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Hotelschool The Hague and CTO Forge Partnership for Sustainable Tourism Innovation

THE HAGUE (May 22, 2024) – Hotelschool The Hague (HTH) and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) have announced a partnership to ignite sustainable practices and innovation across the global tourism landscape. This collaboration expands the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge (SHC) into the Caribbean region, broadening the platform’s reach.

Globally recognized for inspiring students to develop inventive solutions to sustainability challenges in hospitality, SHC is set to bring its impactful competition to the Caribbean. This expansion leverages the region’s unique cultural diversity and perspectives, enriching the competition and sparking new innovative solutions.

Through this collaboration, SHC seeks to create an inclusive space for students worldwide to present their ideas and contribute to the sustainable tourism dialogue. With SHC’s extensive network alongside the CTO’s commitment to positioning the Caribbean as a premier travel destination and its dedication to leading sustainable tourism initiatives, this initiative promises Caribbean students a stage to exhibit their tourism expertise on a global scale.

This collaboration between HTH/SHC and CTO signals the organizations’ shared dedication to driving innovation and sustainability within the hospitality industry. It aims to empower future leaders to foster positive change and build a sustainable legacy for generations to come.

“We are delighted to witness the expansion of the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge into the Caribbean region,” says Paul Griep, Director of Alumni & Industry Relations at Hotelschool The Hague and Founder of SHC.

“Personally, I am thrilled by SHC’s extension into such a culturally rich and diverse region. At SHC, we firmly believe that the best innovations can originate from anyone, anywhere. We aim to offer every student worldwide the opportunity to share their ideas. With its abundance of tourism knowledge, the Caribbean region provides an ideal environment for nurturing innovative solutions. We eagerly anticipate the contributions that students from the Caribbean will bring to the table,” he continued.

“Partnering on such an initiative marks a significant stride for CTO, amplifying our ongoing commitment to fostering the next generation of Caribbean tourism leaders,” said Dona Regis-Prosper, CTO’s Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer. “This collaboration not only reinforces our dedication to engaging future leaders in tourism-related activities but also underscores our alignment with global and regional sustainability initiatives,” she continued.

The CTO leader noted that the organizations are poised to catalyze the development of innovative, resilient, equitable and sustainable tourism products that resonate on a local and global scale.

This new endeavor builds upon CTO’s past and present youth development programs, which include the CTO Student Colloquium, which targets tertiary-level students from the Caribbean, and the CTO Regional Youth Congress for secondary school students between the ages of 14 and 17.

Notably, for the first time, the Caribbean will be represented at the SHC, with a team from the University of the West Indies Mona Campus participating in the semifinals in Miami this week.

About Hotelschool The Hague

Hotelschool The Hague is one of the oldest independent hotel schools in the world, with two campuses, one in The Hague and one in Amsterdam, and more than 2,850 students and 250 employees.

The school offers a four-year Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management, a Fast-Track Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management, a 13-month Master of Business Administration in International Hospitality Management, a Masters in Leading Hotel Transformation, and a Professional Doctorate Program in Leisure, Tourism & Hospitality.

For more information, visit www.hotelschool.nl.

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Key Partners Sign On As Main Sponsors of CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Conference in Grenada

BARBADOS (April 18, 2024) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has secured key industry partners and sponsors for the upcoming Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC 2024), hosted by the CTO in partnership with the Grenada Tourism Authority in Grenada to be held April 22–24.

Partners and sponsors for STC 2024 include LINK Strategic Partners, Little Caribbean NYC, Royal Caribbean International, Silversands Grenada Beach Resort, and Six Senses La Sagesse Grenada Resort.

Airline partners include interCaribbean Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Sponsors of the Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards are the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association, Grenada Investment Development Corporation, International Institute of Tourism Studies at the GW School of Business, and World Sustainable Travel and Hospitality Awards.

Media partners signed up for the conference are Breaking Travel News, Caribbean Broadcasting Union, Caribbean Media Corporation, and Wanderlust.

As a testament to its commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, Royal Caribbean will be staging a series of exclusive events at the conference. This will include a sustainability ship tour and onboard luncheon, the first of its kind at a CTO Regional Conference.

Dona Regis-Prosper, CTO’s Secretary-General and CEO, expressed appreciation for the cruise line’s support, stating, “We are delighted to have Royal Caribbean as a sponsor for our Sustainable Tourism Conference. The company’s commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable tourism perfectly aligns with the objectives of our conference, and we eagerly anticipate showcasing their exemplary practices to our delegates.”

Royal Caribbean will offer an exclusive tour of Explorer of the Seas where delegates will have the unique opportunity to explore the energy efficiency initiatives and industry-leading environmental programs implemented on the vessel. Led by subject matter experts, participants will witness firsthand the intricate operations within the Engine Control Room and gain insights into the diligent waste management sorting processes that occur around-the-clock, 365 days a year.

“Royal Caribbean Group is thrilled to support the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Sustainability Conference,” expressed Wendy McDonald, Regional Vice President, Government Relations, Caribbean, Royal Caribbean Group. “We are keen to foster meaningful collaboration with our destination partners to advance sustainable solutions across the Caribbean that not only preserve our planet but also energize local communities.”

Centered around the theme of The 5 Ps – People, Planet, Prosperity, Purpose and Partnership, STC 2024 aims to address pressing issues facing the Caribbean tourism industry and foster collaboration among stakeholders to promote sustainable development. The conference is poised to deliver impactful discussions and initiatives that will drive positive change within the region’s tourism sector.

For more information about the conference and details on registration, visit caribbeanstc.com.

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Caribbean Destinations Amplify Health and Safety Measures in Preparation for Upcoming Major Events

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (April 7, 2024) – As Caribbean destinations prepare to host major events, including vibrant festivals, carnivals, homecomings, and the highly anticipated International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup, tourism and public health stakeholders call on the region to remain diligent while reaffirming their commitment to health safety measures.

Amidst the excitement of these upcoming events, there is a unified push to recommit to essential health protocols and practices, ensuring the protection of employees and visitors alike. A vital element of this initiative is the expansion of the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s (CARPHA) Tourism Health Information System (THiS) to capture and respond immediately to negative health events. CARPHA is also building capacity in countries to encourage the widespread practice of food safety and to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases in the hospitality sector.

This move builds on a decade of collaboration between health and tourism officials in the Caribbean. The partnership has laid the groundwork for the region’s swift recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic declared by the World Health Organization over four years ago. This collaboration was formed through the Caribbean Tourism and Health Program (THP) in 2014, following a Memorandum of Understanding signed by CARPHA, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

The Caribbean’s successful navigation of the pandemic, marked by one of the lowest per capita COVID-19 rates and among the fastest recoveries worldwide in tourism and the economy, sets a strong foundation for rebuilding its events and group business segments. With groups and events accounting for over 20 percent of the region’s tourism business, ensuring a healthy environment is paramount to its success.

Nicola Madden Greig, President of CHTA, underscored the importance of “cohesive regional cooperation,” which was advanced during the pandemic. She said she had full confidence in the unified public-private sector approach to collaboration: “With the Caribbean being on such a positive growth trajectory, we cannot be complacent, and our efforts must be bolstered by a strong communications approach to continue to protect our residents and visitors while reaping the rewards of our resilient tourism industry.”

Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director of CARPHA, concurred, asserting, “Globally, we are witnessing a resurgence of diseases such as measles, dengue fever, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and noroviruses, while new COVID-19 variants continue to develop. As one of the world’s leading travel destinations, we must remain vigilant to protect our employees and visitors.”

Similarly, CTO’s Secretary General, Dona Regis-Prosper, stressed, “As we continue to welcome visitors to experience the Caribbean’s breathtaking natural beauty and vibrant cultural heritage, we must uphold our commitment to ensuring a healthy environment.”

Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS, shared his commendation of the relaunch and stated, “The OECS is delighted to see the return of major events allowing residents and visitors to share in our authentic experiences, and is pleased to continue its partnership with CARPHA and other regional tourism organizations towards healthier, safer tourism.”

In support of these goals and response to recent health and safety concerns, CARPHA is redoubling its outreach to the tourism industry, offering training, online tools, and resources to enhance health safety protocols.

Dr. Lisa Indar, Director of the Surveillance Disease Prevention and Control Division and Head of the Regional Tourism and Health Program at CARPHA, noted, “This year, we have launched a robust outreach effort to urge all Caribbean tourism-related businesses to renew their commitments to health and safety, refresh their training and protocols, and participate in the highly effective Tourism and Health Information System (THiS), a confidential online knowledge, help center and reporting system, and other CARPHA trainings, all towards advancing a healthier safer tourism product.”

For more information about CARPHA’s training programs and THiS, visit https://carpha.org.

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Caribbean Tourism Experiences Strong Growth in 2023, Recovery to Continue into 2024

Buy the full December 2023 Quarterly Review

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (March 15, 2024) – Continuing its positive recovery trend, Caribbean tourism grew in 2023 with an estimated 14.3% increase in international stay-over arrivals to the region, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has reported.

Delivering the “Caribbean Tourism Performance Review 2023” in Bridgetown today, Dona Regis-Prosper, Secretary-General of the CTO, shared that last year’s growth was in line with CTO’s forecast for the year, and attributed the outcome to sustained demand for outbound travel from the United States – the Caribbean’s main source market, enhanced tourism-related infrastructure within the destinations, the fulfillment of strategic marketing initiatives, and augmented airlift capacity between the region and its source markets, albeit unevenly distributed among the destinations.

The recovery of global tourism has been resilient, despite variability in the regional performances, according to Regis-Prosper, with the Caribbean surpassing pre-pandemic arrivals by a modest 0.8%, outperforming most of the main global regions in terms of recovery.

“Based on preliminary data provided so far by the destinations in the Caribbean, tourist visits were approximately 32.2 million – about four million more than in 2022,” stated Regis-Prosper, who noted that the data showed that each month’s arrivals exceeded those of 2022 thus establishing a continuous growth trend over the past 33 months as tourism steadily rebounded toward pre-pandemic levels.

Arrival levels amongst Caribbean destinations either significantly recovered or moderately exceeded the benchmark numbers of 2019, with 11 destinations, Anguilla, Aruba, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Turks & Caicos Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands performing better than in 2019. The majority of those recovered greater than 50% of their 2019 arrivals. In addition, multiple destinations registered new record levels for tourist arrivals in a single year.

United States and Canada Markets

For the Caribbean, only the U.S. market has fully recovered, while the recovery rates of arrivals from Europe and Canada reached 88.2% and 88.1%, respectively. An estimated 16.3 million stay-over arrivals to the region came from the United States, representing an annual growth rate of 12.7%. The performance here established a new record level of arrivals from this market and surpassed the pre-pandemic arrivals by 4.2%. The performance of the Canadian market resulted in an estimated three million Canadian tourist visits by the end of the year, an increase of 46.1% compared to 2022. Increased air service from major Canadian cities to Caribbean destinations played a pivotal role in driving up visitor numbers.

Europe, Caribbean and South America Markets

Regis-Prosper noted that arrivals from Europe to the Caribbean region were stagnant in 2023. A total of approximately 5.2 million trips originated from the market. In 2023, travel among Caribbean residents to destinations within the region increased by approximately 3.6%, a total of 1.6 million trips, which was 0.3 million more compared to 2022. This also indicated a recovery of 62.5% from pre-pandemic levels. “Despite this positive outcome, intra-regional travel remained expensive due to fragmented air service and reduced air capacity,” said Regis-Prosper. By the end of the year, trips from South America to the region surged by an estimated 14%, totaling 1.7 million trips.

Caribbean Hotel Performance

The Caribbean hotel sector experienced a remarkable turnaround in 2023, including a surge in the establishment of new hotels and resorts. According to STR, throughout the Caribbean, average room occupancy grew to 65.6% in 2023 from 61% in 2022. The average daily rate (ADR) experienced a considerable increase of 11.8% with the region’s ADR reaching US$329.37 while the revenue per available room (RevPAR) jumped 20.2% to US$215.97.

Cruise Tourism Performance

Preliminary data for 2023 showed that Caribbean destinations received an estimated 31.1 million cruise visits, reflecting an increase of 11.3 million visits or 56.8% compared to 2019. This level established a new record for the regional cruise sector, surpassing the previous record of 2019 by 2.4%. Pent-up demand and the resumption of operations drove strong bookings for Caribbean cruises, along with improvements in cruise infrastructure such as larger ships, enhanced facilities, itineraries, and shore excursions.

Projections indicate that the cruise sector will continue its upward track, with an estimated 34.2 million to 35.8 million cruise visits expected in the Caribbean in 2024. This anticipated expansion falls within the range of 10% and 15%.

Remarkable Resilience

Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism, Kenneth Bryan, who also serves as the Cayman Islands’ Minister of Tourism and Ports, noted the remarkable resilience of the tourism industry and its ongoing recovery and growth in 2023. However, he emphasized that the industry and the region will continue to face an array of challenges, including the high cost of travel, ongoing conflicts, heightened geopolitical tensions, and their anticipated impacts, in 2024.

“Caribbean destinations remain adaptable and responsive, and the region is still highly desired by travelers for its safety and diversity of tourism products,” stated Chairman Bryan, adding that the region will also be positively impacted by key developments in 2024, including increased air capacity throughout the year, which will facilitate greater access between the destinations and some of their legacy and emerging markets.

Chairman Bryan also pointed to “intensive strategic marketing initiatives” that are being executed to attract visitors to the region to enjoy its culture and heritage, including its carnivals and festivals.

He noted that the CTO is pleased that the ICC (International Cricket Council) Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 is being hosted in several destinations bringing not only teams but also their loyal followers to the region and further raising awareness and promoting the diverse offerings of Caribbean destinations to global audiences.

“Hence, the Caribbean’s prospects appear highly promising, with more regional destinations poised to either match or surpass the arrival figures recorded in 2019. Anticipated growth is forecast to range between five percent and 10 percent, potentially welcoming between 33.8 million and 35.4 million stay-over tourists,” concluded Chairman Bryan.

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International Women’s Day Message by Dona Regis-Prosper, Secretary-General, CTO

Women’s leadership in the tourism industry is not just about representation; it’s about leveraging and benefiting from diverse perspectives. As we know, diversity builds strength and reinforces sustainability. So, women in leadership is an essential element for any organization seeking to thrive and flourish.

Traditionally, the Caribbean has seen remarkable contributions from women throughout the tourism landscape. Even before more women ascended to higher offices in the tourism sector, they exercised enormous influence on the development of the visitor industry with their valuable, often unrecognized, contributions to the development of modern Caribbean tourism.

Tourism is about people and their wants and needs – areas where women’s sensitivity and experience were often undervalued when compared to the more traditional corporate approaches of the sector’s policy and decision makers. Today women are taking their rightful places at the top tables of our region’s major bread-earner with many destination tourism authorities and ministries now led by women.

But there’s still much to do to ensure women are empowered to lead and innovate. Recognizing and nurturing female talent, providing mentorship, and ensuring equal opportunities are essential steps toward a more inclusive and dynamic tourism sector. Empowering women to become entrepreneurs within the tourism space is a pivotal stride towards enriching the industry with innovative ideas and diverse business models, ensuring a broader spectrum of opportunities and experiences for tourists and stakeholders alike.

I am personally committed to supporting and advocating for women’s leadership and advancement within our vibrant industry. We cannot advance meaningfully without the solid contributions of women.

We also want to do more to leverage our Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress program to cultivate the next generation of women and youth leaders. The talent pool in the Caribbean is so impressive, and we stand to benefit by nurturing and valuing these resources.

There is so much we can do to embrace initiatives that create an inclusive and supportive professional environment for women at all stages of their careers. Setting up a recruitment platform exclusively to attract and train women for higher responsibility or designing mentorship and training programs for women who are returning from maternity breaks or resuming their corporate careers after taking a break are two such examples we ought to explore.

It’s our Day, ladies, so let’s come up with bold ideas and projects which can take shape and be implemented by the next time we celebrate International Women’s Day!

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