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Air Canada to service SVG

KINGSTOWN, ST.VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES, May 3, 2017– Air Canada today announced St. Vincent and the Grenadines as one of six new routes for the airline’s winter season. A release issued by Air Canada stated that weekly flights from Toronto to St.Vincent and the Grenadines are now available for purchase at aircanada.com and through travel agents.

According to Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada release “Air Canada is continuing its strategic, global expansion with a diverse range of exciting new non-stop routes this winter to Australia, South America, the Caribbean and the United States,”. The airline says its first long-haul international scheduled service to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the other five destinations, “offers new choices for travellers looking to escape Canadian winters”.

CEO of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, Glen Beache expressed his elation with the announcement stating that “we are happy to welcome an airline such as Air Canada which has a rich history, to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  We look forward to a successful partnership which will enable both entities to grow.”

The announcement from Air Canada comes as the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority continues on its quest to attract international carriers to the Argyle International Airport (AIA) which was officially opened on February 14th, 2017. The AIA boasts a 2,743 metre (9,000 foot) runway, 45 metres (150 feet) wide and is designed to accommodate aircraft as large as the Boeing 747-400s. The 171,000 square foot terminal building is designed to handle 1.5 million passengers annually, more than five times the capacity at E.T. Joshua. The AIA is further enhanced with jet bridges, lounges, restaurants, bars and other shops, all designed to provide all passengers with an experience in keeping with international standards.

Tourism has been the main foreign exchange earner for St.Vincent and the Grenadines over the last three decades and it is expected that the international airport will increase earnings in this sector.  The Argyle International Airport is also expected to increase accessibility to this multi island destination, attracting direct flights from North America and Europe.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Island Update: What’s new in Curacao

WILLEMSTAD, CURAÇAO – May 2017 – The Southern Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao not only recently graced the pages of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017, the most widely read magazine issue in the world, but this spring, the tiny, yet bustling, nation is upping the ante with a new JetBlue flight schedule, hotel renovations, experiential packages, island-wide promotions, and a full calendar of highly anticipated events. Read below to find out what’s new in Curaçao.

ISLAND NEWS

  • Curaçao Featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017

The colorful ABC island of Curaçao set the stage for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017. Curaçao’s striking blue waters are prominently featured in the magazine, which is on stands now through the end of May. The two-week shoot, which was photographed by veteran photographer Ben Watts, included top models Vita Sidorkina, Rose Bertram, Samantha Hoopes, Barbara Palvin and Myla Dalbesio. The crew stayed at Avila Beach Hotel and explored many of the island’s highlights, including Playa Porto Mari, Jan Thiel, Shete Boka and more. For more information, visit www.si.com/swimsuit/2017/curacao.

  •  JetBlue Adjusting Current Flight Schedule for New York to Curaçao Route

JetBlue is adjusting its current flight schedule to Curaçao. Starting on June 19, travelers can fly nonstop from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Curaçao’s Hato International Airport every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Currently, the airline flies non-stop from JFK to Curaçao on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and the trip takes approximately 4.5 hours. In addition to the New York routes, North American travelers can fly direct to the island from Toronto, Miami and Charlotte. For more information, visit www.curacao.com.

  •  Island-Wide Discounts for Summer Travel

In celebration of the Curaçao Hospitality & Tourism Association’s (CHATA) 50th anniversary, travelers can save on travel to Curaçao this summer with exclusive island-wide offers at more than 15 hotels. Travelers can choose from 50th anniversary-themed savings at colorful boutique properties in Pietermaai to laid-back resorts tucked away on the island’s western side, with sales ranging from $50 off room rates, to $50 resort credits to use on dining and spa treatments. For more information or to book, visit www.curacao.com/chata50.

 HOTEL NEWS

  • Scuba Lodge Completes Renovation

The vibrantly colored Scuba Lodge & Ocean Suites in the island’s trendy, up-and-coming area of Pietermaai has renovated one of its five buildings to include six new Superior Rooms. The new rooms include king-size beds, rainfall showers, and small kitchenettes. The 28-room boutique hotel, which is within walking distance of downtown Willemstad and the Queen Emma Bridge, also updated its guest check-in and reception area. For more information, visit www.scubalodge.com.

  • Hilton Curaçao Upgrades Meeting Spaces

The Hilton Curaçao recently upgraded its meetings spaces with new carpeting and aesthetic finishes. The beachfront property has more than 7,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space, including an intimate boardroom for smaller meetings and a large ballroom able to accommodate groups of more than 400. Situated on Piscadera Bay, the resort also features two of Curaçao’s largest beaches, a PADI scuba diving center and on-property casino. For more information, click here or email: [email protected]

  • New Additions at Rancho El Sobrino

Rancho El Sobrino Resort & Restaurant on the island’s rugged west coast has completed its three new studios, which each accommodate two guests and feature wood floors and a modern glass shower. The rooms also include a small kitchen with a gas stove, kettle, refrigerator, coffee machine and more. In addition to the new studios, the property recently began offering car rentals for guests to explore the island. Rentals begin at $40.00/day and guests can pick them up at the hotel or at Hato International Airport. For more information, visit www.ranchoelsobrino.com.

  • Royal Sea Aquarium Resort Introduces New Happy Hours and Breakfast Bar

The Royal Sea Aquarium Resort recently added a new poolside breakfast bar for guests to start their day on the right foot with classic favorites like omelets, pancakes, potatoes, bacon, French toast, fresh fruit and tropical island smoothies. Ideally located on its own private island, the resort also now offers Royal Happy Hours and a Tuesday Night Loko Party featuring eclectic cocktails, a fire show, live entertainment, and Dutch “Dushi” Waffles for dessert. For more information, visit www.royalseaquariumresort.com.

 DINING NEWS

  •  Koko’s Restaurant Opens on Jan Thiel Beach

Jan Thiel Beach recently welcomed Koko’s to its roster of beachside restaurants. The open-air hangout spot serves up a delicious selection of street food, including pulled pork flatbreads, Philly cheesesteaks, a slider trio, and more. The restaurant also offers fresh fruit smoothies, healthy shakes, juices, and cocktails. For more information, visit www.janthielbeach.com.

  • Willemstad Welcomes Shelterrock Paradise

Shelterrock Paradise, a colorful restaurant just outside of downtown Willemstad recently opened its doors. The restaurant boasts breezy wind sails, decorative wooden tables, vibrant color accents and incredible water views for enjoying the sunset. The small eatery, which is already becoming a local favorite, serves up island delights, including BBQ chicken and ribs, fried plantains, peas and rice, fresh fish and more. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/shelterrockparadise.

  • Williburger Opens in Banda Bou

The latest addition to the Curaçao culinary scene is WILLIBURGER in Banda Bou on Curaçao’s west side. The new restaurant recently introduced its very own “kabritu burger,” which is a spicy goat burger. The innovative dish, which is typically served as a stew, has been craftily created into a tasty burger. A portion of the food proceeds go to support talented children and encourage youth entrepreneurship. WILLIBURGER is still in the process of perfecting the dish and plans to expand its “kabritu burger” to various restaurants around the island. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Williburgerclub.

DIVING NEWS

  • Trunkdivers to Expand Guided Dive Options

This month, Trunkdivers, one of the island’s dive operators, will add three new sites to its guided dive options. The first will take divers to see the caves of Watamula, an area known for its volcanic rock, before exploring a steep drop-off. The dive concludes at Playa Gepi, a small sandy cove on the island’s west coast. Another new guided dive option for advanced open-water certified divers is at North Shore, a site that sits 70-80 feet below sea level. Trunkdivers will also now offer a special archaeological dive in Sint Annabaai upon request. For more information, visit www.trunkdivers.com.

  • Hilton and Caribbean Sea Sports Launch Dive Package

The Hilton Curaçao has partnered with Caribbean Sea Sports to offer a special four-night dive package, which includes accommodations, daily breakfast and WiFi, along with six dives. Travelers will enjoy a two-tank dive each morning to some of Curaçao’s 65 distinct dive sites and will be provided with a tank, weight belt and BCD. The package starts at $530/person and is valid for booking now through June 30, 2017 with travel from May 1-July 31, 2017. To book, call 5999-462-5000 ext. 6011, or email: [email protected]@hilton.com.

  • Substation Curaçao Aids Medical Research

Substation Curaçao has partnered with Sirenas MD, a California-based pharmaceutical company that researches new medicines by studying marine biodiversity. Together, the organizations recently completed a trip to Klein Curaçao in search of new sponges that contain chemical entities that modulate human immune response. The dives were completed in late March and ranged between 300 and 1,000 feet. The crew aboard the mini submarine discovered several new sponges, which are currently being researched in the company’s San Diego facility. For more information, visit www.substation-curacao.com.

  • CURious 2 Dive Offers New Dive and Lionfish Experience

CURious 2 Dive now offers a two-tank dive every Thursday to East Point, a pristine reef on the island’s eastern tip that’s home to a school of tarpon, sharks, eagle rays, barracuda, and turtles. Once the divers resurface, the guides will teach participants how to clean any lionfish that were caught, which can then be sampled at The Pier, a restaurant in the Jan Thiel area. For more information, visit www.curious2dive.com.

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Barbados targeting families for summer with new campaign

The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.’s (BTMI) summer campaign, ‘Brilliant Barbados: Kids Stay and Play Free’, is placing a strong emphasis on added value for kids as they promote Barbados as an ideal destination for families.

“Summer is traditionally a heavy family travel period for us,” reported William ‘Billy’ Griffith, CEO of the BTMI. “In response to that, we’ve developed this campaign in association with key partners here, including hotels and attractions, as we aim to be more competitive to the family audience.”

Under this campaign, kids 16-years-old or younger stay free in participating hotels and play free at participating attractions when accompanied by at least one paying adult. The offer is valid for travel dates between May 1 and October 31, 2017.

“We currently have over 50 accommodations participating in the summer campaign, across several categories,” Griffith added. “From all-inclusive options such as Savannah Beach Hotel on the South Coast, to luxury hotels such as The Crane in the East, as well as a number of villas, condos and apartments; we made sure we are appealing to every class of traveller.”

Rudy Grant, CEO of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BTHA), lauded the BTMI for working with the BHTA to develop the summer campaign. “Joint marketing actions by the BHTA and the BTMI, the marketing arm of Barbados’ tourism industry, creates the ideal partnership for the development of the tourism industry. It allows us to execute comprehensive, cohesive programmes that will appeal to our target markets. The variety of accommodation properties participating in this programme illustrates the diversity of the Barbados tourism product, and creates a better opportunity to entice diverse families looking for the perfect summer holiday. Programmes like these help to reduce the seasonality we normally experience in the hotel sector.”

Entry to several attractions is also being offered to families to enrich their stay. Kids and their parents can enjoy a unique underwater experience in the Atlantis submarine, tee off at Barbados Golf Club, and explore the rugged side of Barbados on an Island Safari, just to name a few.

Strategically enhancing with digital

“We are already marketing the Brilliant Barbados 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 announced.

The BTMI launched a microsite, www.brilliantbarbados.com, which houses all of the information for the campaign, including descriptions of participating accommodations and attractions. Visitors can discover the uniqueness of destination Barbados, and follow the steps to book their stay.

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. Barbados was recently ranked number one in the English-speaking Caribbean for overall Tourism and Travel Competitiveness in a biennial report published by the World Economic Forum. One of our strongest performing areas was Prioritization of Travel and Tourism Competitiveness, where we ranked number eight in the world. We also had a particularly strong performance in ICT readiness compared to the rest of the region. We therefore see investing in digital as a tactical means of honing our strengths as a destination,” Griffith said.

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Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean is ‘Free to Wonder’

(St. George’s, Grenada) 25th April, 2017— Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean is free to wonder; a fitting catchphrase for the Grenada Tourism Authority’s exciting new lifestyle campaign launched under the umbrella of the Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean brand. The ‘Free To Wonder’ lifestyle campaign digital launch took place at the GTA headquarters on Tuesday 25th April. The campaign which complements the mainstay Pure Grenada brand combines Grenada’s gorgeous backdrop scenery with focus on everyday people who are free to wonder at the many things they can see and do in the destination. Chief Executive Officer of the GTA Patricia Maher introduced the campaign saying ‘Free To Wonder’ is an emotional connection to the tactical Pure Grenada brand. She said quote, “It portrays people like you and me wondering at the beauty of this pure and unspoilt place; that is what we offer visitors and locals alike; and being a safe destination, you are free to wonder on our pristine beaches, free to wonder at our refreshing waterfalls, free to wonder at our treasures beneath the sea and free to wonder with our lovely people.”

Marketing Manager for the GTA Francine Stewart told the gathering of stakeholders and media that ‘Free To Wonder’ is a strategic move on the part of the GTA to enhance the Pure Grenada brand. She said, “ We are proud of this lifestyle campaign and it will be launched in our main markets by our Public Relations and sales partners.” Stewart also thanked local companies Hexive Creative Agency and Grengraphics for creating the campaign and bringing it to fruition. She said, “ It is a pleasure to have worked along with Grenadians to develop this wonderful campaign.”

Immediately following the press launch, the ‘Free To Wonder’ lifestyle campaign was launched digitally via the GTA’s social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). Followers on social media were encouraged to use the #FreeToWonder in addition to #PureGrenada on GTA’s social media handles @discovergrenada. GTA officials assured stakeholders that the ‘Free To Wonder’ campaign images will be shared with them to maximise their marketing of the destination and their services.

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The Grenada Invitational Legacy: Tourism Industry

(St. George’s, Grenada) 11th April, 2017— Everyone’s buzzing about Grenada. That’s the feedback the Grenada Tourism Authority  (GTA) has been receiving from our international partners following the hosting of the historic inaugural Grenada Invitational. The live broadcast of the Invitational was estimated to reach 90 million homes worldwide via ESPN2. During that time, viewers were treated to gorgeous visual presentations of Pure Grenada’s stunning scenery, friendly people and abundant activities for visitors through adverts and promotional videos provided by the GTA.

According to CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority Patricia Maher, “The GTA on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism was delighted to support the hosting of the first Grenada Invitational as we valued the opportunity to showcase Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean to the world.” She further stated, “Our Marketing Manager Francine Stewart dedicated her time and resource to the Local Organizing Committee over an intensive six-month period and the GTA together with our PR Agency CAMC organised our first international press trip group for the year around the event. By all accounts, Grenada got the global brand visibility we were looking for with worldwide coverage of over 90 million viewers of the event on ESPN. The marketing exposure we received for our tourism destination was priceless”.

The 2017 Grenada Invitational was the first event of the track and field season and it attracted some of the top athletes in the world including Grenada’s Kirani James, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell Brown and Justin Gatlin.  It was a historic moment for Grenada as the achievements of the country’s first Olympic medalist were immortalized with the Athletics Stadium being renamed the Kirani James Athletics Stadium. This moment was crowned by James winning the 400m race to the jubilation of the crowd. Some of the other athletes either posted personal best times or broke national records. Apart from competing, they took time to enjoy Grenada’s natural beauty and they are sharing with the world via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

As for the five members of the GTA organised press trip from Canada, the USA and the Caribbean, they thoroughly enjoyed their experience and are excited to write about destination Pure Grenada. Their social media accounts are buzzing with every moment of their trip including getting the chance to meet Grenadian Olympian Kirani James. The group includes: US travel writer Sarah Greaves Gabbadon (JetSetSarah), Travel Pulses Brian Major, US Journalist Robert Curley, Canadian Travel Press Ann Christine Ruppenstein and Kimberley Honey who writes for the Toronto Star.

According to Grenada Invitational officials, the event will be rebroadcast on Tuesday 11th April, 2017 from 8 to 11pm Eastern time on ESPN Caribbean Network. As part of the arrangement, the 2017 Grenada Invitational will be shown on various ESPN Digital Platforms within a three-month window from the date of the event. Overall, the Grenada Tourism Authority believes that the hosting of the Grenada Invitational and coverage via ESPN will boost arrivals in Grenada in the coming months from all source markets. The GTA would also like to add its special thanks to the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association for its support during the hosting of the event.

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Pure Grenada celebrates 30-year partnership with British Airways

(St. George’s, Grenada) 3rd April, 2017— On April 1st, 2017 the number 30 held much significance in Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean. British Airways (BA) and Grenada celebrated 30 years of partnership and for three (3) hotels their 30 year commitment to service excellence was also celebrated. A short commemoration ceremony was held at the Maurice Bishop International Airport along with a special treat for visitors arriving on British Airways; sweet steel pan music and refreshing local beverages.

In 1987, then Minister of Tourism Hon. Ben Jones and a crowd of well wishers welcomed the first British Airways flight to Grenada commanded by Captain Doug Hudgell. The flight took 11 hours and 56 minutes landing at the then Point Salines International Airport.  Thirty years later, current Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Hon. Clarice Modeste Curwen said she was happy to commemorate the significant anniversary. While there have been some changes over the years the Minister noted, “What has not changed is British Airways commitment to Pure Grenada and our warm and friendly welcome.” In recognition of the anniversary the Minister presented the flight captain with a token of appreciation on behalf of the Government and people of Grenada.

Chairman of the Grenada Tourism Authority Mr. Rodney George thanked British Airways for their partnership and congratulated the Airline for its customer service excellence. He noted, “British Airways has opened up Grenada to the UK and Europe accounting for 30% of visitors from our second largest source market.”

Manager of the Grenada Airports Authority Mrs. Wendy Williams took a step back into history looking at a centre page feature written in British Airways News in 1987. An excerpt read, “It’s not just saffron and nutmeg that make Grenada the isle of spice.  The rich blend of its warm-hearted people and tempestuous past make it an intriguing island to visit.”

BA District Manager for the Central Caribbean Mr. Nigel Blackett said his organization values it partnership with Grenada. As part of the celebrations, he noted that British Airways was providing specials on airfare to and from Grenada during the month of April. He also presented a token of appreciation to Tourism Minister Modeste Curwen to mark the special occasion.

BA Commercial Manager for the Caribbean Diane Corrie recognized three hotels that are British Airways Holidays partners and also celebrating 30 years of operation and commitment to service excellence. She handed over tokens of appreciation to Chairman of the Spice Island Beach Resort, Sir Royston Hopkin, KCMG, Managing Director of the Coyaba Beach Resort Mr. Andre Cherman and Owner of the Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa, Mr. Leo Garbutt. Tourism Minister Modeste Curwen also congratulated the hoteliers on their contributions to the industry. British Airways now operates a twice-weekly service to Grenada.

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