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New Year’s Message from Hugh Riley, Secretary General, CTO

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (28 December, 2018) – As the Caribbean tourism sector prepares to welcome the New Year, we look forward to 2019 with a sense of optimism, excitement and much hope. We are optimistic because we are seeing signs that the lows which Mother Nature imposed upon us during the latter part of 2017 into 2018 are being reversed. We are excited about our prospects because of the incredible turnaround that we are seeing in the most impacted destinations. And we hopeful that the progress of our member countries and supporters can continue unabated, to maintain the momentum they developed since the storms of 2017 when everyone rolled up their sleeves and got down to work to build an improved and more sustainable product.

We are pleased to report that tourism accommodations are being rebuilt and reopened, airports are receiving their full schedule of flights with the return of airlines in full force and the diverse product offerings within our destinations are being restored.

At the same time, increases in the number of available seats, positive messaging and promotions in the marketplace have enabled the unaffected destinations to register continuous growth. The demand among international visitors is strong and Caribbean nationals have continued their quest to explore and enjoy the pleasures of their neighbouring destinations.

Regarding the cruise sector, most ports have been repaired and cruise calls have already returned to normal levels. Indeed, regional cruise visits grew in each month since May, with the region registering growth of 13.7 per cent during the May to September period and 17.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018.

In October, the region launched a digital awareness campaign “The Rhythm Never Stops” on social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, coinciding with augmented airlift for the 2018/19 tourist winter season. Travel professionals and their clients received the message that the Caribbean is a resilient region with an unstoppable resolve to succeed and to keep on moving in the right direction.

For 2019, the outlook is bright for our destinations. We’re quite excited about declaring 2019 as the “Year of Festivals” in the Caribbean. Simply stated, there’s a rhythm to the region that cannot be replicated anywhere on earth. There’s no escaping the melody of nature, as gentle breezes and free-flowing fronds combine beautifully in perfect harmony; no getting away from the heavenly choruses of tides caressing magnificent world class beaches; no missing the cadence of our conversation, the tempo of our movement.

The Caribbean is a festival of rhythms and a home of festivals – music, art, literary, sailing, lights, food, rum, religious, dance – all with their own attractive rhythms.

The Year of Festivals will focus on the fascinating events that have become an integral part of the Caribbean tourism calendar. Festivals help to energize communities across the region, while giving visitors more reasons to enjoy our destinations.

Despite all there is to celebrate in 2019, we must also approach the New Year with a degree of caution since there’s still much work to be done. While preliminary data from our member countries revealed increased demand for travel to the vast majority of the 24 reporting countries, and despite a 9.1 per cent increase in arrivals in September 2018 when compared to the same month in 2017, overall our performance was still down in 2018. A third quarter decline of 3.2 per cent made this our best quarter, and the rate of tourist arrivals is now expected to slow to -1.0 per cent to -2.0 per cent – a definite sign that the tide is turning. Cruise passenger arrivals are projected to grow at an accelerated rate of around 6 per cent to 7 per cent.

Without doubt, our region is in a stronger position than it was a year ago. We are encouraged by the prospect of even greater collaboration with our partners in the industry, including the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, and a range of travel professionals and industry partners who consistently offer Caribbean holiday experiences to their best clients. Our confidence is buoyed by the progress our region is making to combine its resources to bolster our competitive position internationally. The evidence is clear that a strong, unified Caribbean gives the region a global advantage which individual member-countries on their own have little chance of attaining. The success of our countries rests upon our ability to speak as a region with one strong voice.

On behalf of the CTO Council of ministers and commissioners of tourism, the board of directors, members and staff of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, I thank you for all your commitment, hard work and support in 2018, and wish you a New Year of rich blessings and prosperity.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Declares 2019 ‘The Year of Festivals’ in the Caribbean

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (14 Dec. 2018) – On the heels of the past year’s successful Year of Rejuvenation, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has declared 2019 the Year of Festivals in the Caribbean. Throughout 2019, the region will celebrate the unique rhythm and tempo of each CTO destination.

“The Year of Festivals will focus on the fascinating events that have become an integral part of the Caribbean tourism calendar. Festivals help to energize communities across the region, while giving visitors more reasons to enjoy our destinations,” said Hugh Riley, Secretary General of CTO.

“In addition to providing an opportune time for vacationers to visit, these celebrations also emphasize the unique characteristics that define the many diverse backgrounds and traditions which comprise the Caribbean’s cultural tapestry,” added Riley.

The 2019 Caribbean Year of Festivals will be promoted through social media and traditional media channels and will create opportunities for travellers and vacation planners to share their experiences.

“While each destination is unique and inviting in its own right, the common denominator for all Caribbean societies is a yearning to celebrate life – and each Caribbean country provides a beat that can’t be replicated elsewhere,” said Riley.

“The Year of Festivals will highlight music, art, sailing, lights, food, rum, religious, literary and dance festivals celebrated throughout the region. It’s a theme which can easily be embraced by all CTO member destinations,” Riley noted.

Throughout 2019, the CTO will assist member countries with an assortment of promotional concepts and opportunities which can be implemented around the theme of festivals to appeal to consumers, travel professionals and creators of unique vacation experiences.

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados, offices in New York and London and representation in Canada, 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.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Two Saint Lucians Vie For Caribbean Wellness Ambassador Title

Castries, November 16, 2018 – There is only one week left for voting to propel Saint Lucia’s nominees for the Caribbean Wellness Ambassador into the final round of the contest. Abegail Sandy, Founder of She Naturals Saint Lucia & Grenada and Kestin Greco, a Yoga Teacher, are the two Saint Lucians represented among the twenty candidates vying for the title.

Abegail Sandy’s company, She Naturals, is a hair and skin care company in Saint Lucia and Grenada, which empowers, guides and provides natural products as an alternative to chemical beauty cosmetics and salon services. The company uses local herbs, flowers, vegetables and fruits to produce moisturisers, shampoos, conditioners, skin creams, soaps and other products. The focus of She Naturals is to promote hair and skin health through plant-based options, rather than through traditional chemical methods.

Kestin is a yoga teacher with extensive experience in the field. She gained her Teacher Training Certificate (TTC) from Sivananda Yoga Center and graduated from Yoga Skills school of Kemetic Yoga. Kestin teaches at the Body Holiday – one of the leading wellness resorts on island. She is also active in her community offering home sessions, visiting schools, and hosting conferences that seek to help others nurture their body, mind and soul.

The contest is part of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s (CTO) programme of activities for the Caribbean Year of Wellness & Rejuvenation, which has been featuring people who drive the wellness programmes in CTO member countries. These wellness ambassadors go above and beyond to promote wellness among residents and visitors.

There are two rounds of voting: the first round started on Thursday, November 1, 2018 and will run until 3:59am on Sunday, November 25, 2018.  The top five vote-getters in the first round, will move on to the second voting round which will begin at 12:01 a.m.

Eastern Caribbean Time on Monday, November 26, 2018 and end at 3:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 3, 2018.

The ambassador receiving the highest number of votes in the final round will be named the CTO’s Caribbean Wellness Ambassador of the Year and will receive a trip to Grenada.

Vote now at: https://wellnessambassadors.pgtb.me/kmZdp7

Abegail Sandy

Founder, She Naturals Saint Lucia & Grenada Read more about Abegail here: https://www.flipsnack.com/CTOcommunications/wellness-ambassadors-guide-2018.html?p=40

Kestin Greco

Yoga Teacher Saint Lucia Read more about Kestin here: https://www.flipsnack.com/CTOcommunications/wellness-ambassadors-guide-2018.html?p=38

 

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Caribbean Hotel Programme Wins Best Energy Efficiency Project for 2018

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (14 Nov. 2018) -The Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action Programme (CHENACT), created by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), and the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) to propel the Caribbean hotel sector towards energy efficiency, has won Best Energy Efficiency Project for 2018 at the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) in Miami.

The awards recognize the leaders in the Caribbean energy sector who have made a profound impact on the region’s clean energy development.

CHENACT aims to improve the competitiveness of small and medium sized hotels (less than 400 rooms) in the Caribbean region through improved use of energy with the emphasis on energy efficiency, renewable energy and micro-generation.

Conceptualised in 2009 and completed earlier this year, the initiative has helped over 150 hotels in seven countries receive detailed investment grade energy audits and realize potential savings of 30-50% in energy and up to 50% in water. The project also provided workshops and training tools to hotels.

The programme was a joint venture of the CTO and CHTA Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) and was funded by The Inter American Development Bank (IDB), Centre for Development Enterprise (CDE), German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

CHENACT resources are available on CHTA’s website and www.chenact.com

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The award was accepted by (left to right) Sylma Brown Bramble, Director for the Americas, CTO; Loreto Duffy-Mayers, CHENACT Regional Programme Manager; Christiaan Gischler, Lead Energy Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank; and Frank Comito, CEO and Director General, CHTA

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Wins ‘Favourite Roadshow”

We are really thrilled to be voted as Favourite Roadshow for the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards. Travel agents are exceptionally important partners and it’s critical that we maintain regular contact with them and to keep educating them about the many attractive attributes of the Caribbean so they can keep selling the region.

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CTO Announces the Winners of the 2018 Caribbean Travel Media Awards

London, UK 7 November, 2018: The Caribbean Tourism Organization has announced the winners of the 2018 Caribbean Travel Media Awards. On Monday, 5 November over 60 members of the UK media joined visiting Caribbean Ministers, UK Chapter Members and Caribbean partners at an exclusive networking evening, held at the Fox @Excel, to celebrate the winners and runners up of the ten category awards.

The big winner on the night was Ursula Barzey of Caribbean & Co., who scooped the ‘Best of the Best’ award out of over 130 entries for her consistency in producing outstanding content about the Caribbean. Other award wins for Ursula were in the Best Social Media category for an all-encompassing #NextStopGrenada Campaign; and Best Caribbean Round up for an insightful 10 facts-about-the-Caribbean-region enthusing travellers to refine their travel search.

In the very competitive Best Consumer Feature category, Will Bruton won on all counts for his dazzling account of an authentic sailing holiday in ‘Fall in Love with Antigua’ in *Yachting Monthly.

The award for Best Travel Trade went to Tamara Hinson for an excellent Tobago Nature Tour review in Travel Weekly while the award for Best Online Feature went to Rupert Parker for his quirky and fun story of Mangoes, Food and History in Nevis for metro.co.uk.

Sally Peck picked up the Best National Newspaper award for an enticing ‘Nevis, Me and a Honeymoon for One’, feature in the Telegraph, with Best Regional Newspaper going to Hannah Stephenson for her account of volunteering in Jamaica, published across 40 regional newspapers, including yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk.

Amongst the other accolades were Blogger duo, Yaya and Lloyd of Hand Luggage Only, who won the Best Blog Post award for their captivating stories and images of St. Kitts across their social media platforms entitled Your Essential Guide of Things to do in St Kitts.

The Best Broadcast award was won by *BBC Two’s excellent production of ‘An Island Parish Anguilla – After the Hurricane’ which offered a heart-warming overview of life on the island a year after the hurricane and as the re-building begins. Finally, Best Photojournalism was won by Julianna Barnaby for a ‘Nevis Travel Guide’ Things to do in Nevis featuring brilliant imagery and content in her blog, The Discoveries Of.

Opening the Awards Ceremony Carol Hay said, “The standard of entries this year was extremely high and I was pleased to note such highly engaging and informative articles, digital and non-digital, as well as great video and photography. On behalf of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, I would like to congratulate all the finalists, especially our winners and our 2018 overall winner, Ursula Barzey. Each entry plays its part in raising awareness of the Caribbean as a region, and this year has been no exception. I would also like to thank the Judges for their excellent reviews and scoring and the sponsors who very generously provided the prizes.”

The 2018 Caribbean Travel Media Awards winners, runners-up (2nd and 3rd place respectively) and sponsors were:

Best Travel Trade Feature:
1st place: TAMARA HINSON ‘Tobago Natural Tour’, Travel Weekly
2nd : Laura French (Travel Weekly)
3rd: Andrew Doherty (TTG)
Sponsor: Bahamas Tourist Office-London

Best National Newspaper Feature:
1st place: SALLY PECK, ‘Nevis, me and a honeymoon for one’
2nd : Tamara Hinson (Express Weekend)
3rd: Keith Miller (Telegraph)
Sponsor: Saint Lucia Tourism Authority

Best Regional Newspaper Feature:
1st place: HANNAH STEPHENSON, ‘Here’s to Voluntourism’, PA
2nd: Oxford Mail/Oxford Times
3rd: Nicola Brady, Evening Standard
Sponsor: InterCaribbean

Best Consumer Feature:
1st place: WILL BRUTON, ‘Fall in love with Antigua’, Yachting Monthly
2nd : Vitali Vitaliev, Geographical
3rd: Fred Mawer, Sunday Telegraph and Katie Bowman, Sunday Times Travel Magazine
Sponsor: Discover Dominica Authority

Best Broadcast TV and Radio Feature:
1st place: DONNA CLARKE & CHRIS MITCHELL, An Island Parish Anguilla – After the Hurricane
2nd: Alison Hammond, ITV
3rd: Cathy Bartrop, Travelguru TV
Sponsor: St. Kitts Tourism Authority

Best Online Feature:
1st: RUPERT PARKER, ‘Stunning beaches and bags of culture in Nevis’, Metro.co.uk
2nd: Oliver Smith, Telegraph Online
3rd: Amy Hopkins, Family Traveller
Sponsor: Kuoni

Best Blog Feature:
1st place: LLOYD AND YAYA, ‘The Essential Guide to visiting St. Kitts’, Hand Luggage Only
2nd: Macca Sherifi, Adventurous World
3rd: Terry Lee, LiveShareTravel
Sponsor: Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority

Best Piece of Photojournalism:
1st place: JULIANNA BARNABY, ‘Nevis Travel Guide’,  The Discoveries of
2nd: Andrew & Emily, Along Dusty Roads
3rd: Nick Robertson-Brown, Scubaverse
Sponsor: Tobago Tourism Agency

Best Social Media Campaign:
1st place: URSULA BARZEY, ‘#NextStopGrenada, Caribbean & Co.
2nd: Caroline & Nick Robertson-Brown, Scubaverse
3rd: Heather Cowper, Heather on her travels
Sponsor:  St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourist Office

Best Caribbean Round Up:
1st place: URSULA BARZEY, ‘10 Facts About The Caribbean Region’, Caribbean & Co.
2nd: Heather Cowper, Heather on her travels
and Nigel Tisdall, Telegraph
Sponsor: Caribbean Tourism Organization

About the Caribbean Media Awards
The Caribbean Travel Media Awards celebrate and reward the very best representation of the Caribbean by the media industry in the areas of writing, photography, digital media, broadcast media, publishing and trade. Within each category, points are awarded for the Best representation of the Caribbean as an attractive region to travel to; Best representation of the island featured within the Category; Best promotion of the key USP’s of the island featured within the Category and, finally, Originality of the campaign, article, video or blog.   The 2018 Caribbean Travel Media Awards were reviewed and judged by a panel of 11 Judges, made up of high-profile individuals representing the travel industry and media.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News, Media Awards

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