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British Virgin Islands Continue to Achieve Recovery Milestones

TORTOLA, BVI — When Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean last September, it made a particularly harsh impact on the spectacular shores that 30,000 of my fellow BVIslanders and I call home.

But one year later, I am pleased to say that the Herculean efforts put forth by the local community, international volunteers and the BVI government have paid off. The beaches have been cleaned up, roads cleared, and visitors are flocking into the territory once again.

As the largest sector of the economy, restoring the BVI’s tourism product was a huge priority during the immediate aftermath of the storm. There is still work to be done, but we at the BVI Tourist Board are proud to recognize the progress made over the past year. The BVI Reborn video gives a glimpse into the progress of our recovery.

The charter yacht and sailing industry was the first to rebound, with some operators accepting guests as soon as November 2017 to jumpstart the winter season. Cruise calls resumed at Tortola Pier Park the following month, bringing in thousands more visitors. Disney Cruise Line made its return just days ago to much fanfare, and Norwegian Cruise Line will follow in Fall 2018. We are expecting a remarkable 2018/2019 cruise season with projections of over 200 calls and 400,000 passengers at Tortola Pier Park and Road Harbour alone.  Additionally, we expect over 50 calls by the smaller boutique ships, to other islands including; Anegada, Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda, demonstrating the diversity of our destination to accommodate cruise visitors.

To date, many of the BVI’s premier resorts have come back online as well. This includes: Scrub Island Resort & Spa, Cooper Island Beach Club, Guana Island Resort, Oil Nut Bay, Anegada Beach Club, and more. Visitors will enjoy enhanced offerings at several of these properties, including an expanded private beach at Scrub Island, and brand-new glamping accommodations at Anegada Beach Club. In fact, Anegada has emerged as a must-visit island thanks to its unique attractions like world-class kitesurfing, amazing conch shell mounds and iconic bright pink flamingos. The only coral island in the group, Anegada boasts the Caribbean’s third largest barrier reef, the Horseshoe Reef.

Oil Nut Bay has significantly upgraded its facilities, and this December, will be offering stunning new one-bedroom suites with nightly availability. A marina village with 93 slips that can accommodate yachts up to 40 meters, will also be opened in December.  The resort’s helipad which facilitates air arrivals along with the new facilities, will now give guests the freedom to explore neighboring islands, embarking by boat or helicopter, with ease.

As of August 15, there are 769 rooms on land and 2,930 berths available throughout the Territory. By winter season, that number will rise to over 1,000 rooms and 3,200 berths. Necker Island is scheduled to reopen on October 1st, with several of our luxury properties to follow in late 2019 including Bitter End Yacht Club and Rosewood Little Dix Bay.

Traveling to the BVI has never been easier. We have regained full capacity in terms of airlift and ferry service, with some airlines even expanding service between San Juan and Tortola.

Over the past several months, we have hosted major events like the annual BVI Spring Regatta and the Emancipation Festival, a celebration that highlighted our culture and resilience. This November, BVI Food Fete will return with a fantastic lineup of culinary events.

As we reflect on the lessons learned from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the BVI recognizes the need to plan for the future. The government successfully restored 100% of power across all of our islands by May 2018, while continuing efforts to strengthen our infrastructure in anticipation of future storms. Click here for information on the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Act.

There is also a new Disaster Alert App launched by the BVI Department of Disaster Management to improve disaster alert notifications for our residents and guests.

For those looking to offer their support to the BVI, the most vital way to help — as always — is by booking a trip and patronizing our local hotels and businesses. The Tourist Board will also continue running the Seeds of Love program to replant the islands’ indigenous trees and vegetation in Tortola, Virgin Gorda and other islands. Donations can be made here.

General donations for the territory are still welcome through the BVI Recovery Fund.

The BVI is grateful to all of the volunteers and “voluntourists” who have devoted time and energy to our recovery. We thank everyone for their passionate support, as the British Virgin Islands continue to progress, and we look forward to providing ongoing updates on the status of our cherished islands.

On September 6, the BVI Government will hold a “Service of Thanksgiving, Reflection and Restoration” on Tortola, while an interdenominational prayer service will be held on Virgin Gorda, recognizing our “Journey to Healing.”  #BVILove

About the British Virgin Islands

Known as a treasured destination rich in undiscovered experiences, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is an alluring archipelago comprising 60 islands and cays located 80 kilometers (60 miles) east of Puerto Rico, in the northwestern region of the Caribbean Sea. The main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke have attracted travelers globally with their cultural Caribbean authenticity. Located in Tortola, Road Town is the BVI’s capital.

Ranked #1 Best Place to Visit in the Caribbean by U.S. News for two consecutive years in 2017 and 2018, the BVI is where nature’s best secrets are kept with an abundance of pristine beaches, azure seas, towering sage mountains and burnt-orange sunsets. It’s no wonder the BVI’s Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke were featured on the “Top Islands in the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas” list in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2017 and 2018.

Despite its status as a United Kingdom territory, the BVI uses the U.S. dollar as its official currency.

The BVI Tourist Board invites everyone to experience the tropical mystique of the country’s unparalleled and enriching offerings. For more information, visit www.bvitourism.com.

Posted in: 2018 News, Caribbean Recovery, Destination News

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New flights from Air Antilles add 2016 additional seats into the Nature Island

Roseau, Dominica – (August 29, 2018) The Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Air Access Committee of Discover Dominica Authority have successfully negotiated an additional 2016 seats into the destination from two new flights added by Air Antilles.  The flights will commence on November 1, 2018, departing Pointe-a-Pitre (PTP) at 9pm to arrive in Dominica at 9:30pm on Thursdays and Sundays.  The aircraft will overnight in Dominica and depart the next mornings (Fridays and Mondays) at 5:30am to reach Pointe-a Pitre at 6:00am.  The flights will terminate for the season on March 29, 2019.

During this period, a total of forty two (42) flights will operate on the ATR 42 with capacity of 48 passengers, allowing for movement of up to 2016 in and 2016 out of Dominica.  These flights allow travelers to connect from the following international flights:

  • Norwegian: from JFK, New York
  • Air France: from Paris Orly
  • Air Caraibes: from Paris Orly
  • Corsair: from Paris Orly
  • Level: from Paris Charles de Gaulle
  • XL Airways: from Paris Charles de Gaulle

With the introduction of this new service, travelers to Dominica will benefit by having same day connections and also from a cost standpoint.  Travelers will have same day access from JFK into Dominica via connections with the low cost carrier Norwegian Airlines and similarly same day connections from Europe and especially France at reasonable rates from airlines departing from Paris Orly.

Tour Operators, travel agents and consumers will have visibility of these flight in the Global Distribution System (GDS) and on popular online travel agent sites allowing for a myriad of ways to book your adventure to Dominica.  Furthermore Air France will offer a code share with Air Antilles on these flights allowing for greater visibility of the flights on the Air France website and network and offering travelers additional benefits of that code share arrangement.

According to Colin Piper, Director of Tourism, “while there are a number of ways to get to Dominica these flights were planned to offer connections to Norwegian to take advantage of their lower fares, and also to provide alternatives and convenience in same day access to travelers from Europe and the US to get to Dominica.”

Leisure visitors as well as Dominicans residing abroad are expected to take advantage of this new service when planning their travels to the Nature Isle.

For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 767 448 2045. Or, visit Dominica’s official website: www.DiscoverDominica.com, see Dominica’s updates on the tourism sector post Hurricane Maria: www.dominicaupdate.com, follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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BAHAMAS REVEALS STRONG POSITIVE TRENDS IN INTERNATIONAL ARRIVALS

NASSAU, Bahamas (Aug 16, 2018) – International arrivals in The Bahamas show a solid growth of +10.2 percent year-to-date, maintaining the tourism turnaround that began in October of 2017. The growth trend is driven by strong performance from the U.S. but a 29.6 percent increase through July in arrivals from Canada is also contributing to the overall growth story. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation restarted robust marketing and communications efforts in North America telling The Bahamas travel story to consumers by bringing travel journalists and digital influencers to the country, and using strategic content and digital amplification to reach travel decision makers. The Ministry is already underway with the marketing program for 2018-19 and anticipates continued business growth supported by this work.

“We have seen very good news and gratifying results across major Bahamian tourism sectors in recent months and are very encouraged. Using our new tracking tools, we have seen double-digit increases in international arrivals and strong business on the books for future months. Lynden Pindling International Airport has reported historic arrival numbers for the country’s premier airport facility. Browse Nassau hotels on Trip Advisor for this coming weekend and you may see that most of the hotels are projected to sell out soon and we are seeing very strong occupancy rates. These outcomes are validation of the marketing and communications work we have been doing,” said Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism and Aviation.

A new communications program is underway for the 2018-19 fiscal year and writers and influencers from the U.S. will arrive within days to kick off a new cycle of Bahamas storytelling. Writers from major publications including Good Housekeeping, Essence and Red Tricycle will visit The Abacos next week to capture the island-hopping and family travel options there. Grand Bahama Island will host a select group of influencers for an itinerary specially curated to develop visual stories to showcase the water, beaches and local heritage of the island for important platforms like Instagram. Development of a late fall trip to Cat Island is underway, along with ongoing outreach to media to promote fall travel offers and events, and to support several new American Airlines flights into the destination.

The Ministry of Tourism is also deploying advertising across a variety of broadcast, digital and out-of-home channels in key markets, raising awareness of the destination. An ambitious content marketing program complements this traditional advertising with the goal of inspiring consumers to explore more islands across the country.

The Ministry of Tourism expects tourism growth to continue as bookings are up 6.7 percent over the August to October period and show a 10 percent increase for the final two months of 2018.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Grenada Wins Cruise Critic’s 2018 Destination Award

St. George’s, Grenada – August 20, 2018 – The numbers are in and the three-island destination of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique was named a Top-Rated Southern Caribbean Cruise Destination in Cruise Critic’s third annual Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards. The award is based entirely on consumer ratings submitted with reviews on CruiseCritic.com and as a destination awarded in this category, Grenada received high ratings among cruisers who visited the island in the past year.

“On behalf of Pure Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, we are truly humbled by this award and thrilled to be named a top destination for cruisers,” said Patricia Maher, CEO of Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA). “To be recognized by our visitors is a remarkable honor and one that we do not take for granted. So far in 2018, growth in our cruise sector is trending upward and we will continue to work on elevating the product and experiences, to exceed expectations and keep Grenada top-of-mind with visitors to our shores.”

“Our data regularly shows that whether you’re a first-time cruiser or you’ve sailed dozens of times, destination is a top consideration when shopping for a cruise,” explains Colleen McDaniel, Senior Executive Editor of Cruise Critic. “While tropical destinations will always be popular among cruisers, what’s really exciting to see is the rise in esteem of destinations more known for their immersive and experiential offerings.”

Cruise Critic®, the world’s leading cruise reviews site and online cruise community, boasts the largest online cruise community, with more than 350,000 cruise reviews, covering approximately 500 cruise ships and over 300 worldwide ports.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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St. Kitts Welcomes Wednesday Peak Season Service from United Airlines

Basseterre, St. Kitts (August 20, 2018) – For the first time in the island’s history, United Airlines will fly a second weekly nonstop flight from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to St. Kitts, complementing the carrier’s existing Saturday service.

“The addition of a mid-week flight by United Airlines marks yet another historic first for St. Kitts this year,” said the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce. “I could not be more pleased to welcome this additional service, which increases the available options for visitors and Diaspora to get to island during peak travel season from the New York metropolitan area, which is our primary source market for arrivals.”

For the period from January 9 through March 6, 2019, United will operate a total of 9 scheduled round-trip, non-stop Wednesday flights between Newark and St. Kitts. 

Depart                         Arrive

EWR 8:35am               SKB 2:05pm

SKB 3:05pm                EWR 7:07pm 

*Note: Flights are listed in local time and schedules are subject to change. St. Kitts observes Atlantic Standard Time (AST; UTC-4 hours).

“We are thrilled that United has decided to provide a second weekly non-stop flight to St. Kitts,” said Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “Having a Wednesday flight gives travelers more flexibility in their vacation planning and provides increased capacity during the period when demand is highest. This is a testament to the success of our work to grow North American airlift from key gateways in order to accommodate new hotel developments and existing hotel product upgrades.”

United first began serving St. Kitts in December 2015 and continues to operate non-stop Saturday flights from Newark. With the addition of these 9 Wednesday flights, there is a greater potential for an increase in air passenger arrivals into St. Kitts.

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4,600 flights a day to 357 airports across five continents. In 2017, United and United Express operated more than 1.6 million flights carrying more than 148 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark/New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 757 mainline aircraft and the airline’s United Express carriers operate 551 regional aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “UAL”.

About St. Kitts

Intoxicating natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters, and sandy beaches combine to make St. Kitts one of the most seductive spots in the Caribbean. Located in the northern Leeward Islands, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are water sports, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on the beach. For more information about St. Kitts, visit www.stkittstourism.kn.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Aeromexico announces new flight to Belize

Belize City, Monday, 13th August, 2018:   Aeromexico, Mexico’s global airline, today announced the start of a seasonal twice a week nonstop flight to Belize starting on November 17th to April 28th making it the first major Mexican commercial airline to offer such service to the country of Belize.

Aeromexico’s flight 67 will be on Saturdays and Sundays. It will depart Mexico at 8:30 am and will arrive at the Phillip S. W. Goldson International Airport at 10:30 am.  It will depart Belize at 12:00 and arrive in Mexico at 2:25 pm.

“Mexico is a fast growing market for Belize and therefore we welcome Aeromexico’s new flight as it will highly facilitate the movement of people between both neighboring countries. Belize is a country of countless attributes. Its cultural and natural wealth is virtually unmatched.  Its indigenous lineage and multiple ethnic groups, excellent cuisine and friendly people, and the many historical attractions, festivals and natural wonders all makes Belize a perfect Destination, which Mexicans will surely enjoy,” said Mrs. Karen Bevans, BTB’s Director of Tourism.

Mrs. Bevans added that “the BTB is also dedicated to developing and implementing tourism programs that will help strengthen and grow the Belizean tourism industry; promote good destination stewardship; and instill high quality standards for accommodations.”

Announcing the new flight, Aeromexico’s Chief Revenue Officer, Anko van der Werff said “At Aeromexico, we are very happy to celebrate this new route that has also become the airline’s 50th international destination, which will help us expand our global connectivity network. This achievement is another sign that we are working to offer better products to our customers, removing barriers between countries, regions, and people.”

Aeromexico first served New York City in 1957 as its first outside of Mexico destination and since than it has become Mexico’s global airline set on a course to offer travellers enhanced options to connect them with the world.

Aeromexico has served the Central American market for more than 11 years and operates more than 600 scheduled passenger flights per day, with service to 43 destinations in Mexico and 49 international destination from Mexico City. Its fleet  of more than 130 aircraft includes Boeing 787 and 737 jet airliners.

For further details on the new route please visit www.aeromexico.com

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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