Archive for 2020 News

CTO Statement for Caribbean Tourism Month 2020, Theme: The Caribbean Awaits

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (2 Nov. 2020) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) joins our member countries, allied and affiliate members and Caribbean tourism interests in celebrating Caribbean Tourism Month in November, reaffirming our value of One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean. This year’s theme is, The Caribbean Awaits.

This theme compliments the region’s success in generally containing the spread of COVID-19 which has taken a major toll on tourism along with other sectors of our economies. Caribbean countries have taken the required steps to protect our citizens and residents, conducted the required training to prepare our tourism and related frontline workers for the return of visitors and put the health protocols in place to reassure our potential visitors and residents that we take their health seriously. This has been the groundwork, and now we seek to rebuild the sector.

We observe this year’s Caribbean Tourism Month with COVID-19 still affecting travel as the Caribbean and the rest of the world continue to await a vaccine. The impact on tourism has been immense – a 57 per cent decline in arrivals during the first six months of 2020, an estimated 50 per cent to 60 per cent fall in visitor spend, and tens of thousands of jobs lost. Those still employed have, in several cases, accepted reductions in working hours and wage cuts.

The resilience of the Caribbean is shown by the progress we have made towards the resumption of tourism activity. Currently, about 25 Caribbean countries have reopened their borders to commercial travel, either fully or partially, and others are putting the necessary measures in place to welcome visitors. This year’s theme further compliments the reopening of our borders, as the clarion call ‘We welcome you’ speaks to the fact that the Caribbean is the perfect place for those who have begun to travel or are thinking of travelling soon, to find solace in a place that is an oasis of health at this time.

The CTO, in conjunction with our members, has planned a number of social media activities in observance of the month. We encourage all of you to participate and to share our hashtag, #TheCaribbeanAwaits.

We cannot rest on our laurels, and we remain cognizant of the toll that COVID-19 has taken, and continues to take on our economies, and importantly, our people. In all of our destinations, we must remain vigilant and constantly adjust to what is probably one of the most dynamic situations any of us will ever face. We hope and pray for recovery; it will be slow, but every step forward is a welcome one.

In the meantime, be assured that whatever your travel plans, the Caribbean awaits.

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Nothing Beats The Bahamas: Country Launches New Extended-Stay Program

NASSAU – October 29, 2020 – The days of daydreaming of paradise from your makeshift home office or classroom are over. The Islands of The Bahamas announced its new Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay (BEATS) program, a one-year residency permit designed to allow professionals and students to pack their laptop and their swimwear as they march to the island rhythm of their own drum, remotely, from The Bahamas.

BEATS applies to those whose workplaces and classrooms have shifted from face-to-face to virtual as COVID-19 has brought unprecedented flexibility to the traditional work from home environment. With 16 islands to choose from and plenty of breathtaking views, visitors can forget about daydreaming about a tropical vacation and start living it.

“What has always been unique about The Bahamas and even more so significant today, is that we are home to 700 islands and cays with 16 unique island destinations viable for travel,” said Joy Jibrilu, Director General of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation. “This means that you can essentially choose your own work, study and play adventure. If you’re seeking serenity and seclusion, you can head to Mayaguana or San Salvador, or if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten path stay, you can opt in for Grand Bahama Island, Eleuthera or Long Island. The opportunities are endless.”

Not only will visitors be encouraged to enjoy the white sand beaches, incredible blue-hued waters and delicious cuisine, but BEATS will also serve as an opportunity to explore and dive deep into the culture of The Bahamas in ways they have not experienced before.

Remote workers can “backpack” their way through the country, island-hopping throughout the length of their stay. More time allows guests to become fully immersed in the beautiful Bahamian culture as they experience the destination in a much deeper way.

Extra-Curricular Activities and “Overtime” Offerings

  • Learn new skills: Head to Long Island, home of Dean’s Blue Hole, the second deepest blue hole in the world, where the learning extends far beyond the classroom at diving school.
  • Outdoor Physical Education: Master the art of bonefishing across the flats of Andros; hike to the top of Cat Island’s Mount Alvernia, which is the highest point in The Bahamas, or snorkel through the shipwrecks of Bimini.
  • Lunch break: Your remote “cafeteria” gets a serious upgrade on New Providence, where the local Fish Fry at Arawak Cay or Potter’s Cay serves the best seafood in town.
  • Sip Sip at Happy Hour: Clock out and clock into happy hour with any of the Bahamian staples, from the Bahama Mama and Goombay Smash cocktails to a refreshing Kalik or Sands beer.
  • Make new friends at “recess”: The swimming pigs, iguanas and nurse sharks on Exuma or the flamingos on Inagua can’t wait to meet you.

“We’re thrilled for travelers to have the opportunity to enjoy a rich Bahamian experience through an extended stay with us,” said Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation. “Simply put, a workday is better in The Bahamas. At the end of a long day of meetings or classes, you will be rewarded with breathtaking sunsets, a relaxing walk on the beach, or fresh conch salad to feed your soul. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

The BEATS permit is valid up to 12 months from the date of issue. The total cost for individual professionals to apply for and obtain a BEATS permit is $1,025, while college students wishing to apply will be required to pay $525, inclusive of the application and permit fee.

For more information on BEATS, please visit To apply to be the WFH envy of your office/classroom, visit

All incoming visitors must follow all current COVID-19 government protocols in place to ensure the safety of visitors and residents of The Bahamas. Know before you go and visit updates for the most up-to-date information

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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Tobago Leverages UNESCO Designation to Boost Tourism Development

SCARBOROUGH Tobago, Wednesday October 28 2020: The Tobago Tourism Agency Limited celebrates the island’s latest achievement of obtaining UNESCO Man and the Biosphere designation, and welcomes the opportunity to leverage this milestone to develop and promote the island’s tourism product.

This programme aims to improve livelihoods in local communities, while safeguarding ecosystems. It promotes innovative approaches to the sustainable development of green and blue economies across the globe, and the improvement of relationships between people and their environments.

Mr. Louis Lewis, Chief Executive Officer at TTAL stated:

“The Man and the Biosphere achievement is a welcome catalyst to spur growth in Tobago’s sustainable tourism development, which is a core focus of the Tobago Tourism Agency. It will undoubtedly auger well for our destination’s international appeal in the new era of travel, and enhances development that aligns with our brand of unspoilt, untouched and undiscovered.”

This international designation strategically aligns with TTAL’s existing environmental programmes which have been instituted in partnership with accredited global bodies. Earlier this month, TTAL acquired Blue Flag pilot status for three of Tobago’s beautiful beaches, and a week prior to that the Agency was featured on Green Key International’s website for their efforts to raise the standard and quality of sustainable products in Tobago.

Commenting on the timeliness of destination Tobago’s latest milestone in light of the ongoing pandemic, TTAL’s Director of Product Development and Destination Management Mr. Narendra Ramgulam, stated:

“This news comes at an ideal time for Tobago, as it presents a beneficial tool for economic recovery in a post-COVID era. Trends indicate that travellers will especially now be seeking out safe and clean destinations. As an approved WTTC ‘Safe Travels’ destination, Tobago has already taken the necessary steps to meet the demands of the traveler of tomorrow, and we welcome this opportunity to further enhance our appeal as an environmentally conscious destination.”

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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First Winter Season 2020 TUI Flight Arrives in Saint Lucia from the UK

CASTRIES, SAINT LUCIA (October 28, 2020) – Tuesday October 27 marked the return of TUI to Saint Lucia. TUI’s winter weekly direct flights from London Gatwick to Hewanorra International Airport will run through to March 2021.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the travel company has flown to the island showing its commitment and confidence in the tourism authorities and people of Saint Lucia. By continuing to manage Covid-19 protocols, Saint Lucia has been included in TUI’s long-haul programme for 2020-21 as one of only three Caribbean destinations featured.

As Saint Lucia continues its phased responsible reopening, 182 passengers and crewmembers from the UK on TUI flight TOM24 were welcomed at 16:10 AST, with a full complement of safety protocols in place including the wearing of masks, screening at a Nurses Station, verification of travel documents and sanitizing of hands and luggage.

“We want to thank our people again for their continued commitment to maintaining our Covid-19 protocols. It’s not an easy task but it’s necessary and is one of the reasons why major travel brands such as TUI support Saint Lucia year after year, even in these most challenging times. Our international visitors have now come to understand the importance of our health measures and checks when they visit us. We know that they choose Saint Lucia because they feel safe and of course they are going to have a great time.” said Minister of Tourism Honourable Dominic Fedee.

The hotels in the TUI programme include:

  • The Royalton
  • Hideaway at Royalton
  • Mystique by Royalton
  • Rendezvous
  • Bay Gardens Hotel
  • Bay Gardens Beach Resort
  • Harbor Club
  • Bel Jou
  • Sugar Beach
  • Starfish
  • The BodyHoliday

A second weekly flight begins from 5th November from Manchester in the UK, serving the North of the country. 

Travellers to Saint Lucia are encouraged to ensure that all travel documents are on hand when at the nurses’ station, immigration, and customs in an effort to expedite screening processes.

For more information about Saint Lucia’s COVID-19 response, all protocols and details of requirements prior to entry, please visit

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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