is being encouraged when most economies can least afford any additional pull on resources.

The CTO is committed to providing the good practices to its members, which can be used to achieve the ultimate goal of sustainable tourism development.  Our approach has been to seek out ways to bring these good practices using the most contemporary information and methodologies which are available.

The second part of the title phrase: ‘Tourism Development in an Era of Diversification’, recognizes the requirement at this point in tourism development in the Caribbean to embrace our diverse assets. This is especially important as we note that some of our main competition, such as Asian and Pacific tourist destinations, has – to a large extent – built their tourism product from the ground up by embracing their diverse natural and cultural assets. This conference will seek to examine the economic, environmental and socio-cultural pillars of sustainability, thereby offering a holistic approach to addressing the sustainable tourism dynamic.

Sustainable tourism development efforts would not be possible without close collaboration. Consequently, In the implementation of the Sustainable Tourism Development Programme, the CTO partners with various regional and international organizations to enhance inter-sectoral linkages, expand the scope and impact of our initiatives, contribute to capacity-building of the region’s human resources and increase the competitiveness of member destinations.

Two noteworthy initiatives being implemented over the past two years have been the ‘Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry project, funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) through the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme. This initiative has significantly supported the updating of the Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework, the provisioning of training and tools in disaster risk management, and a regional education and awareness campaign to promote sustainability practices.

The Innovation for Tourism Expansion and Diversification project is another pioneering regional initiative being implemented with financial and technical assistance from the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). This initiative, which has a community-based tourism (CBT) focus, will culminate in the provision of a community-based tourism toolkit for Caribbean countries, in-depth primary market research on the demand and willingness to pay for CBT experiences and a project to foster the adoption of digital payments and mobile wallet technologies among Tourism Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

In the execution of its role to support regional tourism development, CTO has a mandate which takes into account the need to maintain product quality, increase profitability, promote the region effectively, engage local populations and strengthen linkages between tourism and other economic sectors. The CTO works collaboratively with its member states and partners to support the development of adequate policies and to implement strategies to maximize potential benefits and opportunities while also mitigating the threats and challenges to the sustainability of Caribbean tourism.

We look forward to continued collaboration beyond this conference. It is our fervent hope that the presentations and discussions enhance the pursuit of sustainable tourism development in the region.

I thank you.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, STC

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