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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.

 

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

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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.

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

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CTO Sec. Gen. Message on the observance of Caribbean Tourism Month November, 2017

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 1 Nov 2017.  This year can be described as a tale of two situations for Caribbean tourism. During the first half of this year the region performed at new record pace, welcoming 16.6 million international tourist arrivals at a healthy growth rate of 5.2 per cent, when compared to the same period last year.

However, hurricanes Irma and Maria have dented this growth, with the revised forecast for 2017 now at one to two per cent, down from 2.5 to 3.5 per cent.

The economic impact of the storms is significant. The Caribbean Development Bank predicts that every one per cent reduction in tourist arrivals (based on 2015 travel data) will cost US$137 million in lost revenue.

No doubt, the hurricanes have presented us with some major challenges, but we are determined to rebuild better and more sustainably.

In the meantime, while the affected countries are at various stages on the road back to normality, it is also important to note that over 75 per cent of the region was unscathed by the storms. In this context, we encourage you to keep visiting the Caribbean, as this is the best way to help the region.

During Caribbean Tourism Month we will focus on adventure, in keeping with the Year of Adventure. Mindful of the impact of the storms, there are still countless travel adventures to be had this month and for the remainder of the year.

We look forward to hearing of the various events and activities planned for the month, and with your permission, we will share your information and images. .

The month also provides an opportunity to reiterate the message that we are open for business and we do have an exciting product to offer.

Yes, some challenges remain and those are being addressed, but let’s also emphasize the  superb experiences we can offer to guests right now and help them and their companions have a Caribbean adventure to remember.

Together, let’s keep the right focus on this important industry and reaffirm the value of One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Tourism Month, Corporate News

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CTO Launches Relief Fund to Assist With Hurricane Aid Efforts

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (8 Sept, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has activated its “CTO Relief Fund” through GoFundMe to help families and countries rebuild after hurricanes, particularly in the wake of the massive category 5 Hurricane Irma, which has impacted a number of member countries.

All of the money raised through the CTO’s Relief Fund will be sent directly to CTO-member destinations affected by the catastrophic storm, which hit some countries with winds up to 185 mph.

“The damage caused by the force of Hurricane Irma is an important example of why we must do whatever is possible to provide financial relief to those who need it most. It’s through this fund that the CTO channels monetary assistance to our impacted member states,” CTO secretary general Hugh Riley said. “The CTO appreciates all donations to assist in the recovery efforts in these countries.”

For more information on CTO’s Relief Fund or to make a donation, visit www.gofundme.com/hurricane-relief-fund-cto.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO & CACCI Create Cooperation Strategy for Diaspora for 2017-18

NEW YORK, NY (Aug. 21, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) recently formalized a cooperation strategy between the two organizations to strengthen the role of the Caribbean Diaspora while sharing resources and creating sustainability for the people and the region.

“CACCI believes that now is indeed the time for serious, positive action. We stand ready to support the regional integration process and will continue to respond positively to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), CARICOM, and OECS heads of government for assistance requested,” Dr. Roy A. Hastick Sr., the president and chief executive officer of CACCI  said in reference to the Caribbean Community and sub-regional grouping, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, as he introduced Hugh Riley, the secretary general of the CTO, to the member delegates.

Dr. Hastick continued, “This is an excellent opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to continue to work with you and your team, and continue the collaboration on which to build an even more unified and stronger Caribbean Community.”

In his remarks CACCI Board Chairman Mr. Edmund Sadio made mention of the longstanding relationship between CACCI and the CTO and the important role of CACCI’s founder in being an unofficial ambassador for the Caribbean Diaspora.

“As the tourism development agency for the Caribbean, the CTO recognizes the role of the Caribbean Diaspora in contributing to the tourism success of our member-countries, generating investment, stimulating a wide range of commercial activity, injecting significant amounts of foreign exchange, and influencing decisions at the highest levels of the public and private sectors,” said Riley.  “CACCI has been an influential force in building valuable business relationships between the Caribbean Diaspora and the decision-makers of New York City and New York State. Our communities continue to benefit from Dr. Hastick’s credo that business networking works.”

As part of the meeting, CTO and CACCI finalized arrangements for reciprocal membership, making each organization a member of the other with the two leaders formalizing the process by an exchange of documents and membership insignia.

The next steps are to begin implementing elements of the cooperation strategy for 2017-18, including investment prospects for the Caribbean, educational opportunities for Caribbean students, and CACCI’s involvement in Caribbean Week New York 2018 scheduled for June, which has been designated as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month in the U.S.

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CTO Calls For Greater Alliance Between U.S. and Caribbean With Respect to H.R.4939

CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION CALLS FOR UNITED STATES/CARIBBEAN STRATEGIC ALLIANCE IN FURTHERANCE OF U.S.-CARIBBEAN STRATEGIC ENGAGEMENT ACT Mechanism Incorporating Caribbean’s Tourism Working Group with Entities Tasked with Implementing the Act Will Be A Winning Formula, Says CTO Secretary General.

NEW YORK, NY (Aug. 18, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has called for a formal partnership between the region’s tourism sector and those responsible for implementing the United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act, known as H.R. 4939.

The Act, which was passed in the United States Congress on Dec. 13, 2016 and signed into law by then U.S. President Barack Obama three days later, mandates a new long-term strategy to strengthen ties between Washington, D.C. and the Caribbean region. It is designed to increase the security, prosperity and well-being of the people of the United States and the Caribbean.

Addressing the importance of the Act to Caribbean tourism at a recent meeting in Washington, D.C., CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley referenced a tourism working group established by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government at their meeting in Guyana in February, to guide the development and marketing of Caribbean tourism.

This, Riley said, appears to align with the U.S. government’s strategy for the Caribbean on many areas related to sustainable development, and a mechanism that incorporates the Caribbean’s tourism working group with the entities tasked with implementing H.R.4939 would be a winning formula for both the U.S. and the Caribbean.

“What an accomplishment it would be for all of us and for the architects of H.R. 4939 if we could report back to our region’s prime ministers and presidents when we meet with them in February, that there is now a working partnership between the region’s tourism working group and the U.S. Caribbean Strategic Alliance. Our recommendation is that together, we waste no time in making that partnership a reality. Without doubt, shoring up the Caribbean’s main economic driver is the surest way to protect the third border of the United States,” Riley said.

His remarks were delivered during a panel focused on “building sustainable economies” as part of an event staged by the Caribbean-Central American Action (CCAA) titled: “Caribbean 2020 Implementing H.R. 4939 from Vision to Engagement.”

Select members of the U.S. Congress addressed the audience of Caribbean Diaspora, diplomats and public sector policy makers including the co-author of the legislation, Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member, The House Foreign Affairs Committee; Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Chairman, The Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Ranking Member, The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations; and Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), Ranking Member, The Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, and Environment.

The Caribbean region is considered the United States’ “third border,” characterized by common interests and societal ties that yield daily, tangible benefits for U.S. citizens. The U.S. is the Caribbean’s primary trading partner, representing a vibrant economic partnership that, in 2016, saw a $4.6 billion trade surplus for the United States, 14 million U.S. tourist visits, and 11,042 Caribbean students studying in the U.S.

CCAA organized the half-day event to move discussions along between the U.S. and key stakeholders involved with the Caribbean region. The meeting began with a discussion of the Act followed by a panel about “The Security Agenda” featuring discussions on the need for stronger regional cooperation and public-private partnerships to advance citizen security. The second panel, “The Prosperity Agenda” focused on the outlook for regional investment, building sustainable economies, and finance and trade options. The final panel “The Well-Being Agenda,” dedicated its discussions to the health, education and future of the Caribbean.”

During his presentation, Riley called for a balanced approach to the development of strategies and policies that are designed to spur tourism growth while protecting the resource base on which tourism depends.

He advocated for a sector-specific tourism approach that would provide the greatest effectiveness and long-term sustainability which would be carried out with partnerships between the CTO and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA).

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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