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CTO Earth Day Message 2017 by Hugh Riley, Sec. Gen. CTO

CTO Earth Day Message 2017

by Hugh Riley, Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism Organization

Theme: Environmental and Climate Literacy – The Caribbean is Taking Action

As the world pauses to celebrate Earth Day today, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is pleased to declare its support for actions that make a difference.

It is no secret that the very foundation of Caribbean tourism is our unparalleled natural environment; one that is rich in biodiversity, is virtually unpolluted, boasts landscapes that draw visitors from across the globe, and sustains life and livelihood. In the Caribbean we have a sacred duty to protect these assets by insisting on the development and adoption of sustainable tourism practices, while responsibly sharing our natural treasures with travellers to our shores.

As the Caribbean’s tourism development agency whose purpose is: Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean, the CTO is intimately attuned with the need to respect our earth. It is our belief that there will always be conflict between respect for our planet and the desire to profit from invaluable natural assets that we possess.  Moreover,  we must recognize that destroying our planet in pursuit of economic growth is an existential threat to both present and future generations.

It is for this very reason that the CTO strives to position the Caribbean as a truly sustainable tourism region – a region that leads the global response to climate change by pursuing carbon neutrality, one that actively manages its land, water, and energy resources and decisively employs  technologies that drive resource efficiencies across its tourism supply chains. CTO will also continue to provide the relevant authorities with the tools and data necessary to activate tourism policies and regulations that serve the best interest of the region, while advocating for more responsible behaviour from the larger nations around the world.

We are pleased that Earth Day 2017 focuses on Environmental and Climate Literacy, as we have been developing our Caribbean Tourism Climatic Bulletin in partnership with our colleagues at the Caribbean Institute for Metrology and Hydrology (CIMH). Once finalized, this  bulletin will be a guiding tool for tourism policymakers and businesses to better understand how climate change will impact their livelihoods, and how they can adapt for success while contributing to a better state of affairs.

When seeking to protect our planet, one of the greatest challenges is to enlist all citizens to join the effort. The Caribbean Tourism Organization, through its trained professionals and in conjunction with global and regional partners, is pleased to provide guidance and information on how the actions of any individual can be an effective part of the solution. Happy Earth Day 2017.

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UNWTO/CTO Workshop ends with commitment to improve tourism product and stakeholder engagement

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 5 April 2017 – A regional workshop on sustainable destination management and marketing has ended in Saint Lucia with a commitment by participants to improve the tourism product and stakeholder engagement.

The 27-31 March workshop, organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the United Nations agency, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), brought together 26 stakeholders in the tourism industry from 12 CTO member countries to explore ways to make their destinations and the region more globally competitive.

“The workshop is a very pertinent one.  It gives the stakeholders an opportunity to look at sustainable tourism, which is very important to our territories and Caribbean countries,” said Percival Hanley, the general manager of Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society in St. Kitts.

“Tourism is one of the major industries for our countries and very meaningful to our economies, and is one of the growing industries that will significantly affect our area, not just now but well into the future,” he added.

During the five-day seminar, participants shared best practices, including the successes of destinations outside the Caribbean.

It was an eye opener for Elecia Myers, the senior director for strategic planning and evaluation at the Jamaica ministry of tourism, who said she would now look at sustainable destination management and marketing in a more strategic light.

“I’ve been looking at how I can institute systems at the national level to ensure there is follow through within our agencies, and within our stakeholder practitioners – hoteliers, attractions, transport service providers  – how to infuse strategic planning in a more meaningful and measurable way so we can track it over time,” she said.

For the Turks and Caicos Islands the sessions were quite important because the country is at the crossroads as to where it wants to go in terms of tourism development, said Brian Been, the senior product development officer at the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board.

“Whenever we talk about sustainability, we tend to lean on the environmental side, and not realise there must be a balanced approach,” he said.

The workshop came at a time when destinations are paying greater attention to product development, and social media is changing the way tourism marketing is done.

Among the key areas explored were innovation in marketing, destination competitiveness, developing sustainable tourism experiences and successful models in destination management and marketing. The participants were also able to take the learning process out of the classroom and  into the real world by going on study tours to Fond Latisab Creole Park, Lushan Country Life and Sulphur Springs and Volcano for real-life experiences.

“Sustainable destination management and marketing is an area that most of the countries in our region are looking at seriously – how to we effectively market and manage our destinations so we can be globally competitive,” said Bonita Morgan, the CTO’s director of resource mobilization and development.

The executive training workshop was organized by the CTO and the UNWTO through its Themis Foundation, and was held in collaboration with the Saint Lucia ministry of tourism and the board of tourism.

“This UNWTO/CTO workshop main objective was to constitute a participative platform where we all could share experiences and knowledge as well as instruments that can be applied back in participants’ countries, institutions, businesses and destinations. And I believe we have achieved that objective by bridging theory and practice in a very participative workshop,” said Alba Fernández Alonso, the course coordinator at the Themis Foundation, the entity responsible for implementing the UNWTO’s education and training programme.

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CTO Appoints Business Development Representative for Canada

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (5 April, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, has appointed experienced travel professional Nancy Drolet as business development representative for Canada.

Ms. Drolet, whose appointment took effect from 1 April, will implement the CTO’s business development plan for the Canadian market, maintain consistent interaction with the travel industry, the Caribbean Diaspora and national tourist office representatives in Canada and organise trade and consumer events, including Caribbean Week Canada, according to Sylma Brown, director of CTO-USA, Inc.

The multilingual Drolet – she speaks English, French and Spanish – is a 25 year veteran of the travel industry, having worked predominantly in sales and marketing for tour operators such as Fiesta Holidays and Thomson Vacations, and Cruise Lines, including Holland America and Windstar Cruises.
After moving to travel retail she worked in senior management positions at Sears Travel, where she managed up to 35 travel agencies.

Ms. Drolet is no stranger to the Caribbean- she worked at Sandals Resorts and Radisson Resorts of the Bahamas.
“I am thrilled to be back working with the Caribbean which has long been a popular vacation destination for Canadians. The Caribbean offers Canadians so much more than sun and sand: the people, the music, the activities on land and sea, the romance of the islands, not to mention the adventure aspect with hiking and untapped natural preserves,” the newly-appointed business development representative said.
“I am looking forward to working with our national tourist offices and our tour operator, airline and retail partners in Canada to grow our business to the Caribbean. Through training and education and partnership, I hope to help the travel trade in Canada discover more about the Caribbean,” she added.
Ms. Drolet can be reached at [email protected] Tel: 905-857-1986.
Canada, normally a robust market for the Caribbean, recorded a decrease in visitors to the Caribbean last year for the first time since 1994, and only the second contraction since 1982. The 3.3 million arrivals from that market represented a 3.4 per cent drop when compared to 2015.

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UNWTO/CTO Workshop Begins in Saint Lucia

The UNWTO/CTO Workshop in Saint Lucia on Sustainable Tourism Destination Management & Marketing, organized by the World Tourism Organization, its UNWTO.Themis Foundation and the Caribbean Tourism Ogranization (CTO) in collaboration with Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), was inaugurated on 27th March by Mr. Hugh Riley, Secretary General & Chief Executive Officer, Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Ms. Alba Fernandez Alonso, UNWTO.Themis Foundation Course Coordinator, Hon. Dominic Fedee, Minister of Tourism, Information & Broadcasting, Ministry of Tourism, Information & Broadcasting and the facilitators of the workshop, Ms. Kathleen Pessolano and Mr. Jonathon Day.
Read more:

http://themis.unwto.org/news/2017-03-28/inaugurated-unwtocto-workshop-sustainable-tourism-destination-management-marketing-s

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CTO launches digital tourism education learning series for Caribbean primary schools

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (21 MARCH, 2017) – The teaching of tourism education in Caribbean primary school just got easier with the launch this week of creative teaching tools by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

The region’s tourism development agency has introduced its first ever tourism education for the Caribbean digital learning series of four (4) e-workbooks, along with activities, videos and fun facts about the Caribbean designed for use by teachers, and students ages 6-11.

These resources are intended to encourage schools across the Caribbean to:

  • Integrate more tourism topics in their curriculum in order to build greater awareness among young students regarding what tourism entails and the significance of tourism to the Caribbean
  • demonstrate the importance of taking care of the environment for ourselves and visitors
  • inform students on how they can play a role in tourism’s success
  • showcase the many career opportunities available to Caribbean nationals
  • have fun while exploring the learning materials

“We began by creating a series of physical workbooks and a tourism module for primary schools which were used in the past by many schools throughout the region, but we felt that we needed to refresh and upgrade our materials and present them in a colourful, creative and digital manner that children would enjoy and which would help them to have better recall,” stated Bonita Morgan, director of resource mobilization and development at the CTO.

These audiovisual materials allow students the opportunity to focus on their country and the wider Caribbean, view their country and the region through the eyes of the visitors and take pride in what the region has to offer as tourism destinations.

The learning series was officially launched at the Hillaby Turner’s Hall Primary School in Barbados, the first school to have access to  the digital tourism resource materials and was witnessed by the principal, teachers and students.

“We are deeply grateful here at Hillaby/Turner’s to have this opportunity to utilize e-resources in the teaching of our pupils. These e-tourism workbooks will enhance the tourism unit of social studies currently being taught in the Class Threes, the nine and ten year olds”, said Angela Edwards, principle of Hillaby/Turner’s Hall primary school.

To watch a preview video of the learning series, click on the following link: https://vimeo.com/user58929604/tourism-learning-series

The learning series can be purchased directly online at www.onecaribbean.org, or by calling and placing the order via telephone at 1-246-427-5242.

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Tourism Officials Undertake High-level Mission to Brussels

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (20 March, 2017) – With the United Kingdom scheduled to officially advise the European Union next Wednesday of its intention to leave the EU, triggering two years of Brexit negotiations, Caribbean tourism officials recently undertook a mission to the European capital, Brussels, for a series of meetings with senior parliamentarians and officials in the European Parliament, the European Commission, the CARIFORUM ambassadors, and other key stakeholders and influencers.

The mission, led by secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Hugh Riley, in collaboration with president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Karolin Troubetzkoy, was held in recognition of the importance of engaging and strengthening relations with both the UK and the EU and to glean a better understanding of how this change will impact the Caribbean tourism industry, its engagement with political leaders, and its access to potential funding.

“We recognise that while the Caribbean tourism sector has had its successes – and we are certainly proud to celebrate those successes – we are also aware of the challenges which continue to stymie our growth,” Riley said. “We are aware that we have friends and willing partners in Europe who share our conviction that the future success of tourism in the Caribbean is key to creating new jobs, growth and prosperity in the region and we look forward to continue to build on the already strong relationships we have in the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands and with the EU institutions,” he added.

Among the many areas of interest for the CTO were access to funding for tourism development programmes under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) and future UK-Caribbean bilateral funding programmes.

The mission, which included Hon. Shamfa Cudjoe, the Minister of Tourism for Trinidad & Tobago, and Marie-Line Lesdema, the first Vice-President of the Martinique Tourism Committee, was able to determine that funds for private sector growth programmes in the tourism sector continue to be available, but that there was ever more competition for the funds; the most successful projects would be those which demonstrated their ability to deliver demonstrable development benefits.

The Caribbean team also discussed with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) initiatives to support environmentally sustainable tourism within local communities, along with training and education, including new possible partnerships for tourism training initiatives.

“Collaboratively, the CTO and the CHTA are always looking for avenues to maximize the economic development potential of the tourism industry to reduce the region’s unemployment, enhance our competitive position and bolster the Caribbean’s financial security. Our meetings in Brussels were an important step toward ensuring the prosperity of the region and continuity of private and public sector partnerships within the UK and EU,” Troubetzkoy said.

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