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WESTJET begins direct flight to Belize from Calgary, Canada

Belize City, Monday, November 6th, 2017:  A brief inaugural ceremony was held at the Departure Lounge of the Philip Goldson International Airport on Friday, November 3rd to commemorate WestJet’s new non-stop weekly service between Calgary, Canada and Belize. According to WestJet the service is part of the airline’s seasonal schedule for the winter of 2017-18.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Belize Hotel Association, senior staff of the Belize Airport Concession Company (BACC), the Canadian Consulate to Belize and the Belize Tourism Board among others. Short addresses were delivered by Mr. Lynn Young, Honorary Consul of Canada to Belize and the Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation.

In his address, Hon. Manuel Heredia said, “The importance of the Canadian market for Belize can certainly not be overstated in terms of the overall economic impact it has on Belize’s Tourism Industry.”

He pointed out that “Canadian arrivals to Belize accounted for 6% of total overnight arrivals in Belize in 2016. That percentage share is expected to rise this year with the increased traffic from the direct flights from Canada to Belize introduced in the latter part of last year and, of course, with the start of this new flight.”

Most Canadians prefer to travel to Belize to enjoy the tropical weather that Belize has to offer.  But they also enjoy the warm hospitality of all Belizeans and the country’s awesome culture and excellent cuisine and attractions.

According to BTB’s Director of Tourism, Karen Bevans, the new flight “will help with the different areas such as Vancouver and the others that were unable to get a direct connection into Toronto so this makes it much more convenient for a large market in Canada and to open up the opportunities for Belize even more.”

“ We expect that the size of the Canadian market will only continue to increase and hopefully we can expect at least 10% of our arrivals with the addition of this flight,” Ms. Bevans said. She added: “As we heard the Honorary Consul mention more and more students are now approaching him about the Canadian market or schools in Canada and that population has grown and we expect that to happen even more because this gives more accessibility, cheaper cost, so it does create more opportunity for our Belizean people.”

WestJet inaugurated its first flight from Toronto, Canada to Belize in 2016. The new WestJet service to Belize from Calgary, therefore, represents a resounding confirmation that Belize continues to be a growing, viable and a must-visit destination in Central America and the Caribbean.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Barbados Wins Bid To Host 2018 Society of American Travel Writers Convention

November 1, 2017 (Portland, Ore.) – Today, the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) has selected the island of Barbados as the host destination for its 2018 annual convention. This is the first time that any Caribbean nation has been selected as the convention host destination. The announcement was made at the 2017 SATW Annual Convention held in Portland, Oregon, U.S.

SATW is a professional association comprised of 1,100 writers, photographers, editors, broadcast/video/film producers, bloggers, website owners, public relations experts and hospitality industry representatives from the United States and Canada. Founded in 1955, the society’s members represent some of the most influential content producers in the travel industry with work that can be seen throughout all print, digital and broadcast platforms.

“Barbados is a world class destination that is uniquely suited to host the conference in 2018. Despite the intense competition to host our organization, Barbados’ reputation as a bastion of story ideas for travel editors – both those in the U.S. and Canada – propelled its bid to the winning position. From its hotels to its unique attributes, we knew it was a place that would be interesting to our members,” said incoming SATW President, Barbara Orr.

“Hosting this convention in October 2018 will allow us to stimulate immediate social media coverage of Barbados prior to the kick-off of the winter travel season,” noted Petra Roach, Director, U.S., Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI). “These delegates influence thousands of our target consumers via their social media platforms every day, and we are designing our conference to maximize social media conversations.”

Furthermore, each journalist will be taken on thematic tours of the island, so that they can pursue story ideas for their print, broadcast and online media outlets, which will result in editorial coverage that tells the Barbados story to consumers for years to come.

Not only will BTMI leverage this platform to tell Barbados’ story, but BTMI is inviting Caribbean nations harmed during the 2017 hurricane season, who will be on the road to recovery by October 2018, to host pre/post trips as part of the official conference program.

“Barbados was fortunate to not endure the brunt of the recent hurricanes and has remained ‘open for business’,” noted Roach. “However we know that damage has been done to consumers’ perception of the Caribbean, and we see this as an opportunity to change the conversation to one about why consumers should consider travel to this region of the world,” she concluded.

Barbados has one of the strongest dollars in the Caribbean, a great education system, relatively low unemployment and is one of the safest Caribbean islands for visitors. These characteristics underscore a travel experience where visitors can enjoy rich authentic experiences. Barbados is replete with luxury hotels, unique attractions and beautiful beaches and hosts festivals throughout the year with everything from polo events in the winter and spring to its renowned Food & Rum Festival in the fall.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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St. Kitts Welcomes the Caribbean’s First Park Hyatt Hotel

Basseterre, St. Kitts (November 1, 2017) – St. Kitts is pleased to welcome the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour, the Caribbean’s first Park Hyatt featuring the first Miraval Life in Balance Spa in the Caribbean, which officially opens today on the island’s southeast peninsula and brings a new level of luxury to the expanding tourism product.

“The debut today of Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour is a historical occasion for the island,” said Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant. “This elegant and sophisticated property brings the unparalleled Park Hyatt experience to St. Kitts as the brand’s first hotel in the Caribbean, which is a welcome addition to our existing accommodations product and to our overall island community.”

Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, added, “We are very pleased that the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour opens today, as it increases the island’s appeal among those discerning destination travelers seeking experiential getaways who represent a key segment of our visitor market.”

Spanning the secluded beach of Banana Bay at the foot of the island’s lush rolling hills, the 126-room resort will enable guests to discover St. Kitts through sophisticated design, art, culinary experiences and immersive excursions. Home to three signature restaurants, two pools, a destination resort spa and wellness sanctuary, and indoor and outdoor event spaces, the resort introduces the Park Hyatt experience to the Caribbean. From the living walls of the distinctive entryway and throughout, all features of the resort have been thoughtfully and sustainably designed by Range Developments with local materials and unique water features to create an oasis in harmony with the surrounding environment.

All 78 rooms and 48 suites overlook the golden sandy beach and exceptional vistas greet guests at every turn. Each room showcases views of the Caribbean Sea and islands beyond with luxurious touches such as private balconies and terraces, local artwork, rain-showers and deep soaking tubs. Premium suites feature private rooftop swimming pools and sundecks. For the ultimate indulgence for discerning guests, the three-bedroom Presidential Villa is equipped with a private infinity pool, wellness area, personal butler and private chef.

The Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour has been developed as an integral part of the Christophe Harbour resort community. For more information about Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour or to make reservations, visit https://stkitts.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html, or visit www.ChristopheHarbour.com for more information about Christophe Harbour.

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 or ziplining 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: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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BTB extends “A Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund” for another month

Belize City, Thursday Nov. 2nd, 2017:  The Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund campaign launched last month by the Belize Tourism Board, in collaboration with the tourism industry stakeholders, to assist victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria has been extended for the entire month of November.  The funds will be collected from October 1- November 30st. Any donations post end date are still welcomed and will be disbursed accordingly.

Both Hurricanes severely devastated many of our Caribbean sister countries earlier in September.

The Belize Tourism Board will donate a $1 for every tourist arrival for the months of October and November and the initiative is that each stakeholder donates a $1 for every guest; therefore, creating a multiplier effect. The BTB initiative is being supported by participating agencies and tourism stakeholders such as the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), the Belize Hotel Association (BHA), Tour Operators, water taxis, hoteliers and local airlines amongst many others.

During the first week of September, category 5 Hurricane Irma pummeled a number of Caribbean countries in the northern Leeward Islands and the northern Caribbean leaving a long trail of devastation. Many residents of these countries were left homeless, without food, power, water and basic essentials.  Two weeks later, Hurricane Maria followed the same path further exacerbating the level of destruction throwing many of these countries in a severe state of desperation and despair. Many of these countries depend on tourism as their chief means of survival and the devastation by both hurricanes has stalled their economies, which may take several months or perhaps years to recover.

The BTB, therefore, hereby appeals to all stakeholders to donate $1 for every passenger/ guest engaged for the month of October towards the Caribbean Relief Fund in order to ease the road to recovery for our Caribbean sister countries.

The funds will be donated to the Caribbean Tourism Organization, in addition to their existing Go fund me Hurricane Relief fund for the Caribbean. Hugh Riley, Secretary General & CEO of CTO, stated “It’s through this Fund that the CTO channels monetary assistance to our impacted member states. Assessments are being conducted of needs through the Ministries of Tourism and the monies collected will be disbursed directly to the people in need in form of food, medication, water, or material for rebuilding. The CTO appreciates all donations to assist in the recovery efforts of these countries.” 

Further information on the A Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund campaign and transparency for disbursements of funds can be found http://belizetourismboard.org/caribbean-hurricane-relief/

To confirm your participation please email us at [email protected]

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Destination News

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Appointment of CEO to the Tobago Tourism Agency

SCARBOROUGH Tobago, 1 November 2017: The Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation, and the board of the Tobago Tourism Agency, are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Louis Lewis as the organisation’s first Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Lewis most recently served on the Saint Lucia Tourist Board from February 2008 to January 2017, in the capacity of Director of Tourism, as well as Chief Executive Officer.

From 2003 to 2006 Mr. Lewis served as Saint Lucia’s Director of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, where he was responsible for the implementation of the budget policy program. Following this post, he was appointed as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Investment and Consumer Affairs, before being appointed as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.

In the 1990’s Mr. Lewis held prominent positions in several key Saint Lucia government agencies, including serving as the Head of the Research Department at the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, as an Economist with the Ministry of Finance, as well as an Economic Statistician with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank at its headquarters in Saint Kitts.

Mr. Lewis’ diverse background spans the fields of Tourism Research and Marketing, Economics, Statistics, Consumer Research, Marketing, and Project Management. His experience has equipped him with unparalleled insights in strategic development planning, and places him in a unique professional position.

His contributions to the tourism field are extensive and include:

  • Revamping the image of Saint Lucia in the marketplace through two successful branding exercises in 2009 and 2013 respectively, as well as commencing another in 2016.
  • Leading the successful negotiations for increased airlift to Saint Lucia, specifically increased frequency with American Airlines, Delta and Virgin Atlantic; and new and expanded services with British Airways, JetBlue, Continental, Thomas Cook and Condor.
  • Incorporating new research techniques into the planning process to ensure a strategic approach to Product Development and significantly enhance the effectiveness of marketing.
  • Spearheading the development of a five-year strategic plan for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board for 2012 to 2016.
  • Leading the staff restructuring of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board in 2015.
  • Leading the development of a crisis management plan for the tourism industry in Saint Lucia.
  • Maintaining the financial operations of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board within the budget allocations in each successive year, delivering good value for money, and ensuring that all audits were up to date by the end of tenure.

A graduate of the University of the West Indies – Cave Hill, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, Mr. Lewis also holds a Masters of Business Administration from the same institution, and is a Certified Bank Examiner, and a Project Management Professional.

The Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation, and Tobago Tourism Agency Board, are confident that Mr. Lewis possesses the skills, knowledge and expertise to move Destination Tobago forward. Both organisations wish him the very best in this new role and look forward to his contributions to developing the island’s tourism sector.

 

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St. Kitts Reports Christophe Harbour Marina is Open For Business this Season

Basseterre, St. Kitts (November 1, 2017) – St. Kitts is pleased to report that The Marina at Christophe Harbour is open for business, and the island is fully operational as the Caribbean yacht charter season is soon to begin. With little to no damage from the recent hurricanes, the island is an ideal place to start and end charters this season.

The Marina offers a variety of services for visiting vessels, including in-slip fueling, dedicated crew amenities and crew concierge, YU Lounge private jet terminal for expedited arrivals and departures, and a host of expanded services including onsite provisioning. The Marina has also announced reduced berthing rates for the month of November to assist those vessels displaced by the storms.

In support of our neighboring islands who were less fortunate, Christophe Harbour has partnered with YachtAid Global, the disaster relief service which supports remote coastal communities, with the development’s marina serving as the organization’s regional base of operations. Additionally, the development is coordinating relief efforts with the government of St. Kitts & Nevis to support its neighboring islands.

With an onsite tank capacity of 48,000 US gallons, The Marina features the largest refueling station dedicated to a marina in the Eastern Caribbean. This state-of-the-art facility can provide 40,000 US (duty free) gallons per day of in-slip fuelling for vessels, with up to 125 gallons per minute of Sol-supplied, ultra-low sulphur diesel. The Marina also features a professionally-engineered entry and turning basin and is a designated point of entry allowing for onsite expedited clearance. Offering a naturally protected harbour, The Marina has the ability to accommodate some of the world’s largest superyachts.

In September, construction crews installed the cupola atop the Marina’s three-story customs house, officially “topping off” the 11,000-square foot iconic building slated to make its official debut in the first half of 2018. In addition to Customs and Immigration offices, the Customs House will include a crew lounge for visting yachts, the marina office, a fitness center, and a real estates sales gallery.

All seven planned boutique retail shops are open at the Marina Village, including an art gallery featuring local and regional fine art as well as local artisans, upscale boutiques, and the most recent addition – Ballast Bay Outfitters, the first true “outfitter” in the Federation to offer a full line of outdoor sportswear and equipment tested in St. Kitts. Further, Peppe’s coffee kiosk is open daily at the marina village. In November, the Caribbean’s first Park Hyatt, the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour, will debut as part of the resort community.

For more information about Christophe Harbour, visit www.ChristopheHarbour.com.

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Grenada In Top 10 Hot Global Destinations To Travel In 2018

St. George’s, Grenada – October 30th, 2017 – Pure Grenada has been recognised by the prestigious Wall Street Journal newspaper as one of the “10 hot destinations to travel to in 2018” in the world. This accolade appeared in the October 26th Wall Street Journal’s Travel News article. The story was also carried by the BBC UK, which included all the countries making the list.

Grenada was 6th on the list along with places including Shangai, Madagascar and the Faroe Islands. About Grenada the article noted, “On the southern edge of the Caribbean hurricane belt—hit by only three storms in 50 years—it’s flourishing while many of its neighbors rebuild. In the spring, Silversands resort will bring minimalist luxury to the island’s southwestern tip, with 43 suites, nine villas and the region’s longest pool.”

The Wall Street Journal website reaches a global audience of 42.4 million digital readers per month who seek the news and information critical to their business and personal lives.

Pure Grenada was also recently recognized by the Caribbean Journal news site as the ‘Caribbean Capital of Chocolate.’ This accolade is partially a result of Grenada’s four chocolate producing companies: The Grenada Chocolate Company; Crayfish Bay Estate; Diamond Chocolate Factory; and Belmont Estate.  The Caribbean Journal article is quoted, “It’s no surprise, then, that a place called the Spice Isle would produce some of the globe’s most exciting cocoa — and some of its best chocolate.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) Patricia Maher says the latest recognition for Pure Grenada is delightful. She added “with the charming personality of the people and the great stories to be shared, we know we have got what it takes to create wonderful—and delicious—memories for our visitors. It is great to be recognized by the Wall Street Journal as a “hot destination” and we welcome everyone to experience the Spice of the Caribbean for themselves.”

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