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CTO Secretary-General Receives 2023 CMEX Leadership Award

MIAMI (December 5, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is exceedingly proud to announce that Secretary-General and CEO Dona Regis-Prosper has been honored by the Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) with its 2023 Leadership Award.

At the awards luncheon and fundraising event, held on Saturday, December 2, 2023, Regis-Prosper was celebrated for more than two decades of leadership in a broad range of tourism- and hospitality-related positions, including being selected as the first female to lead the CTO, which serves as the tourism development agency for the Caribbean region.

Over the past nine years, Regis-Prosper has deftly overseen the management of new organizations as well as projects in several islands and territories, elevating their prominence in the Caribbean tourism landscape.

Her career has included roles as Director of Marketing and Product Development at the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority, which she helped to transform into a more service-oriented organization while developing a customer service culture at the destination’s port facilities; Director of Business Development for Margaritaville Caribbean Group in Jamaica; CEO of the Tortola Pier Park in the British Virgin Islands, where she was responsible for the launch of the new cruise and shopping center facilities; and General Manager of the Antigua Cruise Port, overseeing the launch of the facility.

Joining Regis-Prosper in being honored at the 2023 CMEx Leadership Awards and Fundraiser, held at the Loews Coral Gables Hotel in Miami this past weekend, were individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the Caribbean tourism, hospitality and communications sectors, including:

  • Ewald Biemans, Owner/CEO, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba
  • Rosa Harris, Director, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, and Chairman, CTO Board of Directors
  • Stan Hartling, Owner and CEO, The Hartling Group
  • Joy Jibrilu, CEO, Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board
  • Nicola Madden-Greig, OD, President, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association
  • Pat Montague, President/CEO, Pat Montague Marketing & Promotions
  • Beverly Nicolson-Doty, CEO, Figment Design and former CTO Chairman
  • Kevin O’Reggio, Strategic Account Director of Global Sales, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
  • Michele Paige, CEO, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association
  • Julian Rogers MBE, Founder, MEDIAROGERS GROUP

Reflecting upon the day’s events, Regis-Prosper stated: “Today, I was filled with immense pride as I received the 2023 Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) Leadership Award in Miami. I am truly humbled to be recognized among a group of distinguished professionals who are working collaboratively to shape the future of Caribbean communications, tourism and hospitality. This event not only celebrated our achievements but also fostered deeper connections and ignited new conversations as we rally around the Caribbean.”

Regis-Prosper’s determined commitment to strategic planning, business development, policy formulation and implementation initiatives, and the development and execution of innovative strategies to enhance the competitiveness of Caribbean tourism on a global scale represent the core values of progress and sustainability for which CMEx is known.

CMEx was established to facilitate the exchange of best practices among communicators in the media and members of the public and private sectors, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations, academia, community groups, and the youth.

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CTO Chairman Wants Stronger Partnerships Between Banks and Small Businesses

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (October 29, 2023) – Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Kenneth Bryan has amplified the pivotal role of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the Caribbean’s economic landscape, highlighting their significance in generating jobs, fostering innovation, and contributing substantially to the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Delivering a profound message at the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) Conference held in Trinidad last week, the Minister of Tourism and Ports for the Cayman Islands called for enhanced bank support for these businesses, noting small business loans account for less than 30 percent of bank loan portfolios across the region.

Video of Minister Bryan:

The theme for this year’s CAB Conference was “Embracing Change and Building Resilience in a Dynamic Environment”. Among its key events was a SME Workshop and Marketplace focused on “Nurturing a Big Business Mindset for Your Small Business Success”. Minister Bryan’s appearance underscores his commitment to bolstering the Caribbean tourism sector and the Cayman Islands’ economic resilience and prosperity.

“Too often, when we think of tourism we think of hotels, cruise ships, and the huge international brands that line our shores. We often forget that it includes thousands of micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) such as the boutique hotels, the local tour operators, restaurants, street vendors, taxi drivers and craft shops that give our region its unique charm and authenticity. These small businesses form the backbone of our economies. They drive innovation, create jobs, and substantively contribute to GDP. They are not only vital for our tourism industries, but instrumental to our region’s development,” he said.

The CTO Chairman shared staggering figures from the Caribbean Development Bank: MSMEs represent 70-85% of Caribbean businesses, contributing 60-70% to GDP. Furthermore, he noted that they account for about 50 percent of total employment, and an impressive 40% of these businesses are woman-owned, emphasizing the sector’s role in fulfilling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

A significant challenge that small businesses face is accessing financing. Minister Bryan argued that while banks often view smaller businesses as riskier investments due to factors like lack of collateral or credit history, their socioeconomic value demands innovative solutions.

The tourism leader said redefining the relationship between banks and small businesses could unlock potential. “This is something that remains high on the agenda of the Caribbean Tourism Organization … because as we continue to support tourism growth, we have to ensure the small businesses (and “Mom and Pop” operations) have the ability to offer the range of authentic products that are needed in the tourism sector,” he said, noting that the inter-regional body has been advocating for greater access to financing and grants for small businesses.

He also spotlighted the Visitor Experience Development Grant (VEDG) in the Cayman Islands, designed to amplify the visitor experience by investing in start-ups that spotlight Caymanian culture. Minister Bryan believes similar initiatives, coupled with partnerships between small businesses and banks, can fortify the Caribbean’s tourism sector.

“The banking sector has immense opportunities to re-imagine and change the narrative between themselves and small businesses by recognizing that the small business sector presents significant business opportunities. This transformation, however, requires a shift in mindset and a commitment to embrace innovation, and collaboratively working together to forge new paths. Ones where banks are not seen solely as financial institutions, but also as catalysts for creativity, and partners in the prosperity and business development process,” said Minister Bryan. “If we accept that small businesses are engines of economic growth, employment generators and vehicles of poverty eradication, this then raises the question of what types of initiatives could banks introduce to help small businesses reduce their risk profile and improve their bankability?”

Minister Bryan suggested various initiatives banks could introduce, including supporting internal capacity-building for small businesses through mentorship, sponsoring small business development centers, and funding programs to elevate their competitiveness. He offered the example of the Small Business Development Centre in the Cayman Islands, which is tasked with supporting the holistic development of small businesses.

In closing, Minister Bryan urged all attendees to channel the Caribbean’s signature warm hospitality into their relationships with small businesses, fostering environments where both banking institutions and businesses can thrive symbiotically: “Just as we welcome tourists with open arms to our pristine beaches and vibrant culture, I believe we also need to extend the same warmth and hospitality to our small businesses.”

The CAB Conference serves as a vital platform for leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders to converse and strategize on promoting the growth, stability, and sustainability of the banking industry throughout the Caribbean.

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Grenada to host CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Conference in April

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands (October 16, 2023) – Grenada will play host to the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development to be held from April 22-24, 2024.

Making the announcement via a video recording during the wrap-up press conference following the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) held in the Turks and Caicos Islands last week, Grenada’s Minister of Tourism Lennox Andrews thanked the CTO for selecting the destination to host the important event, which plays a key role in disseminating information and increasing awareness of the CTO’s vision related to sustainable tourism.

“We are honored to host the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Conference in 2024. Grenada’s commitment to sustainable and inclusive tourism aligns perfectly with the conference’s objectives,” said Minister Andrews. “We are dedicated to showcasing the transformative power of sustainable tourism and its role as a push for social and economic growth and environmental stewardship throughout the Caribbean.”

Minister Andrews noted that he and his tourism colleagues will be honored to welcome regional and international industry stakeholders and other interested parties to participate in conference discussions and to experience the warm hospitality of the “Spice Island”.

The Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development was last held in 2019 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We are excited about presenting the Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development in Grenada next April. This conference underscores the CTO’s commitment to advancing sustainable tourism policies and practices in the Caribbean. Grenada’s natural beauty and dedication to sustainable tourism make it an ideal host, and we look forward to engaging in fruitful discussions with our colleagues in the industry,” said CTO Chairman Kenneth Bryan.

The conference examines how member states can design and implement sustainable tourism policies and programs, offering a regional forum for information exchange on the successes and pitfalls of national, regional and international initiatives.

Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22, 2024, the opening day of the conference, under the theme “Planet vs. Plastics”.

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CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference Opens in Turks and Caicos

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos (October 10, 2023) – After a hiatus of five years, the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) flagship event, the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) is set to kick off tomorrow at The Shore Club in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Bringing together government and private sector tourism leaders from its member nations under the theme “Invest. Innovate. Inspire – A New Model for Caribbean Tourism Growth”, SOTIC provides stakeholders a unique opportunity to collaboratively examine tourism investment and financing in the Caribbean.

Presiding over the conference for the first time, Dona Regis-Prosper, Secretary-General and CEO of the intergovernmental body, invited delegates to share their perspectives on how best to invigorate the Caribbean tourism industry and establish efficient frameworks for prosperous public-private partnerships during the two-day conference, which follows two days of destination briefings for members of the media and business meetings.

“Tourism Investment and Financing in the Caribbean” is the focus for the presentations and panels taking place on Wednesday, October 11, while delegates will explore “Drivers for Caribbean Tourism Growth” as an overarching topic on Thursday, October 12.

Welcoming travel- and tourism-focused journalists from the Caribbean, Latin America, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom as well as local media yesterday, Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands, presented a comprehensive overview of the archipelago’s tourism product, its culture and history, and plans for sustainable development of its lifeblood industry.

Following the Turks and Caicos presentation, invited media received destination briefings and updates from tourism representatives of other CTO member countries and territories in attendance, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Tobago.

Monday’s program also included a meeting of the CTO Executive Committee, while meetings of the CTO Board of Directors and the Council of Tourism Ministers and Commissioners took place on Tuesday.

Presentations and panel discussions at SOTIC will address topics such as Sustainable Financing for Caribbean Tourism; Perspectives on Investment Trends, Partnerships and Maximizing Tourism Growth; Strategies for Positioning Caribbean Tourism for New Investment Opportunities; Sustainability: The New Tool in the Destination Marketing Mix; Aviation Competitiveness in the Caribbean; Digital Transformation in Tourism – a Roadmap for the Caribbean; Engaging the filmed entertainment industry to advance Caribbean tourism: Opportunities and Challenges; and Stakeholders Speak Out on the Path Towards Tourism Growth in the context of the TCI Experience.

The conference agenda also includes a recorded video message from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and a keynote address, which will be delivered by Franz Rojas-Ortuste, Director of Water and Sanitation Analysis Division at CAF – Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean.

In addition to ministers and commissioners of tourism and other related ministries; directors and chief executives of tourism authorities, boards and destination marketing organizations; and members of the media, SOTIC facilitates the participation of regional and international representatives from investment entities, funding institutions, airlines, cruise lines, accommodations providers, property developers, and academia in meaningful discussions around major issues impacting the development of the region’s tourism sector.

The CTO’s popular Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress, which invites students between the ages of 14 and 17 from CTO member countries and territories to research various facets of the tourism sector and share their ideas and vision about future directions for Caribbean tourism, takes place on Friday, October 13, at Beaches Turks and Caicos. Following the student presentations, one youngster will be named Regional Junior Minister of Tourism for 2023-2024, which includes service as a youth ambassador for his or her destination and the region for one year.

SOTIC 2023 concludes with a press conference and wrap-up immediately following the Youth Congress proceedings.

For more information, visit

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), headquartered in Barbados, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency, comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories, including Dutch-, English- and French-speaking, as well as a range 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 organization provides specialized 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; Email:

For more information about the Caribbean Tourism Organization, visit and follow CTO on FacebookXLinkedIn and Instagram to be part of the conversation.

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The Caribbean Should Lead in Sustainable Tourism Development, Declares CTO Secretary-General

BARBADOS (September 27, 2023) – “We believe the Caribbean should lead, and not follow, on investing in a healthy, sustainable, and productive future for the prosperity of our people and our planet,” declared Dona Regis-Prosper, the newly appointed Secretary-General and CEO of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), as she delivered the feature address at a virtual Caribbean forum celebrating World Tourism Day 2023 on Wednesday.

Echoing the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s message this year, Regis-Prosper elaborated on the holistic strategy that focuses on more and better-targeted investments “for people, for planet and for prosperity.” This strategy captures community empowerment, environmentally responsible growth, and equitable wealth creation underpinned by resilience.

Highlighting the urgency of the call to action, the regional tourism chief posed three pivotal questions:

• “How is the Caribbean, the world’s most tourism-dependent region, going to respond to this international call?”

• “How will we contribute our unique experience and expertise to the global discussion on matters such as renewable energy, climate change and carbon neutrality, inclusivity, and the need for economies of scale to increase local linkages and reduce leakages?”

• “How will our leaders in the public, private and nonprofit sectors translate theories into policies and practical applications that allow our communities and our industry to develop more sustainably and more equitably?”

The tourism leader delved into the three foundational pillars underpinning this year’s World Tourism Day theme:

People: Regis-Prosper stressed the need for a focus on people-centered tourism, which requires addressing the Caribbean’s knowledge and skills gap. Affirming the critical importance of interpersonal relationships in tourism, she shared, “Research confirms what those of us in the tourism and travel industry know firsthand – that inter-personal, face-to-face interactions with others play a significant part in the visitor experience.”

Planet: Pointing to the Caribbean’s role as a guardian of fragile ecosystems, she underscored the urgency for “green investments and environmentally conscious practices.” Citing initiatives such as the Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action Project, she emphasized the Caribbean’s commitment to sustainability: “As a global brand, Caribbean tourism must continue to embrace best practices in environmental, social and governance activities that demonstrate our commitment to future generations.”

Prosperity: According to the CTO Secretary-General, the final pillar highlights the need for public-private sector and community collaborations to enhance benefits from tourism. She outlined the need for diversity, equity and inclusion, and cultural respect, stating, “The CTO supports the call of the UNWTO for new and innovative solutions and investments that stimulate and underpin the tourism sector’s growth, productivity and sustainability. It is a call to invest simultaneously in our talented human capital. When our people, our communities and our planet thrive, our industry and our destinations prosper.”

Building on the three S’s of Social Inclusion, Sustainability, and Smart Destinations and Businesses, Regis-Prosper envisions Caribbean tourism led by green growth, which involves green investments, green technologies, and green business practices.

The virtual forum was a combined initiative of the Caribbean Tourism Organization in collaboration with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, the University of the West Indies, the Organization of American States, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Commission, the Caribbean Broadcasting Union, and CTO allied members: the International Institute of Tourism Studies at The George Washington University, and Hibiscus International.

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