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Ready, Set, Connect!

The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) is going to ‘town for its 13th instalment of Connect Barbados – the destination’s annual four-day business-to-business market place. The 70 tour operators coming will mix and mingle with local industry players under the stars at the Nidhe Israel Synagogue and Museum in Bridgetown, during the Welcome Cocktail Reception on Wednesday, May 9.

CEO of the BTMI, William ‘Billy’ Griffith, said the choice for the Jewish synagogue was driven by the tour operators’ calls for immersion in the destination’s product offerings each year. “The reason we are able to attract so many tour operators to Connect is primarily because of the desire to actually see and experience all of the selling points of the destination. When they come here, they want to see what’s new, what’s interesting, and what’s unique about Barbados, that they can then take back to their markets and sell. So that’s what we’re doing this year – we have hotels and attractions on board to showcase the best of what we have to offer.”

The Nidhe Israel Synagogue is the oldest Jewish synagogue in the Western Hemisphere and traces Jewish history in Barbados back to the 1600s. Beyond the historical element, tour operators will also get a chance to view some of the newly built and refurbished accommodation properties, including the refreshed Sea Breeze Beach House in Maxwell, Christ Church, and the recently opened Sandals Royal nearby, where the official after-party will be held on the Friday night. Guests will party Bajan style to some of the best in local entertainment, getting a foretaste of the destination’s pinnacle Crop Over festival.

70 tour operators on the way

All of Barbados’ top source markets for tourism arrivals will be represented in the 70 tour operators who have registered to attend, including Virgin Holidays out of the U.K., Air Canada Vacations out of Canada, American Airlines Vacations out of the U.S.A, and online travel agencies Expedia and Booking.com.

Of special note is the large contingent coming from Europe, with 13 companies registered, which is a first for the market. This comes as Barbados continues to increase its presence and activity in Europe, set on increasing business from that market.

The visiting participants will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with local service providers during the two days of business-to-business (B2B) meetings at the Hilton Barbados Resort on Thursday and Friday. Thursday morning will see presentations from the BTMI, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) and the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA), as they give the tour operators a visual walk-through of all the new development on island over the past year, including new hotels, restaurants and attractions. Some of the highpoints are sure to be Rihanna Drive, Nikki Beach, Hugo’s restaurant and the upcoming Heritage Railway by St. Nicholas Abbey.

These presentations will be immediately followed by the B2B meetings. Days before the conference opens, over 2000 meeting requests have already been submitted as both visiting tour operators and local industry partners are eager to meet with each other.

“Connect Barbados is really a win-win for both local and visiting participants,” Griffith added. “In addition to the first-hand experiences available to tour operators, it offers a platform for our local partners – who may not otherwise have the opportunity to travel to the big shows overseas like WTM or ITB or Virtuoso – to interact with the guys who are out there every day selling Barbados. They’ll get to hear feedback on what’s working and what isn’t; learn about global tourism trends; and see how they can improve or adapt the product here to meet the needs and demands of potential travellers.”

On the final day, Saturday, May 12, the BTMI will host a round-the-island Attractions Day on-board a vintage Bajan Open Bus. Tour operators will get to see first-hand some of the attractions discussed during the conference.

Culinary theme

Taking a cue from the Year of Culinary Experiences, this year’s theme for Connect Barbados is ‘Blending Exciting Business Opportunities’. Barbados’ diverse culinary landscape will therefore be on display throughout the conference, exposing tour operators to a range of tasty delights from some of the island’s best chefs and mixologists, and showing them why Barbados is considered the culinary capital of the Caribbean.

Connect Barbados begins on Wednesday, May 9 and continues until Saturday, May 12. For more information, see https://connect.visitbarbados.org.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Pure Grenada, Spice of the Caribbean: Increased Airlift, Improving Cruise Guest Experiences and Adding Value for Summer

The Grenada Tourism Authority has announced a number of new initiatives and programmes aimed at improving the product offerings as well as increasing visitors to the tri-island destination.

Cruise Guest Experience Project Consultancy

Following the visit to Grenada of a high level delegation of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) in June 2017, Grenada’s Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Clarice Modeste Curwen spearheaded a policy initiative to engage a cruise consultancy to improve the Pure Grenada Cruise Guest Experience.

Since then, Mico Cascais with 30-plus years’ experience in the global cruise industry has been engaged to fill this role. A six-month consultancy was approved by Minister Modeste-Curwen with the aim of developing a Grenada Cruise Guest Experience project proposal and road map.

The project is a 50/50 public private partnership between the Ministry of Tourism/Grenada Tourism Authority and private tourism stakeholders to be funded by both parties.

Today, one of the private sector partners George F. Huggins and Company Grenada Ltd. pledged its financial support for the project with the handover of a cheque to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation Arlene Buckmire Outram. Making the presentation on behalf of company CEO Anya Chow Chung was General Manager of the Services Division Sheldon Alexander. Speaking about the contribution, Mrs.Chow Chung said, “As the main tour operator for cruise ships in Grenada, we are delighted to significantly support this initiative aimed at improving the experience of cruise passengers who visit Grenada.”

Speaking of the project, GTA Nautical Development Manager Nikoyan Roberts said, “Team Grenada wants more passengers to come off the ship, experience Grenada and book tours.”

PS Outram thanked all private partners for joining the Ministry and the GTA in the initiative.

Additional Flights to Pure Grenada for Summer

A number of airline partners have announced more exciting opportunities for travellers to get to Pure Grenada for Summer from the main source markets.

From New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, Jetblue has announced a daily service from June 21  – September 4, 2018. Further to the daily flights, Jetblue has increased capacity from August 15 – September 04 with a larger aircraft.

Additional airlift out of New York will include two non-stop Caribbean Airlines flights in August.

Delta Airlines announced two additional flights from Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport in August.

From Canada, airlift capacity has doubled from Toronto Pearson International. Air Canada Rouge announced an additional flight increasing the service to two weekly flights from May to August. September and October will continue with one weekly flight making it an all year round service.

Additional airlift out of Toronto will include one charter flight by Sunwing on August 1 and one non-stop flight from Caribbean Airlines on August 9.

Speaking about the additional airlift, GTA Marketing Manager Francine Stewart said, “ We are thrilled for the additional airlift from our source markets since Pure Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique is in-demand making it a year round destination”

#NextStopGrenada Summer Campaign

Following a particularly long Winter in North America and Europe, Grenada is enticing travellers to come to the destination for Summer deals with its #NextStopGrenada Campaign.

From May 1 to October 31, Grenada’s extended Summer season will provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy up to a 50% discount on hotel rates, take advantage of room upgrades, complimentary massages, children discounts, complimentary yoga classes, tour discounts and so much more. This campaign is perfectly timed with Grenada’s increased airlift, providing more opportunities for visitors to experience the destination and enjoy savings.

According to GTA CEO Patricia Maher “The value proposition for people booking in the summer period is tremendous and they get to enjoy quality accommodation offerings and excellent customer service that bring visitors back year after year.”

For a complete list of summer deals and participating hotels, guesthouses, villas and tour operators visit www.puregrenada.com/summerdeals.

 

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Barbados Targetting Foodies For Summer With New Campaign

The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) has partnered with the Expedia Group to offer even more value and further enhance the Year of Culinary Experiences 2018 with a special summer campaign, ‘Brilliant Barbados: Year of Culinary Experiences’. The campaign places a strong emphasis on Barbados’ rich food history and rum as they promote the destination as the culinary capital of the Caribbean.

The announcement of the new campaign was made during the Connect Barbados conference by William ‘Billy’ Griffith, CEO of the BTMI. “The Year of Culinary Experiences is off to a great start. We recently launched it in our top source market – the United Kingdom, with much fanfare, and it was well-received by all in attendance. Everyone is excited to come to Barbados and to see what all the fuss is about. We think that partnering with a giant like the Expedia Group, on top of all the interest and intrigue the Year of Culinary Experiences is gathering, is going to bring a phenomenal boost to our summer business,” Griffith said.

Under this campaign, visitors travelling to Barbados receive up to 40 percent off accommodation rates in participating hotels and access special dining options including lunch discounts at participating restaurants. The offer is valid for booking dates between May 1 and October 31, 2018 and the travel window is open until November 30.

Visitors and locals alike can enjoy top class dining at some of Barbados’ best restaurants for just US$50.00 per person, including VAT and service charge, and a bottle of wine per couple for dinner. For lunch meals, the programme allows savings of 10 percent at participating restaurants.

There are currently over 20 accommodations participating in the summer campaign, across several categories. From all-inclusive options such as Sugar Bay on the South Coast, to boutique hotels such as The Atlantis Hotel in the East, and the recently renovated Fairmont Royal Pavilion on the West have come on board for this major promotion.

Those who book through Expedia will be spoilt for choice as they choose from 14 restaurants offering breakfast specials, 48 with lunch, and 30 for dinner as part of the Re-Discover dine-around programme.

Strong digital focus

“We are already marketing the summer campaign aggressively in all of our international markets through our traditional channels; however, we are also supplementing these efforts with a strategic, integrated digital marketing component,” Griffith said.

The campaign is also supported by other digital initiatives including robust social media campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, as well as newsletters and online advertising in prime digital real estate.

“As consumers’ booking habits continue to diversify, we are charged with ensuring we remain competitive, particularly in the digital field. This is why we are especially excited about this partnership with the Expedia Group, which is not only our biggest Online Travel Agent (OTA) partners, but also the largest OTA in the world. Expedia naturally has a very robust digital marketing focus, and our in-house digital team is working very closely with them on this campaign, and beyond, to augment our efforts in marketing destination Barbados,” Griffith added.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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New Caribbeanevents.com Provides At-A-Glance Resource For Travel Agents

CASTRIES, SAINT LUCIA (May 9, 2018) – A new online portal for events and festivals scheduled throughout the Caribbean recently launched, providing travel agents with a much-needed resource to help plan and enhance their clients’ vacations.

Caribbeanevents.com currently features more than 200 events, with new events added daily, across the region. This intuitive, easy-to-use calendar provides information for travelers interested in culinary, cultural, musical, and other events, with the ability to search for events by date, island, and even event type.

“The Caribbean has a reputation for some of the world’s most authentic and inspiring festivals and events that on-island partners invest significant human and financial resources in each year,” said Nerdin St. Rose, founder of Caribbeanevents.com. “We developed Caribbeanevents.com to meet a specific need to provide a platform to promote these events while also providing travel planners with concise, up-to-the-minute information that can enhance their clients’ vacations to the region.”

St. Rose brings more than two decades of marketing and event management expertise to the development of Caribbeanevents.com. An authority on doing business in the Caribbean, she has worked and lived in several islands, including the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Saint Lucia, and the Turks & Caicos Islands.

St. Rose also noted the benefit to event organizers and planners to submit information directly onto the site, at no cost in this initial phase.  Destinations can list events for free, with fuller details and live links available at a nominal cost.

Planned enhancements include opportunities for hotels and destinations to add richer, customized content as well as value-added advertising opportunities that include homepage features, video, and direct links for ticket sales.

Travel planners can visit Caribbeanevents.com to search the full calendar of events and follow along for updates on Facebook and Instagram.

About Caribbeanevents.com: Caribbeanevents.com is an online portal for events and festivals scheduled throughout the Caribbean. Travel planners and consumers can research by date, island or type of event to find what’s happening in destinations across the region.  Destinations and event organizers can upload information directly onto the site, with enhanced content packages available.

CONTACT:  Stephanie Strommer   |   [email protected] | 212-229-0119

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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St. Kitts Shines in US Roadshow

Basseterre, St. Kitts (May 4, 2018) – A signature activity in US, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority conducted its 1st annual Destination St. Kitts & Nevis US Roadshow 2018 from Monday, April 23 to Friday, April 27. The week-long series of events was held in New Jersey, New York and Atlanta in order to grow these gateway markets and, in the case of Atlanta, support the Midwest flow market, all of which support St. Kitts’ target demographics and current airlift. These events were designed to educate travel agents, tour operators, MICE planners, media, experiential lifestyle consumers and St. Kitts & Nevis diaspora about everything the destination has to offer travelers.

“Connecting face-to-face with travel industry professionals in the top gateway and feeder markets for our non-stop flights is a vital part of our marketing strategy,” said Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “It is important to develop strong, lasting relationships with these individuals and expand our base of ambassadors in order to grow arrivals into the destination year over year.”

Nick Menon, Chairman of the Board of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, added, “I am very pleased with the quality of attendees and overwhelming success of the week of events. The responses we have been receiving from the media, tour operators, travel agents, MICE planners, golf consumers and diaspora including members of the St. Kitts and Nevis Association of Atlanta with whom we interacted has been nothing but positive.”

Kicking off the week of events on Monday were networking functions held at Caffe Aldo Lamberti in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, an affluent suburb of Philadelphia, and at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank, New Jersey, an upscale borough in the northern part of the state near the shore. On Tuesday, the delegation interacted with guests at a high-tech, virtually immersive event at Lightbox NYC where video of the destination played on all four walls of the venue. After flying to Atlanta on Wednesday, the action continued in upscale suburbs of the city, with events at The Manor Golf & Country Club on Thursday and the Grand Hyatt Buckhead on Friday.

The events each attracted between 35 and 65 attendees, all of whom were top travel professionals representing some of the most respected organizations in the business. In addition to being treated to videos and lively conversation with representatives from St. Kitts, the individuals played games, listened to presentations and won a variety of prizes from a hotel stays to island or catamaran tours and bottles of Brinley Gold Shipwreck rum to golf round trip VIP airport transfers, all of which were donated by participating tourism stakeholders. At the Lightbox and Manor events, the Grand Prize included two round trip tickets to St. Kitts as provided by Delta Airlines along with hotel stays and tours. As a result, many of the attendees are now adding St. Kitts & Nevis as a featured destination they will sell, promote or visit.

The delegation from St. Kitts consisted of: Nick Menon, Chairman of the Board of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority; Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority; Avenice Thompson, Director of Marketing of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority; Denise Zimber, Christina Mucha and Michelle Reed, Marketing Consultants for the St. Kitts Tourism Authority; Tom Jaronski, Golf Consultant for the St. Kitts Tourism Authority; Adriana Suao, Vice President – Account Services, and Stephany Bermudez, Creative Director, of Tambourine; and Candice Kimmel, CEO and Founder, and Cathy Preece, Vice President & Accounts Supervisor, of Adams Unlimited, PR & Marketing Agency for the St. Kitts Tourism Authority.

A number of tourism stakeholders from St. Kitts & Nevis were also part of the delegation, including: Chris Ghita, General Manager, Ocean Terrace Inn; Kayrecia Simmonds, Manager, Kantours Destination Services; Marielle Alexander, Manager St. Kitts & Nevis, Sunlinc; Christine Marshall and Rachel Roland, Sales Managers for Park Hyatt St. Kitts; Sylvia Martinez, Director of Sales and Marketing, St. Kitts Marriott; Jennie Luppinacci, Owner, Hermitage; Natalie John, CEO, Dreamy Weddings; Cyndi Miller-Aird, President, Miller + Aird Destination Marketing for Belle Mont Farm; Jamar Wilkins, Travel Industry Sales Manager, Four Seasons Resort Nevis; and Darren Thompson, General Manager, Royal St. Kitts.

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 watersports, 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.

 

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American Airlines Unveils Third Daily Flight To Barbados From Miami; Launches Dec. 19

Following a year of record-breaking growth, Barbados anticipates an even larger influx of U.S. visitors with the latest uptick in flight service to the country. This month, American Airlines, the largest airline carrier in the United States, unveiled its newest routes, which include a third daily flight from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI). Commencing December 19, 2018, the new route will hinge on Barbados ascension as the Caribbean destination du jour. In 2017, Barbados welcomed 188,970 U.S. visitors – a 30 year high and the country is showing no signs of slowing down.

“The U.S.A is a very important growth market for Barbados and the commitment we’ve seen from our airline partners to increase and enhance flight options is backing this trend,” said Barbados’ Minister of Tourism and International Transport, the Honourable Richard Sealy. “As we know, ease and accessibility are primary drivers for customers’ consideration of a destination, and with this increased service from the Miami gateway, we anticipate even more success with visitor arrivals from the USA market.”

High-level airline partnerships have been a cornerstone effort for Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), and this latest announcement is testament to this strategy.

“We’re thrilled to continue growing our presence in Barbados this coming December with a new seasonal frequency, further strengthening our more than 40-year commitment to this key destination in the Caribbean,” said Alfredo Gonzalez, Managing Director- Caribbean. “With this new route we will now be operating up to four daily flights to Barbados during the winter season from our hubs in Miami and Charlotte.”

The new route will go on sale May 14.

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