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Jamaica Firm Selected to Conduct CTO’s Tourism HR Knowledge and Skills Audit

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (9 April, 2021) – A Jamaican firm has been selected by the regional tourism development agency, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), to conduct its first-ever regional skills audit to assess the competencies of the Caribbean tourism workforce.

After a comprehensive process for procuring consultancy services to undertake this project, A-Z Information Jamaica Ltd. was chosen to conduct this critical tourism human resources audit, as the industry seeks to navigate the next phase of Caribbean tourism and strategically plan for its future.

The exercise – funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to the tune of US$124,625 – is aimed at assessing the levels of knowledge and competencies of the Caribbean tourism workforce and identifying future skills needs for the region’s tourism and hospitality industry.

“A- Z is deeply honoured to have been selected to execute this strategically pivotal project in collaboration with the CTO at such an unprecedented moment in the history of our region and people. The convergence of the potentially crippling impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapidly growing effects of climate change present us with a unique opportunity in this regional HR audit of the industry’s current leadership and workforce knowledge, skills and attitudes,” said chief executive officer, Dr. Noel Watson. “We look forward to working together to help define and frame the profile of the creative, innovative and resilient tourism sector leadership and workforce that will help fashion 21st century Caribbean tourism.”

From an initial 12 companies expressing interest in providing consultancy services for the project, the Kingston-based firm was among four finalists invited to submit comprehensive proposals, and ultimately emerged the top-ranked firm.

Backed by a network of employment and labour market researchers, tourism academics and practitioners and strategic human resources planning and development experts, A-Z has a solid regional footing and extensive experience working around the region on various large research focused projects, including labour market needs assessments, workforce strategies and plans, and human resources audits.

The main goal of this project, which begins this month, 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.

Among other objectives, it 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 will 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 and bring about more sustainable synergies.

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Scholarship Foundation Adds Funding For New Studies

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (8 April 2021) – For the first time since its founding 24 years ago, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Scholarship Foundation will this year fund a scholarship for studies in agro/gastronomy-related subjects.

The foundation is this year introducing the Thomas J. Greenan Scholarship, which will provide financial support to Caribbean nationals pursuing qualification in this field or in community-based or sustainable tourism.

The US$5,000 scholarship also includes an internship at Adya Global, an organisation committed to sharing the beauty of the world with all, and in ways that honour and respect the land and people who inhabit it. Adya works to create sustainable and equitable relationships with its partners across the globe that are community-based and focused on agro and gastro production capabilities. Greenan was one of its founders.

“Thomas intimately understood the need to balance the work Adya does with its mission to honour those they partner with. This scholarship will allow Interns to help carry this legacy forward,” said Nalini Tiwari Greenan, Thomas’ partner and co-founder of Adya Global.

The foundation will this year also offer the Audrey Palmer Hawks Memorial Scholarship to Caribbean nationals currently employed in the Caribbean tourism industry seeking to enhance their skills in public relations and/or communications and the CTO Scholarship Foundation/Delta Air Lines Scholarship to Caribbean nationals interested in pursuing studies in aviation or air transport technologies.

Further information about the scholarships, including criteria for qualification, can be found at http://ctofoundation.org. Applications are currently being accepted and the deadline for submitting entries is Friday, 7 May, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. All applications must be submitted online at https://bit.ly/2QWDgoI. Applications will not be accepted via mail, email or fax. The foundation selects individuals who demonstrate high levels of achievement and leadership both within and outside the classroom and who express a strong interest in making a positive contribution to Caribbean tourism.

In addition to Adya Global and Delta Air Lines, the foundation has also received support from Royal Caribbean International and a number of individuals who have contributed via its recently launched GoFundMe page https://gofund.me/6df65df4, which is part of a fundraising drive to fund additional scholarships and study grants.

 

About Caribbean Tourism Organization Scholarship Foundation

The CTO Scholarship Foundation is a 501 (C)(3) entity established in 1997 with the aim of training and developing future leaders for the Caribbean tourism industry by funding studies in tourism and tourism-related subjects, hospitality and language. The objective is to ensure that the brightest and the best are attracted to careers in the sector or in areas that impact tourism, thereby helping to build a Caribbean tourism industry that is globally competitive and sustainable. Since its inception, the foundation has raised over US$1 million in scholarship funds and has provided over 280 grants and scholarships.

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Corporate News, Scholarship Foundation

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CTO, George Washington University Produce COVID-19 Recovery Toolkit and Dashboard

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (29 March, 2021) – As the region’s tourism industry looks to recover from the devastating impact of COVID-19, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has teamed up with one of its allied members to make available practical tools and resources to support tourism industry leaders as they navigate the recovery process.

The CTO has partnered with the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies (GW IITS) to develop a recovery toolkit to provide a useful guide for small and medium-sized tourism enterprises as they plan for their reopening, and a dashboard for ministries and destination management organisations to capture and report on key recovery metrics.

“The global pandemic has accelerated the importance of sound digital strategies for destinations and tourism enterprises. Consumers are increasingly turning to digital channels, as they have been more isolated and less mobile over the past several months,” said Seleni Matus, executive director of the GW IITS. “With time spent online increasing, consumers have more time to look for travel inspiration. Tourism businesses that have established a strong digital presence are better positioned to remain top of mind as tourism begins to rebound.”

The toolkit covers areas such as the effective use of social media, use of online promotion platforms, how the optimise existing online presence and how to use online travel agencies effectively. It was designed to allow the small and medium tourism enterprises (SMTEs) to combine various solutions to ensure their businesses are ready when tourism returns to their destinations.

On the other hand, the dashboard comes with an associated guide that includes a number of data sources that CTO member governments can refer to, several of which are free to access. It is designed to support anyone who works within the travel and tourism industry, including businesses and tourism planners, in making strategic decisions more effectively.

“In the Caribbean, where we are heavily reliant on tourism revenues, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a deep and sustained impact on our economies, lives and well-being. As the region continues through this extended recovery process, it is important for our member countries and tourism stakeholders to equip themselves with the tools they need to meet the challenge ahead,” said Faye Gill, the CTO’s director of membership services, who has worked closely with GW IITS in the production of these resources.

The collaboration between the CTO and GW IITS is an extension of an engagement with CTO member countries Belize and Grenada, which saw GWU Master of Tourism Administration and MBA students working with the government and private sector in both countries to produce customised solutions to support COVID recovery.

Two informational webinars have been organised to sensitise governments, as well as the SMTEs, on how the optimise the implementation and use of each resource. One of these workshops, entitled, Digital Toolkit for Tourism Enterprise Recovery, will be held on Tuesday 12 April at 11:00 a.m. and is open to SMTEs and other stakeholders in CTO member countries.  Registration is required for this free event.

About the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies 

For more than 30 years, the International Institute of Tourism Studies has been a global leader in tourism education, research, and consulting. We are helping to build a sustainable industry that balances visitor interests with destination well-being by providing guidance and support to community development and governance projects around the world. We also offer professional certificate programs in cultural heritage tourism, destination management and event management to prepare the next generation of doers, leaders and thinkers in these growth fields.

For more information on the GW International Institute of Tourism Studies, please visit https://business.gwu.edu/research/IITS and follow GW IITS on Facebook and LinkedIn. 

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: [email protected]

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

 

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Airbnb and the CTO Collaborate to Promote Tourism 2021

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (17 March 2021) – As part of its global efforts to work with governments and tourism agencies to support responsible travel and local economic growth, Airbnb announced its partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to promote its member countries across Airbnb’s vast global community. This collaboration is designed to amplify the Caribbean’s recovery from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic by promoting safe, responsible travel to the region.

As part of this partnership, Airbnb is launching a marketing campaign that includes the rollout of a series of email newsletters and a landing page highlighting the CTO’s member countries and their respective protocols for safe travel during this time. Airbnb has also pledged to share data with the CTO, including travel trends, to facilitate informed marketing decisions during this recovery period.

The promotional landing page for this partnership will be unique to others worldwide. It will integrate 18 countries from the English, French and Dutch Caribbean, promote homes in each destination, and links to each country’s website.

“With the Caribbean continuing to re-open, we’re helping to usher in the safe return of travel to this wonderful region by shining a light on the many places to see and things to do,” stated Carlos Munoz, Airbnb Policy Manager for Central America and the Caribbean. “We’re also excited to promote the important economic impact driven by hosting on Airbnb.”

This partnership is one of the many initiatives in the CTO’s ongoing programme to help its members rebuild tourism in their destinations. “The partnership with Airbnb will help us to promote the region responsibly by providing our members with a platform to showcase their destinations while at the same time highlighting the health safety measures that each has implemented to ensure that visitors can enjoy a safe Caribbean experience during this time,” shared Neil Walters, Acting Secretary-General of the CTO.

This partnership joins previously announced collaborations with organizations, including the Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), the National Parks Foundation and Bermuda Tourism Authority.

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Caribbean Tourism Performance Report 2020

Overview

Across the Caribbean,  the impact of COVID-19 on the travel and tourism industry has been very apparent. The impact was particularly evident during the period of April to about mid -June when there was literally no activity in some of our destinations.

This was characterised by empty hotels and restaurants, deserted attractions, shut borders, laid-off workers, grounded airlines and crippled cruise lines. While we saw some fluctuations in the levels of visitors for the remaining months of the 2020, the influx of visitors has not reached levels even closely comparable to those being experienced prior to March 2020. In fact, some destinations remain closed to visitors, with limited airlift primarily for repatriation of locals and cargo.

Cruise lines plying Caribbean routes remain non-operational due to a  strict ban imposed by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).

With government restrictions both in the Caribbean and globally reducing, and in many cases, preventing travel for large periods of time, the Caribbean had a significant drop in arrivals in 2020, although the region performed better than any other region in world.

Data received from Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) member countries reveal that tourist arrivals to the region in 2020 fell to just over 11 million, a declined of 65.5 per cent when compared to the record 32.0 million tourist visits in 2019. Still, this was better than the world average of 73.9 per cent decline during the same period.

This lower rate of decline in the region can be attributed to two key factors: a significant portion of the Caribbean’s winter season (January to mid-March 2020) saw average levels of tourist arrivals when compared to 2019, and the fact that the main (summer) season in other regions coincided with the period where there was normally very limited international travel.

A period of virtually no tourism began in mid-March – the second quarter was the worst-performing with arrivals down by 97.3 per cent. But tourists began visiting again in June as the sector began to reopen.  Still, the fall-off in stayover arrivals continued through to September – when a gradual reversal began –  and continued right up to December. Destination initiatives such as the long-stay work programmes, other promotional activities and efforts of regional organisations such as the CTO, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Public Health agency, contributed to the gradual rise in arrivals.

Cruise

Like stayover arrivals, cruise was buoyed by the performance in the first three months of 2020, particularly the month of February, when there was a 4.2 per cent rise in visits. However, a 20.1 per cent fall in the first quarter was followed by no activity for the remainder of the year as ships remained non-operational. The overall result was a 72 per cent slide to 8.5 million cruise visits, when compared to the 30 million visits in 2019.

Visitor Expenditure

The limited travel beyond the first two-and-a-half months of the year, resulted in difficulties in compiling visitor expenditure numbers in 2020. However, based on information derived from international partners such as the UNWTO, and the limited reporting by Caribbean countries,  we estimate that across the region visitor expenditure declined by 60 to 80 per cent, in line with the decline in stayover and cruise arrivals.

Preliminary data indicates that the average length of stay for 2020 remained at roughly seven nights, the same as in in 2019.

Forecast

The Caribbean’s performance in 2021 will depend largely on the success of the authorities in the marketplace and the region in combatting, containing and controlling the virus. Already, there are some encouraging signs like the vaccine roll-out taking place in North America, Europe and the Caribbean.

However, this must be tempered by some other factors such as: lockdowns in our key source markets which are expected to continue into the second quarter,  international travel confidence not expected  to pick up until the summer 2021,  a steep fall in the number of people planning to travel abroad and the possible requirement by the authorities in our key markets for their citizens to vaccinate before travelling abroad.

With these factors taken into consideration, our initial forecast is for a 20 per cent rise in arrivals in 2021, with a similar increase in visitor expenditure, when compared to 2020.

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