BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 28 May, 2018 – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) offers its congratulations to Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the new Government of Barbados on the historic victory in the May 24 general election. As one of the region’s oldest parliamentary democracies, Barbados continues to break new ground. The CTO wishes the Prime Minister and her Cabinet success and looks forward to welcoming the new Minister of Tourism into our midst. On behalf of our Chairman and Council of Ministers & Commissioners of Tourism, we look forward to further strengthening the long-established relationship between Barbados and the regional tourism sector.
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CTO Honours Top Travel Journalists and Influencers at Expanded Media Awards Ceremony During Caribbean Week New York
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (9 May, 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has announced the finalists for the Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards, an expanded media awards programme which will, for the first time, feature categories for social media influencers and campaigns in recognition of the changing media landscape and increasing relevance of non-traditional media. The winners will be unveiled at an elegant dinner ceremony at the New Yorker Hotel on 7 June during #CaribbeanWeekNewYork2018.
A distinguished panel of media and industry judges were enthusiastic about the quality of work represented at this year’s event. In particular, the expanded programme attracted a significantly greater number of entries for the No Anansi Story! and Me Too! I Rediscovered Home! categories which honour Caribbean-based and Diaspora media, respectively. The number of submissions for the newly introduced social media categories also surpassed expectations. The judges panel indicated that the prestigeous competition attracts a higher calibre of submissions each year.
A contest in which readers can select the winner for the Oh My Word, I Blogged! Best Caribbean Travel Blog Posting will continue to allow voting through 18 May, 2018.
For the remaining categories, the following finalists have been selected:
I Couldn’t Have Written It Better Myself: Best Feature Article in a U.S.-based Consumer Newspaper
- Melanie Reffes: “Cost No Object: Caribbean Vacations for the One Percent” – USA Today
- Jessie Serwer: “Grenada’s Grand Anse May Be the Most Authentic Caribbean Beach” – New York Daily News
- Mark Rogers: “Graze the Grenada Spice Market” – USA Today
Been There, Wrote That: Best Feature Article in a U.S.-based Consumer Magazine
- Charlotte Peterson: “Spring Regatta Spices Things Up” – Sailing Magazine
- Ryan Grim: “What Mangoes Mean to the island of Nevis” – Extra Crispy
- Rosalind Cummings-Yeates: “Home for a Hamilton: Don’t Throw Away Your Shot at Visiting Nevis” – USA Today Go Escape
Inner Circle King/Queen: Best Feature Article in a U.S.-based Trade Publication
- Ed Wetschler: “8 Resorts Whose Kids Programs Teach Real Skills” – Recommend
- Dan Peltier: “Cayman Islands Tests U.S. Meal-Kit Service to Boost its Food Tourism Marketing” – Skift
- Mark A. Thompson: “Stopping to Smell the Flowers at Martinique’s French Coco” – Travel Weekly
Oh Snap! Best Photograph in Conjunction with a Feature Article
- Patrick Dykstra: photo of sperm whale of Dominica accompanying “What’s New in the Caribbean” by Elaine Glusac – The New York Times
- Alex Mustard: photo of schools of silversides accompanying “Keepin’ It Easy: 60 Years on, Grand Cayman Dives are as Spectacular as Ever” by Ted Alan Stedman – Scuba Diving Magazine
- IKenna Douglas: photo for “Photography Takes Centre Stage” – Panache
Golden Mic: Best Feature Broadcast
- Harold Jessurun: “No Small Feat: Displaced Children of Barbuda” – Isla y Vuelta
- Nneka Faison: “Take a Trip to Curacao” – WCVB/WABC Boston
- Darley Newman: “Travels with Darley in Martinique” – Travels with Darley
Virtual Visitor Award: Best Feature in an Online Publication (not including blogs)
- Alexander Britell: “Following Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Bimini” – Caribbean Journal
- Alexander Britell: “Grenada, the Caribbean Capital of Chocolate” – Caribbean Journal
- Lebawit (Lily) Girma: “13 Fun Things to Do in Curacao Right Now” – CNN Travel
Up the Social Ladder: Best Social Media Marketing Campaign by a CTO Member Country
- Saint Lucia – “Let her Inspire You”
- Grenada – “Free to Wander”
- Bahamas – “No Filter”
Look, I’ve Gone Social: Most Outstanding Social Media Coverage of an Event or Activity (by a journalist or influencer)
- Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon and Brian Major: “Get to Know Grenada” – JetSetSarah
- Krista Simmons: “Experiential Offerings in Grenada” – Tastemade Travel
- Yashekia Powell: “Full Travellers Guide to Jamaica Food & Drink Festival” – The World Up Closer
Me Too! I Rediscovered Home! Best Feature by a Diasporan Journalist in U.S. or Caribbean Media
- Dora Isaac Weithers: “St. Kitts: The Little Caribbean Island with Large Tourist Appeal” – HubPages.com
- Kristin Braswell: “Empathy Not Embargoes: The Hypocrisy of the U.S. Cutting Ties with Cuba” – Essence
- Danielle Pointdujour: “4 Reasons to Fall in Love with this Classic Bahamas Resort All Over Again” – Essence.com
No Anansi Story! Best Feature by a Caribbean-based Journalist (that appeared in Caribbean-based media)
- Marie-Claire Williams: “Pilgrimage to the Home of Reggae” – Barbados TODAY
- Catherine Morris: “Families Flock Pirates Cove: Freeport Welcomes First Bahamian Theme Park” – Welcome Bahamas
- Kinisha Correia: “More than Just Beads: Story and Myth” – Panache
CTO assembled a panel of expert media and travel industry judges to review submissions and determine the award-winners, led by head judge Yuriy Boykiv, CEO at Gravity Media, LLC:
- Yuriy Boykiv, CEO at Gravity Media, LLC, was responsible for the entire spectrum of global markets in his previous role driving the growth and business of the for the WorldDirect platform as Director of International Business at DIRECTV
- Tiffany Dowd, Founder and President, Luxe Social Media, advises luxury travel brands on social media marketing and online strategy and was recognized among the “25 Best Luxury Digital Experts To Follow”
- Tony Fraser, veteran journalist with over 40 years of experience, a graduate in journalism, history, sociology, politics and economics, and international affairs, and part-time lecturer in journalism at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus
- Terry Gallagher, President, Lou Hammond Group, New York, and destination marketing leader with over 30 years’ experience planned and implemented strategic campaigns in the travel industry that resulted in award-winning placements
- Mark Edward Harris, award-winning travel/documentary photographer whose work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Forbes Life, Islands, National Geographic Traveler, Playboy, Marie Claire, The New York Times and Vanity Fair
- Andrea Hutchinson, a dynamic public relations expert and freelance events director with a degree in journalism and public relations, and experience in sponsor relations, marketing, logistics and creating strategic alliances on behalf of global brands
- Josh Kahn, a well-respected tourism industry consultant and public relations specialist at award-winning boutique agency KTCpr as well as Immediate Past Chairman for the prestigious New York Chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)
- Norie Quintos, award-winning journalist and Editor at Large for National Geographic Travel Media helping destinations and travel companies find and tell their stories as a consultant on communications strategy, media relations, custom content and messaging
- Ruthanne Terrero, Vice President – Content/Editorial Director at Questex Travel Group, which includes Travel Agent Magazine, Luxury Travel Advisor, American Spa and Hotel Management, among other well-respected titles
Winners will be announced during #CaribbeanWeekNewYork2018 at an elegant awards ceremony and dinner gala on Thursday, 7 June, 2018. Tickets are available for $250 per person or $2,250 for a table seating 10 persons.
Learn more about the awards programme at https://www.onecaribbean.org/caribbean-media-awards-2018/ or visit www.CaribbeanWeek.com to browse events and activities planned throughout #CaribbeanWeekNewYork2018.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (1 May, 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) will officially launch a Regional Tourism Education and Awareness Campaign on 1 May to foster a discussion on climate resilience and sustainability on both the regional and international stage. The initiative is dedicated to the memory of CTO colleague Bonita Morgan, a beloved regional champion of Tourism Education and Human Resource Development prior to her untimely passing.
“The Caribbean tourism product is to a large extent based on the natural environment, and as such CTO and our member countries are committed to safeguarding these resources on which our very lives and livelihoods depend,” said Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the CTO. “Having recently celebrated Earth Day, we are reminded to respect and protect the fragile planetary resources that are critical to maintaining the integrity and economic stability of our countries. Through the Education and Awareness campaign, it is our intention to inspire and empower the regional tourism stakeholders to concerted action,” he added.
The campaign will run for seven months through November 2018 as part of a series of activities delivered in support of the Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry (CSSCTI) Project made possible by funding from the Caribbean Development Bank via the African Caribbean Pacific, European Union, Caribbean Development Bank Natural Disaster Risk Management (ACP-EU-CDB NDRM) in CARIFORUM Countries Programme.
It will be delivered via CTO’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn social media pages, as well as through the Barbados-based CaribVision Television and the http://ourtourism.onecaribbean.org campaign hub. Tourism stakeholders, media and friends of the region are encouraged to share the campaign via the hashtag #TEAC2018. Photo submissions and short videos of Caribbean tourists and tourism ambassadors for inclusion in the campaign are also welcome.
Materials submitted by CTO-member destinations will be utilized during the campaign for monthly features delving into key themes in sustainable tourism development, including:
- The work and role of the CTO in tourism sustainability
- Participating in ‘Sustainable Action Challenges’
- Fun facts about Caribbean tourism and CTO-member destinations
- Climate resilience and disaster management in tourism
- Key players in Caribbean tourism development
- Sharing in the stories of Caribbean people
“Our efforts will continue to focus on advocacy to mitigate negative impacts on our communities and the environment, including to reduce the overall environmental footprint,” Riley noted. “In this regard, we add our voice to the global appeal as we join the international community in supporting the campaign to End Plastic Pollution!”
The Regional Tourism Education and Awareness Campaign is led by the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Division with support from The Youth Project Agency and the Caribbean Media Corporation. Other campaign partners include CTO member countries, digital media company Travelspective, industry partner the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and CTO’s PR agency partner KTCpr. LIAT and Caribbean Airlines will also be engaged to support dissemination and outreach activities.
The Caribbean Tourism Organisation announced the appointment of four new members to its UK Chapter Board of Directors, as well as the full slate of board members for 2018. Joining the Board of Directors are Jenny Peart, Lindsay Ingram, Cherrie Osborne, Jane Hansom, whilst Marc James was re-elected for another term.
“All five of our elected Board members embody the spirit of the Caribbean and bring talent, expertise and energy to the table. We are very fortunate to have them by our side as we continue to strengthen the CTO’s focus on developing new and scalable innovative ideas to drive brand awareness of the Caribbean region. We welcome the addition of these outstanding new board members”, said Colin Pegler, Managing Director, Resort Marketing International and Chair of the CTO UK Chapter Board
Jane Hansom, one of the CTO’s newest board members, is the Director of Sponge Marketing on behalf of Nevis Tourism Authority. Hansom is an expert in driving tourism to destinations via sports and adventure travel and comes with marketing expertise and knowledge of the Caribbean to enhance both the CTO and the Caribbean region as a whole.
A seasoned industry veteran, Lindsay Ingram is the Managing Director of Newmont Travel. His extensive first-hand experience of the entire Caribbean region as a historically VFR specialist operator will bring a novel perspective into the further promoting the Caribbean region.
Marc James, Partnership Manager for British Airways will continue to utilise his extensive skills set to be an asset to the region as the airline continues to grow capacity. Marc’s 18 + years working with airlines, tourist boards and hotel partners in the Caribbean will be strategically important as the UK chapter continues to evolve and remain sustainable in the long term.
Jenny Peart, Caribbean Product Manager of Kenwood Travel, has been an integral part of the team at Kenwood Travel. Her reputation in the Caribbean is second to none and she has been at the forefront of the resurgence in Caribbean business. Her expertise and commercial acumen will be pivotal in helping the UK Chapter to continue to grow.
Lastly, strategic leader and marketer Cherrie Osborne, Director of Marketing for Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority brings over 12 years of well-rounded tourist board experience to contribute to building brand Caribbean. Osborne is credited with spearheading prominent PR projects, such as the filming of the X-Factor episodes in Antigua, and her prowess in engaging with tourism partners.
The full slate of board members for 2018 is listed below.
The CTO also recently appointed Jamie-Lee Abtar as Business Development Manager, UK Chapter. Abtar has over a decades experience in the travel and tourism industry supporting travel brands to grow, develop and increase revenue, and was also named as one of the TTG’s 30 under 30 Future Travel Leaders.
Carol Hay, CTO’s Director of Marketing UK & Europe stated, the CTO UK Chapter is a dynamic body and we felt that Jamie-Lee’s knowledge of the Caribbean, networking and digital skills will be a great asset.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (5 April, 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, has entered into an agreement with blockchain technology company, Bitt Inc., aimed at facilitating the implementation of more efficient payment processes for tourism-related products and services.
The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) this morning at the CTO’s headquarters in Barbados, under which Bitt’s digital wallet and merchant applications will be promoted to help foster broader economic participation in community-based tourism and related sectors.
“The Caribbean aims to fully examine the advantages offered by new financial technology. In particular, blockchain financial services have the potential to advance the objectives of specific programmes and activities within the tourism sector, and the CTO has a responsibility on behalf of our members to fully explore those possibilities. Our memorandum of understanding with Bitt underscores the importance of collaborating with this forward-thinking, cutting edge, Caribbean company with whom we have a shared commitment to the economic success of our region,” Hugh Riley, the CTO’s secretary general, said.
Both organisations anticipate that by leveraging digital currency, the Caribbean region could become a more integrated economy in terms of the ease of doing business for visitors who move through multiple regional destinations.
“Expanding Bitt’s footprint throughout the region is very important to us because we know how transformational our technology can be. That’s particularly the case for the region’s informal sector, for the unbanked and by extension for the economy. Tourism is the largest single contributor to the Caribbean economy and is absolutely critical to every single Caribbean nation’s well-being and development. Thus we see this as a very natural and necessary association,” Rawdon Adams, Bitt’s chief executive officer, said.
The arrangement is for an initial three-year period, but it can be extended by mutual agreement.
The Barbados-based Bitt Inc. is a financial technology company that utilises distributed ledger technology to offer efficient, cost-effective digital payment products and services through its Bitt Suite.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (21 March, 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is looking to double the number of businesses recognised as Hospitality Assured (HA), the certification programme that promotes business and service excellence.
At present, 33 of the 80 tourism and hospitality businesses involved in the programme have been certified as Hospitality Assured, according to Sharon Banfield-Bovell, the regional human resource development consultant with the CTO, who along with Janice Smith-Kipps, an experienced HA assessor and trainer of HA assessors, recently conducted a regional HA programme assessor training workshop at the Ocean Terrace Inn in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“The aim is to raise the number of certified business this year by 30,” Ms. Banfield-Bovell said.
The assessor training workshop, the third of its kind, is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which has approved over USD$223,000 in support of the HA (Caribbean) certification programme, and which, through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network, has been promoting the HA programme as a key means to support the development of tourism quality, business excellence and customer service delivery in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), especially owner-managed businesses in the tourism sector.
“The CDB’s injection of funding support will allow for 30 micro, small or medium tourism enterprises in specific CDB borrowing member countries – Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and The Grenadines – to participate in the HA certification programme and to achieve one of our strategic goals of strengthening the business performance and overall competitiveness of the tourism sector in the Caribbean,” Ms. Banfield-Bovell stressed.
The project will come to end in June this year and the CTO is encouraging tourism businesses to get onboard and fill the remaining 18 available spaces and seek to put in place an effective service quality management system, with the support of the programme’s key personnel, the business advisors and assessors.
At the opening of the St. Kitts workshop, Michel Thomas, the CBD’s operations officer, noted: “CDB fully supports the programme, as the Bank recognises the importance of enhancing the competitiveness of MSMEs in the tourism sector, which plays an integral role in the social and economic development of a number of CDB Borrowing Member Countries”.
Twenty-one participants from 13 CTO member countries – Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Turks and Caicos Islands – participated in the five-day workshop, which was aimed at providing the necessary training to equip participants with the knowledge and performance requirements of HA assessors.
The assessors’ role includes evaluation of businesses, while maintaining commercial confidentiality; ensuring that assessments are undertaken in accordance with certification requirements; providing clear information to businesses in respect of areas for improvement; and clearly identifying best practice, which would benefit these businesses.
Permanent Secretary in the St. Kits Ministry of Tourism Carlene Henry-Morton reminded workshop participants that the initiative “is a service and business excellence programme designed to promote a culture of quality, service excellence and continuous improvement through the use of a business improvement tool and framework that is internationally recognised.”
“Some of the real benefits of this designation are service excellence, customer loyalty and referrals, continuous improvement and international branding,” she said.
Hospitality Assured is a service quality management certification owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the United Kingdom, managed and operated by the Hospitality Limited, U.K. and developed specifically for the tourism sector, to promote and reward the highest levels of service and business excellence. Hospitality Assured in the Caribbean is managed and promoted by the CTO. Any hospitality, leisure, tourism or service-oriented organization is eligible for Hospitality Assured certification, be they large or small, single or multi-operational.