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Revamped Caribbean Education Charity Has New Name

NEW YORK, NY (20 June 2019) – Having this year expanded the areas of study for which it would provide financial support, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s education charity now has a new name.

The CTO Foundation, launched in 1989 to assist Caribbean nationals pursuing further studies in tourism/hospitality and language, is now officially the CTO Scholarship Foundation.

“We renamed the foundation to clarify its purpose in the public eye so that everyone will understand that the goal of the foundation is to provide scholarships to Caribbean nationals who are seeking to advance themselves in the various fields associated with tourism in the Caribbean,” said Sylma Brown, director of CTO USA Inc and the foundation’s treasurer.

The CTO Scholarship Foundation is a 501(C)3 approved charity in the United States and “we wanted to ensure that potential donors knew that contributions are tax deductible under U.S. IRS laws,” Brown added.

The CTO Scholarship Foundation has the expressed aim of training and developing future leaders for the Caribbean tourism industry by funding studies in tourism and tourism-related subjects, hospitality and language. Since its inception, the foundation has generated over US$1 million in scholarship funds and has provided over 280 grants and scholarships. The money spent thus far has been raised from various fundraising efforts and through the very generous support of a few major corporations.

All money generated through fundraising is used for scholarships. The foundation is managed by a board of directors, comprising private and public sector individuals, who dedicate their time and talent to support and guide the charity’s efforts.

“We have been providing study grants and scholarships for more than 20 years and are very proud that the CTO Scholarship Foundation has made a difference in the lives of many Caribbean youth and working professionals and their respective families,” said Jacqueline Johnson, CTC, chairperson of the CTO Scholarship Foundation and president of Global Bridal Group.

“As we further the education of Caribbean nationals in the tourism industry we equip them to lead their countries to greater prosperity in the future as tourism is the leading driver of foreign exchange in the region,” Johnson said, adding: “There is nothing more important that one can do today than prepare for tomorrow.”

In order to provide more opportunities for Caribbean nationals pursuing higher education and careers in the tourism industry, the foundation enhanced and expanded its programme earlier this year by introducing scholarships of up to $5000 in public relations and communications; tourism education and human resources development; hotel, resort, and villa development, design and planning; and aviation and air transport technologies. A master’s degree scholarship of no less than US$5,000 is also being offered for studies in tourism-related disciplines, including language, agriculture, fisheries, horticulture, event management, interior design, medical tourism, architecture, sports, culture and heritage, environmental protection and preservation, while study grants of US$2500 are being offered to those seeking to improve their skills in any tourism-related field of study.

Individuals who wish to make a contribution to the CTO Scholarship Foundation can do so via its GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/cto-scholarship-foundation.   Interested corporations should contact Sylma Brown at CTO directly: Tel: (212) 635-9530; E-mail: [email protected].

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News, Scholarship Foundation

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Hugh Riley Retires as CTO Secretary General After Ten Years at the Helm

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (23 April, 2019) – The region’s tourism development agency is to begin the search for a new secretary general to replace the departing Hugh Riley.

Riley, who was appointed to the top post at the Barbados-headquartered Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in August 2009 after acting for a year, has gone on pre-retirement leave ahead of his departure at the end of June this year. The organisation’s director of finance, Neil Walters, will act in the position until a successor is appointed.

The secretary general is the public face and chief spokesperson of the CTO, and provides the organisation with visionary leadership, strong direction and clarity to its policy development. The holder of the post is responsible for implementing the vision of the organisation based on the strategic direction set by the council of ministers and commissioners of tourism and the CTO board of directors.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Names Gilman Figaro as its 2019 Distinguished Caribbean Citizen

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) will present its “Distinguished Caribbean Citizen Award” to Gilman Figaro, founder and chairman of the SUNSHINE Awards, for promoting the Caribbean’s culture around the globe by gripping audiences with exciting and entertaining art forms, including dance, music and poetry.

Figaro will be honoured during the Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards programme which recognises excellence in promoting the Caribbean and honours individuals whose outstanding, passionate and dedicated work has contributed to the development of the region. The esteemed awards dinner takes place on Thursday, 6 June, during Caribbean Week New York, when the Big Apple is captivated with Caribbean flair, pulsating energy and colourful sounds.

“The Caribbean Tourism Organization recognises Gilman Figaro’s drive for promoting Caribbean culture through the creative arts,” said Sylma Brown, Director, CTO-USA. “His untiring hard work, dedication and commitment to positioning the Caribbean as an important region for all art forms are praiseworthy and for that reason we will honour him with the Distinguished Caribbean Citizen Award.”

Figaro was born in Trinidad and migrated to the United States two years after graduating high school. His determination to enhance the integrity and global awareness of Caribbean art forms led him to create the SUNSHINE Awards. This organisation recognises excellence in the performing arts, education, science and sports of the various Caribbean countries.

Always placing a great emphasis on education, Figaro established the SUNSHINE Awards Student Recognition Programme which, annually, recognises and applauds the scholastic achievements of the top students from selected Caribbean island.

Figaro also co-authored “Song for Montserrat“, which brought together an ensemble of 119 top performing artistes from across the Caribbean in a fundraising concert for families in Montserrat who had lost their homes during the volcanic eruption of 1995.

Figaro also scripted and composed the First Annual Indo-Caribbean Music Awards for Jamaica Me Crazy Records for which he adopted a format comparable to the Grammy Awards. He produced and penned the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College’s First Annual Steelband Festival titled “The Pride of the Caribbean,” leading Figaro to subsequently create four shows for well-known pianists, as well as other successful musical endeavours.

Driven by his passion for the Caribbean and its art forms, Figaro has received multiple awards highlighting his dedication to the performing arts, music and Caribbean communities.

 

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Social Enterprise Award Added to the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Awards Programme

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (27 March 2019) – Caribbean enterprises that act as social change agents through tourism innovation will be recognised by the region’s tourism development agency.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is this year introducing the Tourism Social Enterprise award to its sustainable tourism awards programme to demonstrate in a tangible way its support for businesses or individuals that use creative ways to show how tourism can support societal development.

“Social entrepreneurship is exemplified when an enterprise’s core business activity has positive spin-off benefits to solve or bridge community-based problems. This business development approach is highly progressive and one which the CTO seeks to promote, as it focuses on creating positive changes in society through innovation,” says Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism development specialist.

“The award will recognise and validate the efforts and contribution of business ventures that are making a dedicated and tangible commitment to community development as an expression of their corporate social responsibility policy. It seeks to identify entities that are not just in the business of tourism, but rather those that have gone further to leverage tourism as a strategic means of addressing distinctive challenges faced by people in society,” Charles adds.

This Social Enterprise award is being introduced in collaboration with the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility – a partnership between the Caribbean Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Government of Canada and the UK Department for International Development – which supports innovative and practical solutions that stimulate economic growth and increase productivity in micro small and medium enterprises.

The new award is open to public and private sector entities, tourism enterprises, communities or individuals that seek to address specific social ills and unmet needs while generating widespread benefits from tourism business activities via tourism business activities. It is one of eight categories of awards to be presented at the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Conference scheduled to be held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in August.

 Applicants may also submit entries the following categories:

  • Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award
  • Destination Stewardship Award
  • Sustainable Accommodation Award
  • Community Benefit Award
  • Culture and Heritage Protection Award
  • Nature Conservation Award
  • Agro-Tourism Award

The closing date for receipt of applications is 16 June, 2019. For more information, including entry guidelines click on the following link: https://ctostawards2019.pgtb.me/rTV0cJ.

CTO’s sustainable tourism awards programme has been in existence for 15 years and recognises unique and innovative tourism products that embrace sustainable tourism concepts and core values, and help to enhance tourism product offerings. A panel of experts selected by the CTO, representing various sectors of the tourism industry at the national, regional and international levels, will judge the awards.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate 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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Caribbean Tourism on the Upswing

~ CTO projects 6-7 per cent growth in 2019 following better-than-predicted performance last year ~

CTO’s director of research (ag) Ryan Skeete addresses this morning’s news conference

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (13 Feb. 2019) – The Caribbean tourism sector is projected to record strong growth in 2019 on the heels of a stronger-than-expected performance last year.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the authority on regional tourism statistics and performance, is forecasting 6-7 per cent growth this year, continuing an upward trend which began last September.

“We are projecting that tourist arrivals will increase by between six and seven per cent in 2019, as the damaged infrastructure in the hurricane-impacted destinations returns to capacity. Similarly, cruise arrivals should expand by a further four per cent to five per cent,” Ryan Skeete the CTO’s acting director of research revealed at the Caribbean Tourism Performance Review news conference at the CTO’s headquarters this morning.

Skeete did caution of possible “significant headwinds to navigate”, including the outcome of the Brexit negotiations in the UK, the on-going trade war between the United States and China and potential extreme weather events in the destinations and marketplaces.

Still, he said, with global demand for international travel expected to remain strong, underpinned by healthy economic activity, and with improved air connectivity helping to boost arrivals, the outlook for Caribbean tourism in 2019 was cautiously optimistic.

The CTO research director revealed that a robust 9.8 per cent growth during the September to December period last year, led to a stronger-than-projected performance. It was a significant turnaround from the previous eight months of decline.

“Even the destinations that were severely impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, despite registering overall double-digit declines last year, experienced a significant turnaround during the last four months, registering triple-digit increases during this period,” Skeete told the briefing, which was streamed ‘live’ to an international audience.

The 29.9 million tourist visits in 2018 represented the second highest number of visitors to the Caribbean on record, surpassed only by the 30.6 million who visited in 2017. And while this represented a 2.3 per cent decline overall, it was better that the anticipated three per cent to four per cent fall-off.

“With a strong performance during the last four months of 2018, including a robust showing by countries impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, the evidence suggests that Caribbean tourism is on the upswing,” Skeete declared.

According to information compiled from CTO member countries, Canada was the strongest performing market – its 3.9 million visits represented a 5.7 per cent rise. The intra-Caribbean market had its best performance ever, reaching two million visitors, while South America produced 1.9 million tourist visits, representing a 3.6 per cent increase. Arrivals from Europe grew by a modest 1.3 per cent, with UK arrivals remaining flat at an estimated 1.3 million.

However, the United States, which remains the region’s leading market, was down, with the 13.9 million American tourist visits representing a 6.3 per cent fall. This was due mainly to steep declines in arrivals to popular destinations impacted by the hurricanes, such as Puerto Rico, which was down by 45.6 per cent, and St. Maarten, which fell by 79 per cent.

This notwithstanding, there was a healthy 28 per cent rise in arrivals from the US in the fourth quarter, reflecting the strong turnaround during this period.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News

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