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Tobago Tourism Agency Hosts Curaçao Press Trip to Capitalize on New CAL Route

SCARBOROUGH Tobago, Tuesday August 13, 2019:  The Tobago Tourism Agency Limited partnered with Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to host a press trip with top media personnel from Curaçao from August 7-8, 2019, to capitalize on the opportunity to increase visitor arrivals to Tobago through a recently launched flight service between Curaçao and Trinidad.

CAL began providing direct flights between Curaçao and Trinidad on August 02, 2019, with a twice-weekly service on Mondays and Fridays.  As Tobago’s endeavors to increase arrivals from the regional market – a target outlined in the Tobago Tourism Agency’s “Road Map for Growth” – the Agency sought to highlight the ease of connectivity between Tobago and Curaçao via Trinidad, and to promote the unique selling points of Tobago through the Curaçao media.

Tobago Tourism Agency officials led the delegation on an exciting two-day taster of Tobago, exposing them to an array of exciting activities which can be experienced on the island throughout the year.  They were able to enjoy Tobago’s eco-adventure assets, visiting the island’s unspoilt beaches, untouched waterfalls and undiscovered trails in the Main Ridge Forest Reserve. They also enjoyed historical and cultural activities, visiting some of the island’s iconic Forts and monuments, and even engaging in a hands-on demonstration of crab and goat racing.

Oscar van Dam, a journalist from Curaçao’s largest newspaper, Extra Curaçao, expressed his admiration for Tobago and the development of the various tourism sites and attractions.

“I’m really impressed [by Tobago] I must say. I’m impressed firstly by the beauty of the island- not only a very green island, but a very clean island. And I must say that tourism is very well developed, and that’s something that we in Curaçao can learn from. We have like 150,000 people, we’re a little bit bigger and also have sites, but not in the way that you created it.  Now that we have the connection with Caribbean Airlines, we can come more often. Tobago is like a perfect example of how you create tourism, I think.”

Van Dam also indicated that although the flight from Curaçao lands in Trinidad, he believes that visitors from his country would not hesitate to take the short domestic flight to Tobago to experience the cleanliness, nature, and well-developed sites.

“In Curaçao, we’re accustomed. We go to Bonaire, that’s 50 minutes, we go to Aruba… we’re used to that in Curaçao, it’s no problem,” he said.

Tobago Tourism Agency officials were also interviewed by the various Curaçao media personnel on the press trip, in order to promote the unspoilt, untouched, undiscovered island of Tobago in the Curaçao television and press.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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What’s New in the Bahamas for August

Fort Lauderdale, FL, August 1, 2019 – The Islands Of The Bahamas have once again proved to be a favorite destination for all types of travelers. The Bahamas was included in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards, featured in Bloomberg as the most visited destination by private jet and named the Top Meeting Destination in the Caribbean by CVENT. With exciting events in the pipeline, it’s no surprise The Bahamas continues to see visitor growth month-over-month.

NEWS

The Bahamas’ Impressive Start to 2019 – The July ForwardKeys survey showed international arrivals to The Bahamas increased 13.9% in June with arrivals up 9.4% in the first half of 2019. The forward booking situation for July to September remains positive, with bookings 9.8% ahead for international arrivals.

Bahamian Islands Recognized in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards – The Exumas, Harbour Island and The Abacos were named some of the top islands in the Caribbean, Bermuda and The Bahamas in Travel + Leisure’s 2019 World’s Best Awards. The World’s Best Awards are among the most prestigious in the travel industry and are selected by the publication’s readers.

The Bahamas Is The Leading Destination For High Flyers – In a study published by Bloomberg, The Bahamas was the top destination for travelers arriving by private jets. More than two-thirds private jet arrivals to The Bahamas originated in the U.S. or Canada.

Nassau, Bahamas Takes Top Spot in CVENT’s Top Caribbean Meeting Destinations – Nassau, Bahamas was named the top meeting destination in the Caribbean and Latin America by CVENT. The list was compiled by analyzing meeting and event booking activity through CVENT.

Atlantis, Paradise Island Welcomes The P1 AquaX Bahamas World Championship – November 8 – 10, 2019, Atlantis, Paradise Island will play host to the top 40 professional watercraft competitors, representing 12 countries for the P1 AquaX Bahamas World Championship. Additional festivities include a nearby Race Village with live music, local bands, food and activities for all ages.

PROMOTIONS AND OFFERS

For a complete, up-to-date listing of deals and packages for The Bahamas, visit www.bahamas.com/deals-packages.

Bahamasair, Orlando to Freeport For $295.72Take advantage of Bahamasair’s Orlando to Freeport deal, visiting The Bahamas second largest city, for under $300 roundtrip.

The Exumas Day TourExplore the beauty of the Exuma Cays on the 5-star rated Day Trip. The excursion takes guests to Staniel Cay, Compass, Cay, Thunderball Grotto and more. Save up to 25% with the code BAHAMAS2019 at checkout.

Exuma Marathon 2019 at Grand Isle ResortStay at Grand Isle Resort for the Exuma Marathon on November 9, 2019 and save up to 35% on your reservation.

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

Stay up-to-date with the latest events and happenings in The Bahamas: www.bahamas.com/events

Goombay Summer Festival (August 11 – August 31) – Experience live Bahamian music, great local cuisine, authentically Bahamian Arts and Crafts, Junkanoo and lots more at the annual Goombay Summer Festival. Celebrate on Exuma on August 11 – 17, Central Andros on August 16, Long Island on August 24 and Eleuthera on August 31.

Junkanoo Summer Festival at Smith’s Point (August 3 – August 17) – For three consecutive Saturdays in August, Freeport will vibrate with the rhythms of the goatskin drums, cowbells, brass horns and whistles as six Junkanoo groups compete against each other. The Junkanoo Summer Festival will feature Bahamian music, performances, demonstrations, Arts and Crafts and a kids’ corner of entertainment.

Bahamas Hoopfest (November 27 – November 30) – Save the date: The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Thanksgiving Classic will be hosted in Nassau this year. This will be the first women’s basketball event of its kind to be hosted in The Bahamas. View fan packages here.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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National Geographic Returns to Tobago for TTAL Marketing Initiative

SCARBOROUGH Tobago, Wednesday July 31, 2019:  National Geographic Traveller returned to Tobago to capture footage of the island’s unspoilt, untouched, undiscovered product in phase two of a marketing initiative by the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited (TTAL).

TTAL engaged National Geographic Traveller – the UK edition of one of the most iconic and widely read magazines in the world – to capture content in Tobago and feature the destination on their print and digital platforms.

In May 2019, the travel publication sent a production team to cover various cultural and coastal elements of the island, including harvest celebrations in Belle Garden, traditional dirt-oven baking in Castara, picturesque beaches, and the diverse marine life found in the island’s crystal clear waters.

Phase two of National Geographic’s coverage took place on July 24 and 25, 2019, with focus on Tobago’s eco-adventure offerings, from hiking and birdwatching in the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve, turtle watching on Turtle Beach, bioluminescence tours in the Bon Accord Lagoon, and a sampling of the island’s many waterfalls.

The production team from National Geographic Traveller included Cinematographer Mr. Max Smith, and Director/Producer Mr. Thomas Winward. Commenting on his experience filming in Tobago, Mr. Winward said:

“Tobago is unique in that it feels relatively untouched by the rest of the world. There is an authenticity to it which other destinations lack. This makes it an incredible place to explore and an important place to protect so that future generations can enjoy its natural beauty just as much as we have… There is obviously a very strong community at the heart of life in Tobago. It feels like home away from home, and the natural beauty is like nothing I’ve seen before.”

The Tobago Tourism Agency engaged one of Tobago’s highly respected bird experts and ecologists Mr. William Trim, to lead the production team through the Main Ridge Forest Reserve and to the Argyle, Parlatuvier and Castara Waterfalls, utilizing his expertise to spot and identify some of the 220 species of birds found in Tobago.

Mr. Trim was also one of the locals interviewed by the production team, as this marketing initiative will highlight Tobago’s people as well as its nature, culture, and multiple opportunities for adventure.

The resulting content from this marketing project will be a sequence of five (5) articles revolving around Tobago’s unspoilt, untouched, undiscovered appeal, as well as a content hub on National Geographic Traveller website featuring photos and videos highlighting the island’s unique product offerings.

The visual and written content will also be utilized by the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited for marketing activities in source markets, providing persuasive, inspirational content aimed at increasing visitor arrivals to the island.

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Bartlett appoints New Director of Visitor Safety and Experience to further Review Security Audit Report

KINGSTON, Jamaica; July 29, 2019: Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has appointed a new director of Visitor Safety and Experience, Major Dave Walker, to further review the initial report from the recent island wide security audit of the tourism sector. Following this review, Major Walker will submit a final report with recommendations on the way forward by the start of the winter tourist season in December.

Minister Bartlett, who made the announcement today, said, “Major Walker comes to the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) with a wealth of security experience and has been directed to critically review findings from the initial report with a view to analysing the data and providing recommendations on constructing a new architecture for security in the sector.”

Major (Retd) Dave Walker, has spent in excess of twenty three years in the military where he served in various operational and strategic capacities.  Major Walker was a Military Advisor in Sierra Leone and a Military Advisor dealing with matters relating to regional security with the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS).

Major Walker holds a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies and a Master’s in Business Administration both from the University of the West Indies.

Minister Bartlett also highlighted that, “An important outcome from this further review will be the creation of a Manual on Tourism Ethics, a first of its kind, which will guide not just the expectations of security infrastructure in the sector but how we interface with each other.”

Last year, Minister Bartlett ordered an intensive security audit of hotel properties across the island. The aim of the audit was to identify gaps and ensure a strategy of a safe, secure and seamless destination for visitors and locals alike. The TPDCo, which is in charge of maintaining quality assurance within the destination, coordinated the intensive security audit with support from internationally recognized security expert, Dr. Peter Tarlow.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Mid Year Performance Results Trending in a Positive Direction

St. George’s, Grenada – July 26, 2019 – On the heels of double-digit growth and a landmark total visitor arrival of 528,077 in 2018, the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) is delighted to report positive growth in total visitor arrivals of 1% for the first half of 2019. The destination welcomed a total of 318,559 visitors between January to June 2019 compared to 314,916 for the same period in 2018; this represents a 1.15% growth.

The stayover market, which represents our most lucrative visitor, grew by 3.81% with 82,399 visitors staying in our hotels, guesthouses and villa accommodations.  The average length of stay of these visitors from our source markets is 8.5 days. The US accounts for 45% of our market share, followed by the UK with 17% and the Canadian market with 12%. Our focus is on expanding our reach in our traditional source markets and we now have four international gateways in the US for the upcoming Winter Season including JFK New York, Miami International, Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina.

We were able to hold our own with a slight increase of 1.33% in cruise visitor arrivals of 223,051 for the period compared with the phenomenal growth numbers of 220,125 last year. This is testimony of the hard work by the team to increase engagement with the cruise lines and keep Grenada top of mind with cruise executives. The GTA is planning an Aquila Professional Tour Guide training in September for our public and private stakeholders to enhance the customer experience in the destination.

The Yachting sector arrivals for the period remained flat with 15,318 compared to 15,420 in 2018. Grenada’s geographical location south of the hurricane belt should augur well for these numbers in the coming months. Port Louis Camper & Nicholson Marina is currently expanding its berths by 50% to accommodate more yachts for the Winter Season.

The GTA calculates revenue numbers based on monthly visitor expenditure surveys. These survey results indicate that the average daily spend is approx. EC$ 306 for the period January to June 2019. Total revenue generated for the period was EC$ 233,835,812 in the destination.

Based on recent external survey results, the cruise visitor spends on average EC$ 141, compared to the last survey of EC$ 133; a total of EC$ 26,791,436 in revenue generated for the destination. In total for the year to date, we estimate that EC$ 260 million was spent directly in Tourism in Grenada and that is not including the indirect spend in the economy. While this is significant revenue, the GTA is actively encouraging more spend in the destination with the production of a new shopping video and the packaging of immersive experiential tours.

With increased airlift from some of our major airlines, Jetblue, LIAT, Caribbean Airlines and American Airlines for the carnival and winter seasons, the GTA projects stayover visitor arrivals to grow by 5% in 2019.

Chief Executive Officer of the GTA, Patricia Maher is encouraging visitors to enjoy the many attractions and experiences throughout Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique. She added “With our abundance of natural assets, warm and friendly people and safe environment, visitors can discover every parish and island of Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean.”

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Tourism Stakeholders Recognised for Excellence and Innovation

St. George’s, Grenada – July 23, 2019 – It was a night of glitz and glamour as the tourism stakeholders exemplifying service excellence and innovation were awarded. The 2019 Tourism Awards 2019 took place at the Spice Island Beach Resort on Thursday July 18 under the theme, ‘Celebrating Successes, Looking to a Bright and Sustainable Future.’ The initiative was conceptualized to celebrate the industry’s success by recognizing tourism businesses and stakeholders make significant contributions. The awards criteria included, “length of service, quality of service, feedback (online or otherwise), unique selling propositions, innovative business aspects and other contributions to the sector.

Also recognized during the ceremony were the three recipients of the People’s Tourism Choice Award 2018 chosen from nominations received by the public during Tourism Awareness Month in November. Nominations were accepted from the eight sectors of the Tourism Industry.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Dr. Clarice Modeste- Curwen thanked all the awardees and stakeholders in general for their contributions to the industry especially following the historic half a million visitors mark achieved last year. She said, “On top of the phenomenal growth last year, up to May 2019, a 4.96% increase was recorded for stayover arrivals while the cruise and yachting sectors are also on the positive side of growth. This continued growth could not happen without the efforts of everyone in the tourism industry and our people.”

Delivering the Keynote address was Acting Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Neil Walters. Walters. He praised the initiative to ensure that stakeholders were awarded from multiple sectors in the industry. He also stated that because visitors want experiences different from their country, “A whole new frontier has opened up and the only limit is our imagination in the process of turning our normal way of life into an experience we share with visitors to our shores.”

Acting Prime Minister Hon. Gregory Bowen underscored the importance of the industry to Grenada’s economy saying, “If one considers the direct contribution of tourism through sources such as restaurants and accommodation, to the GDP of this country, it is 6%. However, we understand that when we consider the linkages and indirect contributions, that figure grows to 23.3%. This is indeed significant. Therefore, government through the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation is working to maximize the benefits from this industry.”

Receiving the Minister’s Special Achievement award was Sir Royston Hopkin K.C.M.G, the Managing Director of the Spice Island Beach. Sir Royston’s contributions to tourism spans over 3 decades and continues till present and he and his family have build the Spice brand into a world recognized luxury brand. Sir Royston graciously accepted the accolade and encouraged citizens to invest in developing quality products and offerings.

The following are the list of awardees:

People’s Tourism Choice Awards:

Allison Caton, Isle of Reefs Tours (Tour Operator)
Esther Boca, Esther’s Bar (Food & Beverage)
Christopher Mc Donald, (Tour Guide) – Caribbean Horizons Tours

Minister’s Awards:

Food and Beverage-Bogles Roundhouse Restaurant, Carriacou
Transportation-National Taxi Association
Accommodation- Petite Anse Hotel
Adventure Tourism and Recreation – SPECTO, Leatherback Turtle Nesting Tour
Events- Spice Island Billfish Tournament
Attractions- Belmont Estate
Travel Trade- Caribbean Horizons Tours
Sustainability Champion- True Blue Bay Boutique Resort
Cruise Business Development – George F. Huggins & Co. Gda Ltd.
Community Tourism – Mt. Moritz Breakfast

Special Achievement Award-Sir Royston Hopkin K.C.M.G.

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