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Social Enterprise Award Added to the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Awards Programme

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (27 March 2019) – Caribbean enterprises that act as social change agents through tourism innovation will be recognised by the region’s tourism development agency.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is this year introducing the Tourism Social Enterprise award to its sustainable tourism awards programme to demonstrate in a tangible way its support for businesses or individuals that use creative ways to show how tourism can support societal development.

“Social entrepreneurship is exemplified when an enterprise’s core business activity has positive spin-off benefits to solve or bridge community-based problems. This business development approach is highly progressive and one which the CTO seeks to promote, as it focuses on creating positive changes in society through innovation,” says Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism development specialist.

“The award will recognise and validate the efforts and contribution of business ventures that are making a dedicated and tangible commitment to community development as an expression of their corporate social responsibility policy. It seeks to identify entities that are not just in the business of tourism, but rather those that have gone further to leverage tourism as a strategic means of addressing distinctive challenges faced by people in society,” Charles adds.

This Social Enterprise award is being introduced in collaboration with the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility – a partnership between the Caribbean Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Government of Canada and the UK Department for International Development – which supports innovative and practical solutions that stimulate economic growth and increase productivity in micro small and medium enterprises.

The new award is open to public and private sector entities, tourism enterprises, communities or individuals that seek to address specific social ills and unmet needs while generating widespread benefits from tourism business activities via tourism business activities. It is one of eight categories of awards to be presented at the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Conference scheduled to be held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in August.

 Applicants may also submit entries the following categories:

  • Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award
  • Destination Stewardship Award
  • Sustainable Accommodation Award
  • Community Benefit Award
  • Culture and Heritage Protection Award
  • Nature Conservation Award
  • Agro-Tourism Award

The closing date for receipt of applications is 16 June, 2019. For more information, including entry guidelines click on the following link: https://ctostawards2019.pgtb.me/rTV0cJ.

CTO’s sustainable tourism awards programme has been in existence for 15 years and recognises unique and innovative tourism products that embrace sustainable tourism concepts and core values, and help to enhance tourism product offerings. A panel of experts selected by the CTO, representing various sectors of the tourism industry at the national, regional and international levels, will judge the awards.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Caribbean Tourism on the Upswing

~ CTO projects 6-7 per cent growth in 2019 following better-than-predicted performance last year ~

CTO’s director of research (ag) Ryan Skeete addresses this morning’s news conference

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (13 Feb. 2019) – The Caribbean tourism sector is projected to record strong growth in 2019 on the heels of a stronger-than-expected performance last year.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the authority on regional tourism statistics and performance, is forecasting 6-7 per cent growth this year, continuing an upward trend which began last September.

“We are projecting that tourist arrivals will increase by between six and seven per cent in 2019, as the damaged infrastructure in the hurricane-impacted destinations returns to capacity. Similarly, cruise arrivals should expand by a further four per cent to five per cent,” Ryan Skeete the CTO’s acting director of research revealed at the Caribbean Tourism Performance Review news conference at the CTO’s headquarters this morning.

Skeete did caution of possible “significant headwinds to navigate”, including the outcome of the Brexit negotiations in the UK, the on-going trade war between the United States and China and potential extreme weather events in the destinations and marketplaces.

Still, he said, with global demand for international travel expected to remain strong, underpinned by healthy economic activity, and with improved air connectivity helping to boost arrivals, the outlook for Caribbean tourism in 2019 was cautiously optimistic.

The CTO research director revealed that a robust 9.8 per cent growth during the September to December period last year, led to a stronger-than-projected performance. It was a significant turnaround from the previous eight months of decline.

“Even the destinations that were severely impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, despite registering overall double-digit declines last year, experienced a significant turnaround during the last four months, registering triple-digit increases during this period,” Skeete told the briefing, which was streamed ‘live’ to an international audience.

The 29.9 million tourist visits in 2018 represented the second highest number of visitors to the Caribbean on record, surpassed only by the 30.6 million who visited in 2017. And while this represented a 2.3 per cent decline overall, it was better that the anticipated three per cent to four per cent fall-off.

“With a strong performance during the last four months of 2018, including a robust showing by countries impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, the evidence suggests that Caribbean tourism is on the upswing,” Skeete declared.

According to information compiled from CTO member countries, Canada was the strongest performing market – its 3.9 million visits represented a 5.7 per cent rise. The intra-Caribbean market had its best performance ever, reaching two million visitors, while South America produced 1.9 million tourist visits, representing a 3.6 per cent increase. Arrivals from Europe grew by a modest 1.3 per cent, with UK arrivals remaining flat at an estimated 1.3 million.

However, the United States, which remains the region’s leading market, was down, with the 13.9 million American tourist visits representing a 6.3 per cent fall. This was due mainly to steep declines in arrivals to popular destinations impacted by the hurricanes, such as Puerto Rico, which was down by 45.6 per cent, and St. Maarten, which fell by 79 per cent.

This notwithstanding, there was a healthy 28 per cent rise in arrivals from the US in the fourth quarter, reflecting the strong turnaround during this period.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Endorses Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (4 Feb. 2019) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has reiterated its strong support for the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre which was officially launched in Jamaica last week.

In a brief message endorsing the project led by Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, the CTO Chairman Dominic Fedee stressed the challenges the Caribbean region faces in recovering from natural disasters and the lasting effects of such adversities. The resilience centre, he said, will play a hugely important role in helping the region to recover from such crises, and to thrive.

The centre, which is being housed at the University of the West Indies, Mona, is being designed to help vulnerable states across the world to recover quickly from natural disasters. It will specifically target destination preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions and/or crises that threaten economies and livelihoods globally, with real time data and effective communication.

In emphasizing the timeliness of the centre, the CTO chairman referred to a study by the World Bank which found that disasters impact gross domestic product in developing states at a rate 20 times higher than in industrialised nations, causing greater disruption and severe consequences for vulnerable members of society.

He said the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre would ensure that the region would continue to benefit from the economic, social, cultural, and historic value of tourism, which is its primary income earner.

“A lot has been said about the environmental challenges that hurricanes present but they are perhaps the single largest threats to our economies. The Caribbean Development Bank did a study years ago which showed that a large portion of the debt on the books of member countries is due to borrowing to rebuild infrastructure ravaged by storms and hurricanes.

“This has resulted in a high debt-to-GDP ratio in various member countries and consequently a serious constraint to growth. So our vulnerability to hurricanes and extreme weather conditions have a debilitating effect on natural disasters,” the CTO chairman stressed.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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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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