Archive for 2020 News

CTO Produces Multi-Hazard Risk Management Guide for Caribbean Tourism

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (13 Nov. 2020) – Caribbean tourism practitioners and policymakers in the public and private sectors now have a practical tool to help them prepare for, and manage, multiple hazards that pose a risk to the industry.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) – the region’s tourism development agency – has produced the ‘Multi-Hazard Risk Management Guide for the Caribbean Tourism Sector’, which addresses all phases of the disaster management cycle.

The guide provides frameworks, guidelines and strategies, including recommended actions for each of the eight CTO-recognised sub-sectors of tourism: accommodation providers, food and beverage operations, transport services, recreation and entertainment businesses, event and conference facilities and providers of tourism support services, which include the travel trade and national tourism organisations.

“The CTO is highly cognizant of the changing needs of tourism in the region, and through this initiative, we are working to better serve our member countries by providing them with the knowledge and tools to more effectively mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the multiple threats posed by natural and man-made hazards,” said Neil Walters, the CTO’s acting secretary general. “The current COVID-19 crisis emphasises the importance of initiatives such as this one taken by the CTO to aid in successful tourism management and enhance resilience and sustainability.”

In order to help prepare member countries to use the guide effectively, the CTO recently hosted a regional disaster management workshop for 33 public and private sector representatives from member countries whose role includes support for disaster management at the national and/or enterprise level.

A significant outcome of the training – facilitated by international consultant, Evan Green, who finalised the guide –  was that each participant would complete a tourism emergency assessment plan for a tourism business or destination. They were also asked to produce an interim operations strategy which includes messaging to communicate business interruption following a hazard, as part of business continuity planning.

A training-of-trainers workshop was also held for a core group of seven participants from Dominica – the first in a series of such workshops planned in order to create a pool of trainers at the national level.

These exercises formed part of the CTO’s ‘Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry’ project being implemented with funding and technical support to the tune of €460,173 from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), through the African Caribbean Pacific and European Union- funded Natural Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) programme.

“Climate and disaster risks pose serious challenges to the sustainability of the Caribbean tourism industry. The training on the multi-hazard risk management guide is critical to equip key tourism stakeholders with the tools and skills needed to manage these risks. We are pleased to collaborate with CTO and support such an important initiative,” said Dr. Yves Personna, the CDB’s project manager for the NDRM programme.


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CTO Non-Government Members Elect New Board

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (10 Nov. 2020) – A cadre of former Caribbean destination management officials has been elected to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) allied member board of directors by the private sector members of the organization. At its recent election to select a team of five to represent their interests on the CTO board of directors and executive committee, the allied members chose a diverse group, chaired by William “Billy” Griffith, a former CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, now managing director of WCG Consulting Ltd.

“I am honoured to have been elected to represent the allied members of the CTO and represent this diverse group of companies, as its chairman, at this critical stage of our tourism destiny,” said Griffith. “My immediate priority will be to re-energise and increase the membership base, build capacity and work with the executive branch on a cohesive plan to recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19.”

Griffith is one of three new allied members elected to the five-member board. The other two are Seleni Matus, a former director of tourism in Belize, now executive director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies at George Washington University, and Sharon Flax-Brutus, a former director of tourism of the British Virgin Islands, now director and strategist at White Oleander Destinations.

“Strong regional tourism organisations are important now more than ever before. I am delighted to work alongside a great group of regional leaders to assist the Caribbean Tourism Organization and its member states to create new tools and partnerships that will enhance resilience and sustainability of the tourism industry,” said Matus.

“As a director of the allied board I would first like us to help the organisation to regain the confidence of the private sector so that our membership can not only grow but be representative of the various sectors of the tourism industry,” added Flax-Brutus. “I would also like to see increased opportunities for allied members to participate in, and facilitate more, dialogue on how we can all work together for the benefit of Caribbean tourism.”

The new board members will be supported by returning members, Jacqueline Johnson, the CEO of Global Bridal Group and, and Barry Brown, Afar Media’s executive director for the Caribbean. Both have served on the allied board for many years and both have renewed their commitment to supporting the CTO’s objectives.

“I am happy to be a part of the allied board of the CTO. Particularly in these unprecedented times, allieds have an opportunity to rebuild interest and support for this most vibrant organisation as it creates a new vision for the future,” said Brown.

“I am very pleased with the roster of talent available to help with the rebuilding of the organisation during and after the COVID-19 crisis. The pool of skilled tourism practitioners from the region speaks volume about the importance of tourism and the need to ‘build better together,’” said Johnson. “I am delighted to be included in this important roster of professionals.”

Through various activities and events, the allied members utilise their wide roster of professionals and expertise to assist the CTO with its development programme for Caribbean tourism. In consultation with the wider allied membership, the board makes recommendations on regional tourism programmes to the CTO board of directors, identifies opportunities to build the CTO’s non-government membership programme, and coordinates key activities during major CTO events, including the allied marketing conference and networking initiatives for government and allied members.

Elections for the allied board are held every two years for the private sector and non-governmental members of the CTO. This year’s election was held virtually for the first time.

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Caribbean Development Bank Supports CTO’s First-ever Regional Tourism Skills Audit

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (3 Nov. 2020) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with funding support from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is to conduct its first-ever regional skills audit to assess the competencies of the Caribbean tourism workforce.

The main goal of the regional human resource development (RHRD) knowledge and skills audit is to help Caribbean tourism planners and policymakers better understand how to most effectively leverage human resource development for a more innovative and competitive industry, the regional tourism development agency said.

CDB has approved a grant of US$124,625 from its special funds resources to help finance the project. The technical assistance grant came through the micro, small and medium enterprises unit of the bank.

“Given the tourism industry’s significant contribution to economic and social development in the region, it is of vital importance to undertake the skills audit, as it will provide insight and foresight on tourism workforce competencies, as well as skills gaps and imbalances in the tourism sector,” said Neil Walters, the CTO’s acting secretary general.

“We are truly thankful to the CDB for providing the funding for this audit. An audit of this kind is a necessary step in enhancing human resource development in Caribbean tourism, since there is a need to rationalise and streamline skills and knowledge development,” Walters added.

The regional financial institution has supported other CTO projects in the past, including a US$223,312 grant in 2017 for a programme to strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of tourism-related micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in ten CDB borrowing member countries through the Hospitality Assured programme. That same year, it also provided a €460,000 grant to the CTO to implement a project to increase the Caribbean tourism sector’s resilience to natural hazards and climate related risks.

“This audit will provide beneficial data and information to assist planners, strategists, policymakers and tourism human resource managers in more effectively identifying capacity-building needs and developing better targeted interventions,” said Daniel Best, the director of projects department at the CDB.

Among other objectives, the audit will seek to identify the specific leadership and workforce competencies required to meet the current and future needs of the region’s  tourism sector and provide a detailed review of the critical skill sets and resources necessary for the development of a sustainable, high-performing Caribbean tourism workforce. It’s also expected to provide valuable information and recommendations that will assist with the development of policies and better planned interventions related to human capital.

Data obtained from the audit is also expected to contribute to effective human resource planning for the tourism industry in the region by providing a framework for decision-making to guide the development and refinement of tourism education and training programmes by academic and training institutions in order to reduce skills gaps and mismatches.

About the Caribbean Development Bank

The Caribbean Development Bank is a regional financial institution established in 1970 for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs). In addition to the 19 BMCs, CDB’s membership includes four regional non-borrowing members – Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela and five non-regional, non-borrowing members; i.e., Canada, China, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. CDB’s total assets as at December 31, 2019 stood at US$ 3.59 billion (bn). These include US$2.1 bn of Ordinary Capital Resources and US$1.49 bn of Special Funds Resources. The Bank is rated Aa1 Stable with Moody’s, AA+ Stable with Standard & Poor’s and AA+ Stable with FitchRatings. Read more at

 About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which is headquartered in Barbados, 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 organisation provides specialised support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution and research & information technology.

The CTO’s Headquarters is located at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados BB 22026; Tel: (246) 427-5242; Fax: (246) 429-3065; E-mail:;

For more information on the Caribbean Tourism Organization, please visit and follow CTO on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to be part of the conversation.

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Anguilla Expands Vacation Bubble Concept for Phase Two Reopening

The Valley, Anguilla, November 4, 2020 …… Anguilla’s Phase Two reopening to international travelers began on Sunday, November 1st, with the introduction of the vacation bubble concept, designed to allow properties to safely offer their short stay guests access to a variety of approved amenities, services and activities while they stay in place.  These guided movements allow visitors to interact with Anguilla’s exceptional tourism product while limiting their interaction with Anguilla’s population.

“We are pleased to announce that Anguilla’s hospitality product can now reopen in a safe though unprecedented way, subject to inspections and safety protocols designed to protect the health of our visitors and our nation,” said the Hon. Minister of Tourism and Infrastructure, Mr. Haydn Hughes.  “We want everyone to enjoy the Anguilla experience – we invite you to lose the crowd and find yourself,” he continued.

All visitors are welcome in Phase Two, provided that they meet the pre-entry approval requirements.  These include a negative PCR test, taken within 3 – 5 days of arrival; medical insurance that covers the cost of COVID-19 related treatment for 30 days; and payment of fees which vary depending on the proposed length of stay. For information on the pre-entry approval visit Anguilla Tourist Board’s website; a dedicated concierge will guide each applicant through the process.

“We recognize that health and safety concerns are paramount for both our visitors and our guests,” stated the Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Tourism, Mrs. Quincia Gumbs Marie. “In preparation for our Phase Two reopening we have offered free training courses to over 500 tourism employers – from housekeepers to ground transportation and charter boat operators —  and over 100 business establishments have been Safe Environment Certified.   Our Safe Environment Approval has been awarded to a variety of services and activity providers, as we expand the scope of activities and experiences on offer to our visitors.”

Visitors to Anguilla may now indulge in their favorite pastimes – dining out at certified “bubble” restaurants; a round of golf; scuba diving snorkeling kayaking, glass-bottomed boat rides; outdoor yoga, select outdoor and indoor fitness activities; and the ever-popular offshore cay excursions to Sandy Island, Scilly Cay and Prickly Pear,  including private lunches.   Advance reservations are required for all activities, with transportation provided by a certified ground operator.

Travelers’ options for getting to Anguilla will also expand as the island enters Phase Two of its reopening to international travelers.  On November 15th , 2020, the sea shuttle services from the St. Maarten-Anguilla Ferry Terminal, located across from the Princess Juliana Airport (SXM), will once again operate into the Blowing Point Ferry Terminal on Anguilla.  Calypso Chatters, Funtime Charters and GB Express are among the certified and approved companies authorized to resume the 25-minute private and semi-private shuttle services between Sint Maarten and Anguilla.

Many of Anguilla’s marvelous collection of spectacular villas opened in Phase One, and more have come on stream in Phase Two.  Anguilla’s iconic resorts reopen in Phase Two, starting with Belmond Cap Juluca, Frangipani Beach Resort and Tranquility Beach Anguilla on November 1st , They are followed by the CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa on November 14th; the Four Seasons Resort & Residences and the Quintessence Hotel on November 19th; Zemi Beach House, LXR Hotels & Resorts on December 14th; and Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection on December 17th.

Select properties in the Charming Escapes Collection, including Carimar Beach Club, Shoal Bay Villas, Meads Bay Villas and La Vue are also open and accepting guests. The full list of certified and approved properties, which is constantly updated, can be found at the Anguilla Tourist Board website.  A complete list of bars, restaurants, and lively hangouts is also posted on the site, and updated weekly as additional establishments become certified.

To date, there are still no active or suspected cases on the island, and to ensure that this remains the case, the three-testing protocol remains in place.  A negative test result obtained three to five days prior to arrival along with travel health insurance that covers COVID-related treatment is required, and all visitors will be given a PCR test on arrival.  The island has significantly increased its national testing capacity, and test results are available within two hours.  A second test will be administered on day 10 of their visit, for visitors originating from low-risk countries (i.e. where the virus prevalence is less than 0.2%,), and on day 14 for guests arriving from higher-risk countries. Once a negative result is returned after the second test, guests are then free to explore the island.


The following fees apply, payable on receipt of pre-entry approval:


Individual Traveler: US$300

Couple: US$500

Each additional family/group member: US$250 


Individual Traveler: US$400

Couple: US$600

Each additional family/group member: US$250

The fee covers two (2) tests per person and costs associated with the additional public health surveillance and monitoring. 


Individual Traveler: US$ 2,000

Family (4 persons): US$ 3,000

Each additional family/group member: US$ 250


The fee covers two (2) tests per person, costs associated with the additional public health surveillance and monitoring, the cost of extended immigration time/entry and a digital work permit.

Anguilla had only 3 confirmed cases of COVID -19, with no hospitalizations and no fatalities.  The island’s last confirmed case was 7 months ago; in June 2020, Anguilla was categorized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as having “no cases” of COVID-19.   Anguilla currently has the classification of “No Travel Health Notice: Very Low Risk for COVID-19” from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (

For information on Anguilla please visit the official website of the Anguilla Tourist Board:; follow us on Facebook:; Instagram: @Anguilla_Tourism; Twitter: @Anguilla_Trsm, Hashtag: #MyAnguilla.


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Grenada Implementing Strategic Cruise Business Actions

St. George’s, Grenada W.I. – 9th November, 2020 – The Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) is continuing to implement key strategic cruise business actions in preparation for the safe and gradual resumption of the industry. One of these actions is the completion of an Aquila Centre for Cruise Excellence destination readiness workshop for public and private sector cruise teams including the Grenada Ports Authority, Ministry of Health, Customs, Grenreal, Immigration, Local Agents and Tour Operators.

 As part of the workshop (September to October) dubbed ‘How To’, stakeholders completed the five-part series focused on health and safety as well as maintaining the quality of Pure Grenada experiences based on the new way of doing business in the Tourism industry. Some of the major topics included preparing your community to welcome cruise, building an operational plan that adapts with change, reimagining product development and guest experiences, creating a culture of service and delivering wow experiences for cruise lines and guests.

 Nautical Development Manager at the GTA Nikoyan Roberts expressed her appreciation of the stakeholders’ commitment to the program. She further stated, “As a destination we want to deliver “WOW” experiences to cruise guests, while observing the strictest protocols. I believe our team has already visualized what these experiences will look like. We have a small cruise ship SeaDream arriving on November 13 where we can practice and refine our learnings over the coming weeks.” 

CEO of the GTA Patricia Maher was also keen to see that one of the modules delved into having an adaptable cruise operational plan. She further stated, “We’re living in a different time and we have to adapt to the new way of doing business in Tourism. We can offer smaller, more personalized group tours to our many unique experiences on land and at sea. Now is the time to train and prepare to welcome cruise ships back in a safe, efficient, and mutually beneficial way in the year ahead.” 

Team Grenada also participated in recent Seatrade Cruise Global virtual meetings. It was an opportunity for the team to learn about current cruise trends as well as network with cruise decision makers while promoting the global digital health and safety campaign, Pure Grenada Just For You. Grenada’s Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Climate Resilience and the Environment Hon. Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen M.P. featured prominently during the event when she delivered a cruise update interview for Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. 

Coming out of the high level discussions with cruise lines there are opportunities for Grenada to be included in more Southern Caribbean cruise itineraries with home porting in Barbados. Prior to the crisis, our main cruise markets were UK and European guests and now we have the opportunity to target North Americans who can fly to Barbados and sail on shorter cruises to Grenada and beyond in 2021.


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