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World Tourism Day 2018 Message by Hugh Riley Secretary General CTO

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – 27 September, 2018 – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the tourism development agency for the region, joins the global community today in celebrating World Tourism Day 2018 under the theme, ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation’.

Digital advances have had a profound and transformative impact on our lives. They have influenced the way we learn, changed how we work, and altered the way humanity’s social fabric is connected. This behavioural evolution will continue; and in the travel and tourism business those who adapt will reap the rewards of technological innovation.

As the Caribbean’s primary foreign exchange earner, tourism remains the region’s lifeblood, contributing up to two-thirds of gross domestic product (GDP) in some cases. In order for the sector to drive continuous and inclusive growth in line with sustainable development goals, we must fully explore the economic, societal and environmental impacts of technology and innovation on tourism’s contribution to GDP.

The CTO is positioning Caribbean tourism to capitalise on emerging technologies. We’ve consulted with some of the foremost thought-leaders and are encouraging public and private sector investment in digital innovations that have disrupted traditional business models. It is our duty to our members to explore and introduce new tools and capabilities which alter the way we approach tourism marketing and development; and we must do so at all levels.

One of the best examples is our digital learning series of e-workbooks containing creatively designed audio visual and multi-lingual materials, designed to encourage and facilitate the teaching of tourism in Caribbean schools. Among other objectives the e-workbooks are meant to build greater awareness among young students regarding the significance of tourism to the Caribbean; demonstrate the importance of preserving our environment for ourselves and for our visitors; enlist the creativity of students to enhance tourism’s success; and showcase the full range of career opportunities tourism presents to Caribbean people.

Then there is the Tourism Information Management System (TIMS), an online application launched by the CTO in 2015 to capture, analyze and display tourism related data for the benefit of our members. This tool captures arrival and departure data from embarkation and disembarkation records via a business analytics system which illustrates the data in a more visual and comprehendible way, facilitating additional reporting and actionable insights.

With the launch of our Visitor Intelligence Database for Analytics (VIDA) in 2016, some CTO member states began to maximize returns on their marketing investment with the VIDA segmentation tool, utilizing postal codes to reveal rich data on the region’s visitor demographics.

Additionally, the CTO is actively collaborating with innovative and disruptive companies such as Airbnb, an online community marketplace that connects travellers with hosts in over 190 countries. Together with Airbnb, the CTO is assisting Caribbean tourism officials and stakeholders to maximize the benefits of the sharing economy, and home-sharing in particular. This work includes informing stakeholders of the value of peer-to-peer review mechanisms; providing economic analyses of Airbnb’s impact; developing policy guidelines and recommendations for the consideration of Caribbean lawmakers; exploring ways to make the sharing economy beneficial to our destinations while working in concert with all segments of the accommodation sector; and identifying ways to more effectively market the Caribbean as a region.

We are also working with Bitt, a financial technology company to develop ways of using blockchain technology and mobile money systems to the advantage of the tourism industry in the Caribbean. This work includes promoting the inclusion of micro, small and medium tourism enterprises; providing fast, simple and secure methods for visitors and locals to complete a wide range transactions; and assisting vendors and policymakers to improve data-processing and decision-making.

The CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) at Paradise Island, the Bahamas from 1-5 October, 2018, will feature a key session on ‘Modernizing the Experience: Using Technology to Enhance the Visitor Experience’. The discussion will cover a broad range of applications from customer-centric hospitality models leveraging technology, to the way industry leaders are using mobile and virtual reality innovations to differentiate brand identity.

In the coming months the CTO will continue to develop an agenda which encourages and assists member states’ efforts to create digitally-enhanced tourism services via entrepreneurship and innovation. It is our firm belief that more efficient resource management will empower our local communities and help build a truly inclusive tourism sector.

Tourism must bring benefits to all members of our society. Emerging digital technologies provide a range of new tools that can tackle challenges faced throughout our member states, increase profitability and bring about positive change for stakeholders that will improve the quality of life for all Caribbean people.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Helps Dominica Prepare To Cope With The Impact Of Climate Change

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (30 July 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, has been working closely with its member country, Dominica, to be better able to plan for, withstand and recover from the negative impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

The CTO has completed a two-day climate sensitisation and disaster risk management workshop in Roseau, aimed at facilitating the sharing of knowledge and best practices on strategies related to climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as identifying sound disaster risk management approaches.

Dominica suffered a direct hit by category five Hurricane Maria last September, which wiped out 226 per cent of its gross domestic product, two years after Tropical Storm Erika passed over the island, destroying an entire village, killing 20 people and leaving behind damage to 90 per cent of the country’s GDP.

“The topics of climate change and disaster preparedness are very pertinent to us in Dominica and in the wider Caribbean. We live in a region that is prone to the effects of climate change and disasters especially hurricanes. Of course, we have first-hand knowledge and recent experience with hurricanes,” Colin Piper, the chief executive officer of Discover Dominica Authority (DDA), the island’s tourist board, said at the opening of the workshop

“Anecdotal data indicates that tourism arrivals after natural disasters reduce by up to 30 per cent for up to three years. We are in fact experiencing a reduction in promotable visitor arrivals. For some properties, their occupancy levels may be up due to aid and agency short stays, but we must address this issue which threatens our livelihood within the hospitality industry and as nation,” he added.

Thirty tourism practitioners and decision makers from the public and private sectors participated in the event, which formed part of the “Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry” project currently implemented by the CTO, with funding and technical assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank, through the joint Natural Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) programme for Caribbean Forum states, undertaken in conjunction with the African Caribbean and Pacific Group and the European Union.

The 26-27 July workshop, facilitated by strategic planning expert Dr. Jennifer Edwards, was the latest in a series of training programmes being conducted by the CTO for Dominica.

Earlier this month a “Delivering Quality Service” workshop was held for 55 craft and souvenir vendors, hair braiders and tourism taxi service providers to help them better appreciate the importance of their roles in visitor satisfaction; improve people relations through effective communication and understand how positive visitor interactions result in satisfied visitors.

That workshop, facilitated by the CTO’s regional human resources development consultant Sharon Banfield- Bovell,  covered areas such as understanding the customer, the importance of delivering quality customer service and the ten principles of customer service, all areas which Dominica said were critical in ensuring the service providers are equipped with the necessary skill set to deliver the highest level of customer service.

In addition, 25 participants each are to be trained in the management of sites and attractions at a workshop which targets forestry park wardens and the Waitukubuli National Trail Project among others, and a management of service quality workshop for senior executives and general managers in private and public sector tourism enterprises.

The CTO’s resource mobilisation and development division offers several training and development programmes, for member countries and the tourism sector, in keeping with its mandate to assist in developing and strengthening human capital in the region’s tourism sector so as to offer high levels of professional service.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Climate Change, Corporate News

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CTO Secretary General Named One of 25 Most Influential People in Meetings Industry

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (20 July 2018) – Secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Hugh Riley has been named as on of the 25 most influential people in the meetings industry by Successful Meetings, a leading multi-platform brand for multi-tasking meeting planners.

In its annual list of impact influencers, Successful Meetings lists Mr. Riley as one of the top advocates on industry issues. An accompanying profile credits the secretary general for keeping the Caribbean at the forefront of travellers’ minds with emphasis on actions taken by CTO on behalf of member countries impacted by last year’s hurricanes.

The honour, detailed in the July issue of Succesful Meetings, “recognized 25 people who are standout contibutors to the betterment of the meetings industry” as selected by editors of Northstar Meetings Group, a leading B2B information and marketing solutions company serving all sections of the business meetings, events and incentives market, as well as industry luminaries, previous honourees and a poll of the magazine’s readership.

The magazine highlights CTO’s rapid assessment of the storms’ impact and the communications efforts which forged closer relationships between member countries, media partners and private sector organizations. It focuses on the secretary general’s role in communicating the region’s message, noting: “CTO used the spotlight from the hurricane coverage to educate the public on the geography and cultures of the Caribbean, and now, on the islands’ comeback.”

The publication also focused on Mr. Riley’s current work developing the “Rhythm Never Stops” marketing campaign to communicate the region’s vibrancy in key tourism markets.

“I am honoured to be recognised by Successful Meetings among the list of leaders making a difference in the meetings industry,” said Mr. Riley. “The sector is a critical component of our tourism product in the Caribbean and we are proud of the role the CTO has played in this region’s success. We also recognise that there is still significant growth potential and will continue to engage our partners and the meetings industry on behalf of our member countries,” he added.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO CONGRATULATIONS NEW BARBADOS GOVERNMENT

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.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Week, Corporate News

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CTO Mitigates Climate Impact With Launch Of “Regional Tourism Education And Awareness Campaign”

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.

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