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UBERSOCA Cruise Patrons Win Luxury Caribbean Vacations at CTO Destination Showcase OnBoard

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) partnered with Ubersoca Cruise (USC), the largest Caribbean soca music and carnival festival at sea, which sailed from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico, November 16 – 20, 2017. CTO hosted a Destination Showcase onboard Ubersoca Cruise 2017, which included a presentation on Caribbean destinations and ongoing CTO initiatives, highlighting the CTO Hurricane Relief Fund and the CTO Scholarship Foundation; initiatives which generate funding to provide financial assistance to support member countries post disaster, and nationals to pursue studies in tourism, hospitality and related fields.

A highlight of the onboard activity was the exciting ‘I Am Caribbean’ Trivia competition which featured questions on the culture, geography and history of the region. A packed auditorium of over 200 patrons participated in the event vying for a chance to win one of the luxury Caribbean vacations on offer.

The CTO is pleased to announce the winners of the Trivia Competition as follows:

Name                          Nationality                 Prize

Valery Lionel        British Virgin Islands        Valentines Residences Resort and Marina, The Bahamas

Jawaan Riley          British Virgin Islands       Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, The Bahamas

Delora Samuel       Dominica                          Kittitian Hill, St. Kitts

Meleke Turnbull    US Virgin Islands                San Ignacio Resort Hotel, Belize

Jason Seignoret      Dominica                            Le Cap Est Lagoon Resort and Spa, Martinique

Kamona Ayres        Trinidad and Tobago        True Blue Bay Boutique Resort, Grenada

The CTO was pleased to partner with Clarke’s Court Rum of Grenada Distillers Limited, Grenada, producers of award-winning rums and spirits, who provided free product samples and rum tastings during the event. Clarke’s Court Rum Distillery in operation since 1937, is the island’s best-known and largest distillery and is an iconic historical site, offering rum making and factory tours and tastings.

Special thanks are extended to all participating resort properties for providing complimentary 3 nights’ accommodation for two, for the trivia competition winners. Special thanks are also owned to our tourism partners in the respective destinations: The Ministries of Tourism, National Tourist Boards and Hotel and Tourism Associations of Belize, The Bahamas, Martinique, Grenada and St Kitts for assisting us in facilitating outreach to the respective resort properties in their destinations.

Ubersoca cruise is the first and only full cruise ship charter dedicated exclusively to Caribbean Soca music and culture, which brings together Caribbean nationals with members of the Diaspora and friends of the region from across the globe. In addition to multiple live concerts and themed events, Ubersoca cruise offers a myriad of other exciting activities onboard, which make it an ‘experience beyond the music’. To learn more about Ubersoca Cruise and partner for the 2018 sailing, please email [email protected] or visit www.ubersocacruise.com.

Feel free to book your next Caribbean adventure with our partnered hotels:

Valentines Residences Resort and Marina, The Bahamas – https://www.valentinesresort.com/

Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, The Bahamas – https://bahamar.grand.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

Kittitian Hill, St Kitts – http://www.kittitianhill.com/

San Ignacio Resort Hotel, Belize – https://www.sanignaciobelize.com/

True Blue Bay Boutique Resort, Grenada – https://truebluebay.com/

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Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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BBC Presenter Encourages Broadcasters To Help People Understand Climate Change

Basseterre, St Kitts, 13 December, 2017 – The keynote speaker at the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum (CSSTF) being held in St. Kitts and Nevis, encouraged participants to think about people and how their decisions as potential and actual travellers were influenced by media reports. Gregory McKenzie, television presenter and reporter with the BBC, was the opening speaker for the CSSTF on Wednesday, December 12, which is being held at the Ocean Terrace Inn.

He explained that viewers may not want to know about climate change because they might not find it interesting or easy to understand.

“Our role as broadcasters is to…help people understand that it’s real, it’s happening,” he said. “…It’s about how we can tap into that and show people around the world on our shows that…it’s an issue. People’s lives are a at risk and many have died.”

However, he noted that while media practitioners should aim to educate their audiences about climate change, they also needed to accurately describe climate change-related events and the areas in which they occurred. For example, the coverage on the destruction in the region caused by the passage of two major hurricanes recently might have led some persons to believe that the entire region suffered severe damage.

“The global picture is [that] the Caribbean [is] one, and people forget there’s different islands,” the broadcast journalist said. “So, a part of my role is to show people the Caribbean is open for business.”

Having spent more than 15 years working for the BBC, Gregory McKenzie said he considered his role with the entity and thought about how he could encourage editors there to think about climate change in a different way. For the past four years, McKenzie has been directing, producing and reporting content for the BBC’s flagship Travel Show which is broadcast to more than 300 million viewers a week.  In doing so he has travelled to more than 30 destinations across the world.

Where the tourism industry was concerned, McKenzie explained that as more territories developed their tourism industry, it would produce significant impacts on their natural resources, consumption patterns, pollution and social systems. Because of this, he said that sustainable and responsible planning and management was imperative for the industry to survive.

“Now we already know that global tourism is reaching unprecedented levels. The demand is huge, and, for the first time in our history, the number of tourists crossing international borders in a single year has reached over the one billion mark, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation;” he said.

“The role of the consumer in all of this really shouldn’t be overlooked.”

Consumers, he added, needed to be engaged and stakeholders needed to find ways to prompt them to think in a sustainable way.

“When you’re on holiday, probably the last thing a tourist is thinking about [is] ‘where do I put the plastic?’ or ‘what do I do with that?’, but we can change that in terms of the mindset of tourists and show them different initiatives,” he explained.

“A balance has to be found between limits and usage so that [we] continuously change monitoring and planning [to] ensure that tourism can be managed, and this requires long term thinking and realizing that change is often gradual and often irreversible for economic, social and environmental aspects. Sustaining development must include the interests of all stakeholders, including indigenous people, local communities, visitors, industries and of course more importantly, government.”

The 12-13 December forum, jointly organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the St. Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Tourism, is the region’s bespoke event in observance of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.  The conference theme is “Good for Use, Better for All”.

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Climate Change, Climate Smart Forum, Corporate News

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CTO Investment Guide Distributed in Toronto and at Caribbean Business Events

TORONTO, Canada , 21 November, 2017 – The Caribbean Tourism and Hospitality Investment Guide, a bi-annual publication of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), was distributed during Caribbean Week in Toronto to Canadian entrepreneurs, business organizations and Diaspora leaders.

Caribbean Week activities in Toronto and Montreal run from November 10-17.

The Investment Guide showcases a wide range of investment opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector in CTO member states and lists incentives that Caribbean Governments are offering to attract new business.

The publication was distributed at the recent Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit (CHICOS) in Bermuda and is available to delegates at this week’s Miami Conference on the Caribbean organized by Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA).

Tourism Ministers from across the region and selected companies and business organizations received copies of the publication during Caribbean Week events in New York.

The publication includes information on the performance of the region’s tourism industry with highlights from the CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley and Acting Director of Research Ryan Skeete. It also provides an outlook for the region’s hotel sector.

The Investment Guide highlights new investments in the region’s tourism and hospitality sector including properties in The Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Cayman Islands.
“The Caribbean has a strong competitive advantage due to our natural and physical resources, and is ripe for new hotel and tourism infrastructure projects. There are opportunities for investments in airports, seaports and shopping centres, as well as unique tourism products such as outfitting heritage sites with modern technology and clean energy sources,” CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley said.

The Investment Guide is produced by Marketing, Communications and Investment Promotion Specialist, Sandra Ann Baptiste, who heads Florida-based Carigold Signature.

“CTO member countries are also seeking investment to expand the medical tourism and health and wellness sectors. There are investment opportunities for new restaurants and cafes, sports tourism facilities and new convention centers, yachting and marine services, new attractions, river and land transportation services, and to develop the creative industries,” Baptiste said in the editorial.

The Investment Guide is one of the projects of the New York-based CTO USA Inc. office headed by Sylma Brown Bramble.

The publication will be available on www.onecaribbean.org for a minimal fee.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week, Corporate News

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The CTO Declares 2018 The Year of Wellness And Rejuvenation In The Caribbean

TORONTO, ON, 14 November, 2017 –   The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has declared 2018 the Year of Wellness and Rejuvenation in the Caribbean.

The CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley announced the theme for next year at a news conference here on Monday 13 November, as part of the programme for Caribbean Week Canada 2017.

With wellness and rejuvenation being important aspects of the Caribbean tourism product offering, the CTO is encouraging member countries and private sector partners to plan and organise events and activities around the theme that will appeal to consumers, travel agents and tour operators.

“For those who focus on renewing body and spirit, the options are virtually endless; from beachfront workouts and yoga retreats, to wellness resorts and spa treatments, the notion of being rejuvenated in the Caribbean is one more reason to let us pamper you in 2018,” the secretary general said.

“The region’s diverse tropical landscape with mountain ranges, valleys and volcanoes, provide excellent opportunities for a variety of ages and physical abilities. Individual trekking, group hiking, health walks, fun-runs, marathons and a range of water-based health-related activities are held throughout the year in our CTO member-countries.”

The global wellness sector is a $3.72 trillion industry, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a Miami, Florida-based non-profit-making organisation that provides global research and insight into the wellness industry.

The 2018 Caribbean Year of Wellness and Rejuvenation will be promoted through social media and traditional media channels and will create opportunities for travellers and holiday planners to share their experiences and ideas of how to welcome visitors to the region for wellness and rejuvenation.

Through the campaign, CTO, its member countries and private sector partners will highlight the Caribbean as the leading choice for wellness and rejuvenation.

At the briefing, Mr. Riley also announced that the Canadian market was a strong performer during the first half of 2017, with arrivals up by 6.4 per cent over the corresponding period last year, and is expected to continue to register growth this year despite the hurricanes which impacted about 25 per cent of CTO member countries.

“The Conference Board of Canada is predicting that decent capacity and relative value will support growth and expects a transfer of demand from affected destinations to unaffected countries, with the overall impact likely to be minimal,” he said.

In addition, the Conference Board of Canada predicts that Caribbean air lift from Canada will be stable, with capacity up by double digits to about a dozen Caribbean countries through to July, while several others showed strong growth of between five per cent and ten per cent.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week, Corporate News

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Freelance Journalist Robert Osborne Wins Top Prize at CTO Travel Media Awards in Canada

CTO Travel Media Award winners with CTO secretary general Hugh Riley (left) and Saint Lucia’s minister of tourism Dominic Fedee (right). Missing from photo are Robert Osborne, Michele Petersen and Sarah Staples. Ms Staples will accept her award at the CTO’s media awards luncheon in Montreal on Friday.

TORONTO, ON, 13 November, 2017 –   A story about diving in the Cayman Islands has copped freelance journalist Robert Osborne the top award at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s Caribbean Travel Media Awards programme.

The article, From Cayman With Love, which appeared in Diver Magazine, captures Osborne’s experiences ten years after he had first visited the CTO member country.

It earned the experienced writer the Best of the Best award at today’s awards luncheon sponsored by Saint Lucia, at the Doubletree Hilton Toronto Downtown, part of the programme for Caribbean Week Canada organized by the CTO.

“A well-crafted travel story by a keen observer can entice, inspire, and literally transport the reader to the destination. Robert Osborne achieved that feat with his entry, From Cayman With Love. He returned to the Cayman Islands after 10 years to revisit some of his favourite dive sites and vividly shared his memories and his discoveries while taking his readers on a series of adventures under the water and on land,” said chief judge Tim Doyle, a Toronto-based writer, editor and media executive who helped drive the digital transformation of many of Canada’s major newsrooms, and who teaches journalism in the School of Communications, Media and Design at Centennial College where he co-ordinates undergraduate and postgraduate journalism programmes. Osborne was one of seven travel writers and photographers awarded today for their coverage of the Caribbean.

The winners of this year’s Caribbean Travel Media awards are as follows:

Been There, Wrote That – Best Feature Article In A Consumer Magazine

Robert Osborne – From Cayman With Love – Diver Magazine

I Couldn’t Have Written Better Myself – Best Feature In A Consumer Newspaper

Michele Petersen – Spotlight on Nevis: The Broadway Musical “Hamilton” Shines Attention on this Luxe Caribbean Hideaway – The Montrealer

Inner Circle King/Queen– Best Feature Article In A Trade Publication

Ann Ruppenstein – You’ll Never Be Blue in Colorful CURAÇAO  – Travel Courier

Virtual Visitor Award – Best Online Feature

Josephine Matyas – Dominica lets visitors stay active or chill out – thestar.com

Not Lost in Translation Award –  Best Feature by a Canadian Journalist that appeared in Foreign Media.

Mark Stevens – Seven Great Reasons to Visit Antigua & Barbuda – Caribbean Business and Travel

Oh Snap!– Best Photograph accompanying a feature 

Sarah Staples – Havana: Then, Now & Its American Future –  Luxe Magazine

Oh My Word, I Blogged! (Best Blog Post)

Reanna Khan – Ortinola Great House: Your source for Cocoa Goodness – Never See Come Sea.. This winner of this award was determined by voters in an online poll.

They Like Me, They Really Like Me – Best of the Best

Robert Osborne – From Cayman With Love – Diver Magazine

Organized by the CTO, Caribbean Week Canada 2017 combines business sessions and consumer-oriented events with Caribbean-inspired food, lively entertainment and networking opportunities.

The remainder of the Caribbean Week Canada 2017 agenda includes:

Toronto, Canada

  •  Trade Show and Educational Forum for Travel Agents: Tuesday, 14 November, 2017, 8 – noon., Improve Canada
  •  Tourism Industry Panel Discussion: Tuesday, 14 November, 2017, 12:30 – 3:30 p.m., Improve Canada

 Montreal, Canada

  •  Trade Show and Educational Forum for Travel Agents: Thursday 16 November, 2017, 5:30 – 9 p.m.  InterContinental Hotel
  • Media Marketplace: Friday, 17 November, 2017, 10:30 – 12:30 p.m., InterContinental Hotel
  • Media Awards Luncheon with National Tourist Offices: Friday 17 November, 2017, 12:30 – 2 p.m., InterContinental Hotel

For more information on any of the Caribbean Week Canada events contact the Caribbean Tourism Organization at 905-857-1986 or visit canada.caribbeanweek.com.

 

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Grenada Born Social Justice Advocate Jean Augustine Honoured with CTO’s Highest Award

Jean Augustine (right) receives CTO Lifetime Achievement Award from CTO secretary general Hugh Riley (centre) while close friend Rita Cox (left) looks on.

 

Chef Raymond Chung (right) of Doubletree Hilton Downtown Toronto presents cash donation to CTO secretary general Hugh Riley

TORONTO, ON, 13 November, 2017 –  The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has bestowed its most prestigious honour on social advocate Jean Augustine.

The Grenada-born retired Canadian school teacher and politician was given the CTO Lifetime Achievement Award – the first person ever to be given this award in Canada – at a glitzy Caribbean Ball in Toronto on Friday evening.

“For your many years of passionate involvement in civic and diaspora activities, your extensive advocacy for education and social justice, your dedication to the development of the Caribbean and your leadership in investing in our youth by the establishment of the chair in education, community and Diaspora at York University; for these and other outstanding achievements which are symbols of your commitment to our youth, the African Caribbean community and all citizens, we honour you,” the citation said.

Ms. Augustine was a trailblazing politician and social activist, having worked her way from a nanny when she first arrived here in 1960, to become the most powerful black woman in the Canadian parliament.

She was the first black woman elected to the Canadian parliament and the first black cabinet minister, acting as Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s trusted voice on committees and at international meetings and in Parliament when he was absent from the house of commons.

During her acceptance speech, the Ms. Augustine described how she once persuaded the Canadian prime minister to meet Caribbean leaders in the region instead of having them travel to Canada. That meeting was held in her country of birth, Grenada. She also described her battle to get the government to ease visa restrictions on Caribbean nationals, a battle she said she lost.

Prior to serving in parliament, Ms. Augustine was a school teacher and during her career in the teaching service she was an activist in Toronto’s Caribbean communities, volunteering with grassroots organizations to strengthen immigrant and women’s rights and to combat violence against women, drug abuse and poverty. In 1967, she served on the committee that helped organise the first Caribana festival, and in the mid-1990s she played a crucial role in establishing Black History Month in Canada.

“The Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award honours individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to society and who, by their example, have inspired at least one generation.  Ms. Augustine’s achievements have far exceeded those criteria,” the CTO said.

Ms. Augustine promised to place the award in a fitting location where it can be seen and appreciated by members of the public.

The honouree was introduced by her close friend Dr. Rita Cox, who shared compelling stories of Ms. Augustine’s advocacy on behalf of the region and her dedication to teaching.

The event was addressed by Ontario’s minister of education Mitzie Hunter, while minister of tourism, culture and sport Eleanor McMahon, who was unable attend, sent a message of welcome in which she described Caribbean Week Canada as “a wonderful way to celebrate our vibrant Caribbean-Canadian culture, which is such an important part of many communities in Ontario”.

“I invite everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to network and discover new and exciting ways to strengthen tourism ties between Ontario and the Caribbean. I would like to thank the Caribbean Tourism Organization, its partners and volunteers for their commitment to a sustainable tourism industry that contributes to the well-being of the people of the Caribbean,” she stated.

The Caribbean Ball, which was held at the Doubletree Hilton Downtown Toronto, was a fundraiser for the CTO’s hurricane relief fund and the CTO Foundation, the organisation’s scholarship programme which provides scholarships and grants to Caribbean nationals pursuing studies in tourism and hospitality.

During the event, the hotel’s wait staff presented over $1,000 to the CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley, monies collected through their own fundraising efforts to help Caribbean countries that had been affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Organized by the CTO, Caribbean Week Canada 2017 combines business sessions and consumer-oriented events with Caribbean-inspired food, lively entertainment and networking opportunities.  

The remainder of the Caribbean Week Canada 2017 agenda includes:

Toronto, Canada

  • Trade Show and Educational Forum for Travel Agents: Tuesday, 14 November, 2017, 8 – noon., Improve Canada
  •  Tourism Industry Panel Discussion: Tuesday, 14 November, 2017, 12:30 – 3:30 p.m., Improve Canada

 Montreal, Canada

  •  Trade Show and Educational Forum for Travel Agents: Thursday 16 November, 2017, 5:30 – 9 p.m.  InterContinental Hotel
  • Media Marketplace: Friday, 17 November, 2017, 10:30 – 12:30 p.m., InterContinental Hotel
  • Media Awards Luncheon with National Tourist Offices: Friday 17 November, 2017, 12:30 – 2 p.m., InterContinental Hotel

 For more information on any of the Caribbean Week Canada events contact the Caribbean Tourism Organization at 905-857-1986 or visit canada.caribbeanweek.com.

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