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CTO Launches Caribbean Community Tourism Network

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (28 July, 2021) – Tourism product development authorities in the region now have a resource from which to draw when developing their community-based tourism (CBT) programmes.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has launched the Caribbean Community Tourism Network (CCTN) to provide a platform to support the continued development of CBT in the Caribbean. The network will facilitate the exchange of best practices among CTO member countries and interested tourism development partners and help identify capacity-building needs as well as challenges and opportunities for CBT development.

“Community-based tourism offers an opportunity to bridge the social and economic gap of local communities, allows community members a path to sustainable livelihoods, and is a conduit for the active participation and empowerment of local people in the tourism,” said Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism specialist. “This network provides an avenue for CTO members to share knowledge, resources, and best practices to improve community tourism experiences and economic impact.”

Among the functions of the CCTN are the promotion and support of regional development strategies in CBT, providing input into, and recommending activities and actions with a view to enhancing the visibility and value of CBT as a regional tourism product, and the exchange of experiences on national and regional initiatives.

The network is one of the initiatives of the CTO, which has identified CBT as a regional tourism development strategy, and is seeking to optimise its role in  supporting local livelihoods, stimulating entrepreneurship  and community social and economic development, while also creating authentic experiences and unique product offerings for visitors.

Other initiatives include a toolkit for product development, produced in partnership with the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF). The toolkit includes a “how to” guide to assist communities and entrepreneurs develop profitable CBT experiences and enterprises, with information on product development, pricing, marketing and creating business plans. It also includes guidelines and templates to support experience design and product enhancement and a tool to measures communities’ capacity and CBT states of readiness.

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Guardedly Optimistic about Summer Travel

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (20 July, 2020) –  With the 2021 summer season under way, there is increasing evidence in the marketplace that pent-up demand is roaring back much earlier and at a much quicker pace than forecasters had predicted. At the same time, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is encouraged by the data from our member countries, who have worked tirelessly to contain the coronavirus and reopen their economies.

Although on the surface, a 60 per cent decline in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the same period last year, may not seem encouraging, a closer examination would suggest that the Caribbean is beginning to reverse the slide which began at the end of March 2020.

This is being demonstrated by a decrease in the levels of decline which the Caribbean has been recording for the past fifteen months. The first quarter of 2020 was the last period of regular levels of travel, when 7.3 million international overnight visitors (tourist arrivals) visited the region. In January and February 2021, arrivals to the region declined by just over  71 per cent when compared to the same two months last year. However, the 16.5 per cent drop in March 2021 compared to March 2020 is an indication of a level of reversal of the trend of declining numbers of tourist arrivals.

The data collected from twelve destinations reporting tourist arrivals for April 2021 shows that each of these destinations registered growth, when compared to April 2020, when tourism activity was curtailed globally. Similarly, tourist arrivals bounced back in the destinations reporting data for May. It must be pointed out, however, that the number of stay-over visitors is still below the corresponding levels in 2019.

Recent statements made by key aviation players for whom the Caribbean is an important market, have been encouraging. During our recent series of online discussions, both the CEO of British Airways, Sean Doyle, and the VP of sales for the Caribbean at American Airlines, Christine Valls, spoke of the high levels of interest in travel to the region. In fact, Ms. Valls indicated that the Caribbean has been booming for American Airlines, with an average 60 per cent load factor by late May 2021, and that the airline planned to have more daily flights to the region this summer than it did in 2019. American Airlines told the CTO this week that it added five new routes to the Caribbean this summer, with a sixth to be added in November – and will serve 35 destinations in the Caribbean.

Based on these indicators, the CTO is guardedly optimistic about the prospects for summer travel, and for the rest of the year into 2022.

It is recognised that any optimism must be tempered by the fact that new COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in both the UK and the US, two of the Caribbean’s major source markets. These are signs that the virus remains a major threat which can quickly reverse any progress we have made.

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Corporate News

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Skift and CTO to Host Webinar on Recovery of Caribbean Sector, Global Trends

July 14, 2021 (BRIDGETOWN, Barbados) — The Allied Members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) have partnered with leading global business travel outlet Skift to host their first joint webinar, ‘The Trends Driving Travel’s Big Rebound: Implications for the Caribbean’ on Thursday, July 22 at 11 a.m. EST, featuring Skift CEO and Founder Rafat Ali, global tourism reporter Lebawit “Lily” Girma, and host William “Billy” Griffith, Chairman of CTO Allied Members Board.

“The Caribbean is a vital and historic region in global tourism. As travel resumes worldwide, this is the perfect time to kick off an exciting partnership between the CTO and Skift,” said Griffith. “Examining global trends through a regional lens is key to aligning business goals moving forward for tourism professionals throughout the Caribbean.”

Consisting of industry stakeholders in the Caribbean region, the Allied Members of the CTO are the non-government members of the organization, representing a range of businesses and other entities with interest in the Caribbean tourism sector. Viewers are invited to this discussion covering the recovery of the Caribbean, where speakers will dissect global travel trends and place them in a Caribbean context. The webinar will cover how the pandemic has impacted and shaped Caribbean recovery, including:

  • Identification of the main travel marketing cohorts post-pandemic
  • New innovations, subscription travel, and their benefits
  • Impact of the short-term rental market on local tourism
  • The rising costs of travel
  • Climate change and its influence on business travel

Speakers:

Rafat Ali is the CEO/founder of Skift, the most influential business media company in global travel, providing news, research, events, and marketing services. Previously, he was the founder/CEO of paidContent and ContentNext, which he sold to UK’s Guardian News and Media in 2008, and left in 2010. Prior to that, he was managing editor of Silicon Alley Reporter. Rafat was the Knight Fellow at Indiana University, where he completed his Masters in Journalism, 1999-2000. Prior to that, he completed his BSc in Computer Engineering, from AMU in Aligarh, India.

Lebawit Lily Girma is Skift’s global tourism reporter. Prior to joining Skift, Lily built a distinguished career as an award-winning travel journalist focused on sustainable tourism and the Caribbean region. In addition to Skift, her work has been published and referenced in major outlets, including BBC, CNN, Washington Post, and Travel and Leisure, among others. In 2020, Forbes featured Lily as one of “15 Black Travel Writers to Read Now, and she is also a recipient of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Marcia Vickery Wallace award for excellence in travel journalism.

To register please visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TMSAO0mkQe6PlVG5EIaBMA

 About Skift:

Skift is the most influential business media and marketing company in global travel, providing news, research, live events and marketing services to all sectors of the world’s largest industry. Skift identifies and synthesizes existing and emerging trends in its daily coverage of the global travel industry and through its Skift Research  practice. Skift also produces Skift Global Forum annually to bring together the biggest CEOs and the most influential professionals in the travel industry to discuss the future of travel.

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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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