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Caribbean American Heritage Month 2020 Message by Neil Walters Secretary General (Ag) CTO

From the very first Caribbean-American Heritage Month in 2006, the United States government has given official recognition to the great contributions of people of Caribbean heritage to the fabric of the nation.

This is an acknowledgement of the highest order that Caribbean immigrants, including those born in, or cultured by, the Caribbean, have had a highly positive impact on the United States. From the Nevis-born Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers, through to today, the contributions of Caribbean immigrants and their descendants to United States law, culture, politics, medicine, education, media and all walks of life have been immeasurable.

Caribbean American Heritage Month is meant to celebrate these contributions while serving as a reminder that the United States would not have been as great a country as it is without its diversity.

Of course, we cannot and ought not forget the contribution of Barbara Lee, the congresswoman from California, who in 2005 introduced the resolution to establish a Caribbean-American Heritage Month, giving official recognition to the region’s contribution to the development of the United States. The senate passed the resolution in February 2006 and President George W. Bush issued the proclamation on 6 June, 2006.

The month of June has since become the period during which every Caribbean immigrant, as well as those of us who live in the Caribbean, unite in our proud display of all that make us among the most creative, productive, vibrant, warm and welcoming people in the world. It’s also when the Caribbean Tourism Organization would take this vibrant energy and diversity to New York during Caribbean Week New York.

However, this year is different. This year we observe Caribbean American Heritage Month during what is one of the most difficult periods in our history and that of the world. The COVID-19 pandemic  has placed economies under tremendous strain, ground life as we’ve known it to a virtual halt, and, frankly, forced fundamental changes to all of our lives. And sadly, it has also taken so many lives, including large numbers of our Caribbean brothers and sisters.

We mourn this loss of life and our hearts ache for the families devastated by the loss of their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends.

The CTO also applauds and pays homage to the many Caribbean immigrants who join colleagues on the frontline, selflessly giving of themselves as nurses, doctors and other essential workers in the fight against the virus. You are all in our prayers.

Naturally, Caribbean Week New York has been cancelled due to COVID-19, including our Rum and Rhythm event, which allows the Caribbean Diaspora – our greatest tourism ambassadors and a most trusted and resilient component of the tourism market – and the CTO member countries to celebrate the  rhythms, food and rums of the region, while raising funds to support Caribbean students pursuing studies in tourism and its related subjects.

As we celebrate Americans with roots in the Caribbean this month, the CTO looks forward to our emergence from this pandemic as a much stronger, more determined and more united people whose contribution to home and adopted home cannot be matched.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Statement on the Passing of Dr. Roy Hastick

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Tues. 14 April, 2020) – It is with profound sadness that we learn of the passing of Dr. Roy A. Hastick, a colossus of the Caribbean American business community.

As the founder and chief executive officer of the Caribbean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (CACCI), Dr. Hastick stood tall and proud as a committed soldier of the Caribbean Diaspora in New York City and New York State. His efforts, mostly on limited resources, helped open doors for many people needing assistance.

His mantra, “business networking really works”, proved to be a strategy that served to increase small business development among the Caribbean Diaspora. Perseverance brought his message to the ears of elected officials, corporate businesses and government partners, and from this the people of the Caribbean have benefited.

The number of trade missions he undertook helped increase business investment throughout the region and contributed to the success of the tourism industry in CTO member countries.

While he was known for strengthening Caribbean businesses in New York, the CACCI also assisted during times of crisis in the region. After the hurricanes of 2017, Dr. Hastick gathered his extensive list of contacts in the United States congress, the New York state governor and legislators, other state and city officials and private sector partners to provide emergency assistance.

Dr. Hastick’s ultimate dream was the construction of 255 affordable housing units and the CACCI headquarters/ Caribbean Trade and Cultural Centre in Brooklyn. He dedicated many years to the fulfilment of this dream, and while he did not see it through to its completion, its opening in 2021 will serve as a strong reinforcement to his tireless work to improve the economic well-being of Caribbean-Americans.

He was the first recipient of the CTO’s Distinguished Caribbean Citizen Award in 2018. This award was given for his longstanding commitment to representing the interests of Caribbean people at the city and state levels in New York, his endeavours to strengthen commercial links between the Caribbean and its Diaspora and his recognition of the fact that commerce and investment are naturally intertwined with tourism.

Dr. Hastick will be sorely missed, and his legacy will live forever.

On behalf of staff of the CTO, the council of ministers and commissioners of tourism, the board of directors and Caribbean people everywhere, we express our deepest sympathies to Eda Hastick and his family.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Signs Deal with Global Market Research Firm Euromonitor International

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (23 March. 2020) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has signed an agreement with a leading global market research firm, Euromonitor International, through which members can access additional information to aid in their tourism planning.

The collaboration agreement with the London-based firm will provide member countries with data and insights to identify future trends, statistics and analysis on industries, countries and consumers.

Access to the data from existing and target source markets will be through Euromonitor International’s global market information database, Passport.

“Our partnership with Euromonitor International expands the range of data and research available to our member countries which they can use to inform the development of their national tourism strategies,” said Faye Gill, the CTO’s director, membership services.

As part of the agreement, CTO members will receive access to relevant information about the travel landscape globally, such as market disruptors, latest trends and impactful scenarios like the coronavirus pandemic. Euromonitor International provides high-quality information and expert analysis on factors shaping tourism in different countries and economies.

Caroline Bremner, head of travel research at Euromonitor International, said, “We are delighted to partner with the CTO and help its members build strategies for resilience and sustainability for long-term success.”

The CTO’s move to forge this relationship with Euromonitor International is part of the organisation’s increasing thrust towards the provision of more robust data for decision making and planning.

Euromonitor International is a leading market research company that provides global data for different sectors and industries, including travel and tourism.  The company’s Passport database includes outbound trends, expenditure numbers, socio-economic data and traveller profiles for many of the region’s existing and potential source markets.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Corporate News

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The CTO Partners with International Institute of Tourism Studies to Deliver Professional Certificate Programme to Members

WASHINGTON, DC (3 March. 2020) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) announced a new partnership today with The George Washington University’s International Institute of Tourism Studies that will give CTO members the opportunity to earn a professional certificate in sustainable tourism destination management at a discounted rate.

“The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world, and it also faces unique challenges due to these destinations’ vulnerability to climate change,” says Seleni Matus, executive director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies. “We are delighted to provide this specialised programme to local and regional industry professionals to support sustainable destination management throughout the Caribbean region.”

“The CTO is dedicated to facilitating opportunities for the development of tourism professionals in the Caribbean. We see our partnership with The George Washington University as further strengthening our programming in this critical area.” says Faye Gill, director, membership services at the CTO. “The focus on managing sustainable destinations is also very important, given the significant impact natural and man-made factors have had on the region in recent times.”

The professional certificate in sustainable tourism destination management introduces participants to best practices and current trends in sustainable tourism and destination management. Participants are exposed to the practical tools that lead to successful planning, development, management and marketing of sustainable tourism destinations and businesses. The programme will be offered in three-course sets twice this year and will be delivered online in order to easily reach participants throughout the Caribbean.

Whether participants enrol in a single course or complete the entire certificate programme, participants will have the opportunity to improve their professional standing, expand their industry network, and deepen their understanding of tourism’s ability to contribute to environmental, social and economic goals.

For more information about the professional certificate in sustainable tourism destination management, please visit the programme website or contact [email protected].

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.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Corporate News

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MarryCaribbean.com and CTO Collaborate on the Ultimate Caribbean Honeymoon, Wedding and Romance Guide

New York, NY (January, 14th, 2019) – (www.MarryCaribbean.com) a subsidiary of the Global Bridal Group and the leading online resource for Romance, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons in the Caribbean in  collaboration with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is pleased to announce an exclusive and comprehensive up-to-date E-Zine/E-Book, which will be the categorical source for all information regarding the Caribbean Honeymoon, Weddings and Romance Market.  This will be published across all Social Media Platforms to engage and inform those who seek a destination wedding, honeymoon or just a romantic adventure.  The campaign will be extended through the Fall of 2020 and will live on the Home Pages of MarryCaribbean.com and OneCaribbean.org.

This Ultimate Caribbean Honeymoon, Weddings & Romance Guide, provides the perfect environment to drive the message home for the Romance/wedding and Honeymoon markets. This Guide carries pertinent information on the following destinations, including information on updated Marriage Laws, what to do and where to go on the respective islands of Antigua & Barbuda, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Jamaica, St.Lucia and the three Islands of the United States Virgin Islands – St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.  All with a strong Romance/Wedding/Honeymoon market and where hospitality reigns supreme.

With approximately over 2.2 million marriages per year in the US with expenditure totaling almost US$5 billion, The Caribbean region is the most desirable romance resort destination, and with the wedding/honeymoon/romance market being the ideal generator of emotions, the time is right to position and sell the Caribbean region as a location where “Gossamer Dreams Floating on a Gentle Breeze” can be fully realized.

MarryCaribbean.com is considered the foremost authority on getting married/romance in the Caribbean and was recognized as “The World’s Best Wedding Website” in China.

Posted in: 2020 News, Allied News, Blog, Corporate News

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New Year’s Message from Acting Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (31 Dec. 2019) –If we were to stop and reflect on this year as it comes to a close, we would most likely describe 2019 as a varied year, which both highlighted the strengths in Caribbean tourism and its inherent weaknesses.

The sector’s strengths were evident in the significant growth rates experienced by most Caribbean countries. Despite contraction in some larger destinations, such as Cuba and the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean experienced an overall 6.1% level of growth in visitor arrivals during the first nine months of the year. It is noteworthy that the growth rates of those countries affected by the 2017 hurricanes were substantial, in some cases up to triple-digit levels. This level of recovery speaks volumes about the commitment of the Caribbean to this industry which has become the lifeblood of several countries.

During early September, a portion of the northern Bahamas was ravaged by Hurricane Dorian, a super hurricane which broke many records. The devastation caused was a further wake-up call to us in the region that the climatic changes are here and likely irreversible. It is our responsibility to create resilience not only in the tourism sector, but in all sectors of our economies and by extension all sections of our societies. We continue to commiserate with our brothers and sisters in The Bahamas on the loss of life and property experienced as a result of Dorian.

The cruise sector has also had a strong showing in 2019 with a 5.8% growth rate for the first three quarters. Implicit in this growth of cruise visits is the fact that as occurred in 2018, there has been consistent growth of cruise visits in each quarter of 2019, albeit at rates which are lower than those experienced in 2018.

During the last two months of 2019, we at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) announced that the organization would be going through a process of restructuring. This is currently underway, and it is our intention to emerge from this process with a revised structure which more adequately serves the needs of all our members.

The Caribbean tourism sector is ending 2019 in a position of which all of us can be proud, having seen an overall reversal of the position at the end of 2018. As we look to 2020, we should not rest on our laurels, but continue to work to sustain the growth which was realized this year. At the same time, we must remember that we live in a volatile climatic region which while providing the palate for amazing experiences for our visitors, must always be respected and considered in our planning and development.

In 2020 we continue with the theme of the ‘Year of Festivals’ as we recognized that it was all but impossible for us to fully embrace the rich culture of the Caribbean in one twelve-month span. This year we hope to move even further along the path of integrating our festivals and other cultural events into the tourism product in all our countries. We recognize that not only do these aspects of our individual countries distinguish us from each other, but they also hold significant potential in the quest to attract even more visitors to our shores.

What is also becoming clearer to us is that we have not begun to fully and responsibly harness the power of our culture and heritage in defining who we are, and this is critical as we seek to offer authentic experiences which benefit both the visitor and the communities in which these experiences exist.

Given the results recorded so far in 2019, it is our expectation that 2020 will, all things being equal, be another year of growth, likely at a rate slightly lower for both stayover arrivals and cruise visits. One way that we can arrest the reduction in growth – or even maintain growth at current levels – is to embrace the value of speaking with one voice, ONE CARIBBEAN, to the rest of the world. To this end, it is our expectation that one of the outcomes of the restructuring of the CTO will be a new way of speaking with one voice to the rest of the travelling world, thereby pooling our limited resources to become a stronger force for the maintenance and growth of the market share which the Caribbean, the most tourism-dependent region, values.

On behalf of the CTO Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism, Board of Directors and the staff of the CTO, I want to thank you all for standing with us in 2019 and we look forward to your support in 2020. I wish for a year filled with blessings, growth and prosperity for this region we love.

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters 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 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; Fax: (246) 429-3065; E-mail: [email protected];

The CTO’s London office is located at Suites 52A & 53, 5th Floor AMP House, Dingwall Road, Croydon CR0 2LX, England. Tel: 011 44 208 948 0057; Fax: 011 44 208 948 0067; 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: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News

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