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TCI Tourist Board welcomes leading wholesaler partners to the islands for its annual Turks and Caicos conference

For the 14th straight year, the Tourist Board is hosting a travel conference for leading travel partners called Turks and Caicos Conference (TACC). The event takes place on May 8th through 11th and is held on Providenciales for 3 days of meetings through networking and a variety of entertaining hosted events.

The opening event will be hosted at Beaches Turks and Caicos and will be attended by Government officials and tourism partners.

The event will see major industry players such as Expedia, Travel Impressions, Costco, Flight Centre (Gogo), Island Destination, AA.com, Southwest, Delta Vacations, United Airlines, JetBlue and many more including Brazilian, European and UK wholesalers.

“It is my distinct pleasure to declare open, the 14th Annual Turks and Caicos Conference and to welcome all participants that have travelled to the shores of our Beautiful by Nature Islands.
As I reflect on 2017, the number of misfortunes and devastations, and how quickly we were able to recover; I conclude that this is in part owed to you because of your commitment and dedication to brand Turks and Caicos; and your fervour to do whatever was necessary to aid in the road to recovery.
It is such partnerships that make up the very fabric of our success. I am looking forward to this week with much anticipation, and to our continued partnership and commitment to being great stewards of this amazing destination. This year, The Tourist Board will bring the TACC 2018 participants even closer to our beautiful turquoise waters with a scenic boat ride over to the island of South Caicos where we will visit the Iris Stubbs Primary School. Our TACC partners will donate shoes and supplies to each child as part of their community- based tourism initiative to Turks and Caicos. TACC will also visit all hotels on the island as we seek to foster stronger travel relations and create more awareness of our family islands .

Turks and Caicos Islands’ will be our partners slice of heaven to experience and explore. We will ensure a most amazing and unforgettable stay”! Commented Director of Tourism, Mr. Ramon Andrews.

The Tourist Board continues its efforts to promote these beautiful islands, build industry relationships and strengthen brand Turks and Caicos.

For more information, please contact our Providenciales office at:
Tel: (649) 946-4970
Fax: (649) 941-5494
Email: [email protected]

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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American Airlines Announces Miami/AIA Service

KINGSTOWN, ST.VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES, May 2, 2018- American Airlines today announced St. Vincent and the Grenadines as one of the destinations to which its customers “will have new options to escape the cold with more seasonal and year-round flights”. A release issued by the Airline, states that “American is the first U.S. carrier to serve St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVD) with the introduction of year-round Saturday service from MIA.” The release further states that the year-round service will operate on an Airbus A319 every Saturday commencing December 22nd 2018. According to the airline tickets will go on sale on May 14th 2018.

CEO of the SVG Tourism Authority Mr. Glen Beache expressing his elation with the announcement from American Airlines says “to have direct service out of Miami is a game changer for the country. This service will make it so much easier for visitors including the diaspora to vacation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines”. He further stated that “Miami being one of the main hubs for connections in the USA will be an excellent gateway for visitors from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and even the United Kingdom to access the beauty that is St. Vincent and the Grenadines”. In 2017, the North American market accounted for 42% of stay over visitors to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The American Airline scheduled non-stop service from Miami gives visitors and Vincentians another option to travel directly to and from the destination. Currently, Caribbean Airlines operates a weekly non-stop scheduled service from JFK International, USA and Air Canada Rouge a weekly non-stop scheduled Autumn/Winter service from Pearson International, Canada. There is also a chartered Sunwing service currently being operated out of Pearson for the Spring/Summer period.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Pure Grenada Launches #NextStopGrenada Summer Campaign

St. George’s, Grenada – April 27, 2018 – Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, the three-island destination best known as the Spice Island of the Caribbean and for providing travellers with boundless opportunities to explore, relax and experience the best of Caribbean living launched its Summer campaign #NextStopGrenada. It is designed to provide visitors with true value for money and the chance to experience all the destination has to offer.

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.

According to Grenada Tourism Authority (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 brings visitors back year after year.”

Increased air access to Grenada is an added bonus for Summer as airline partners announced a number of additional flights to the destination from John F. Kennedy International in New York, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International in the USA and Toronto Pearson International in Canada.

During the Summer, Pure Grenada offers a host of festivals and cultural events to keep visitors entertained, including the: Chocolate Festival May 11 – 19; Petite Martinique Whitsuntide Regatta May 18 – 21, Carriacou Regatta August 3 – 6, Spice Mas August 13 – 14 and Dive Fest October 3 – 6.

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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British Virgin Islands Tourism Sector Looks Ahead With Confidence

Seven months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the beautiful British Virgin Islands, the territory’s attractions, accommodations and activities continue to rebound. The tourism industry and team here at the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board have worked extremely hard to revitalize the BVI’s tourism product — the lifeblood of our islands. We are fortunate to have the support of our Government, which remains steadfast in its commitment to BVI tourism. Now more than ever, it is critical that we encourage visitors to come experience the BVI they know and love.

Over the last few months, our tourism season has come alive with vibrant events, property reopenings and new local initiatives, symbolic of a BVI renaissance. And as of April 10, the U.S. Department of State has updated its BVI travel advisory to Level 1 (exercise normal precaution), another indication of the territory’s return to normalcy.

The BVITB is pleased to provide a comprehensive update on accommodations, local businesses and upcoming events around the territory as we emphasize that the destination is indeed open for business.

In terms of landside accommodations, some of the BVI’s premier properties are welcoming guests once again, including Oil Nut Bay on Virgin Gorda, and Cooper Island Beach Club. On the island of Anegada, 10 of 11 hotels are operational, including Anegada Beach Club and Anegada Reef Hotel, among others. There are currently 552 total hotel rooms (about 16%) available for bookings throughout the BVI.

The remainder of our private island resorts are working fast and furious to restore their cherished luxury experiences. Guana Island Resort will reopen in July, as will Scrub Island Resort & Spa. Necker Island will have a partial reopening in the fall, while Rosewood Little Dix Bay and Bitter End Yacht Club — among the hardest hit resorts — are expected to reopen in late 2019.

Of course, the wonderful thing about the BVI’s tourism product is that we offer both land and sea accommodations. After the storms, we immediately identified the yachting sector as the first to rebound. The yacht charters have made a strong recovery, and as it stands now, the territory has 1,860 charter boat berths/cabins available. This includes premier charter companies such as The Moorings, Marine Max, Sunsail and Horizon.

Additionally, a total of 36 cruise ship calls have been made at the Tortola Pier Park since December, another encouraging means to bring visitors to the destination. This includes cruise lines such as Columbia and Silver Seas, while larger ships such as Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line will resume cruising to the BVI in the fall.

Getting to the BVI has never been easier. InterCaribbean Airways has expanded service between San Juan and Tortola, adding another convenient connection option for travelers.

When visitors land on our spectacular shorelines, there are a number of attractions that are open for them to explore at their leisure, like the iconic Baths on Virgin Gorda. Our exotic dive sites are open as well, so guests can enjoy underwater adventure and marine life at the BVI Art Reef and Wreck of the RMS Rhone. BVITB is also working in conjunction with the National Parks Trust to revive our parks (Sage Mountain, Mount Healthy, and others) and reopen them for locals and visitors alike. Local businesses around the islands are determined to provide the level of service and fun that patrons have come to expect. Legendary beach bars like Foxy’s Tamarind Bar and Soggy Dollar Bar have reopened on Jost Van Dyke over the past few months. Additionally, museums such as Sugar Works and the Old Government House will return this fall.

Most recently, the BVI hosted the 47th BVI Spring Regatta in March. Sailors from around the world convened on our shores and celebrated another successful week of competition and island spirit.

We are confident that with the help of our yachting sector and the reopening of land accommodations over the next several months, we will continue sailing towards the full rebuilding of our beloved BVI. Looking ahead, we’re excited to share a great lineup of events and festivals that will attract visitors as we move into the summer months.

  • Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta on Jost Van Dyke (April 21-22)
  • Lowell Wheatley Anegada Pursuit Race at Anegada Reef Hotel (April 28)
  • BVI Dinghy Championships at Nanny Cay Hotel and Marina (May 19-21)
  • Second Annual BVI Jazz & Style Festival (May 25-27)
  • Leverick Bay Poker Run (May 27)
  • BVI Summer Sizzle (July 25-30)
  • BVI Emancipation Festival (July 27-August 10)

Finally, with an eye on preservation, our team has just unveiled its Seeds of Love initiative, a project that aims to replant the islands’ indigenous trees and vegetation. Environmental protection is vital to the future of our unspoiled landscapes. Donations can be made through Pledgeling, and the funds will be used for gorgeous trees such as coconut palms, white cedars, and mangroves. The seeds will then be planted by BVI residents, visitors and local organizations. The Tourist Board is also collaborating on voluntourism opportunities for those travelers who want to give back during their visits.

BVITB will launch a new multi-channel ad campaign next month to showcase the breadth of our rebuilding efforts, and highlight the abundant natural beauty that remains at tourists’ fingertips. Plus, a special summer promotion is just around the corner to encourage eager vacation planners to make their return to the BVI.

For real-time updates, visit www.bvitourism.com/bvistrong where you can find the latest information about attractions, restaurants and property reopenings on each island. As our treasured islands continue on the road to full recovery, we must always remember that we are ONE BVI. We are stronger together.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Destination News

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Bahamas.com Wins ‘Best In Class’ at Interactive Media Awards

Nassau, The Bahamas: The official website of The Islands Of The Bahamas has been a hit with visitors, an achievement that has landed the destination the highest honor of the Interactive Media Awards.

Bahamas.com, which is the official Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (BMOTA) site, has won the ‘Best In Class’ award in the category of Travel and Tourism.

The website represents the very best in planning and execution.

Officials at the BMOTA have been hard at work and now rely heavily on analytics to drive smart, data-driven decision making.

To assist with data collection, the Ministry has established a dynamic digital dashboard to see real time statistics like traffic to Bahamas.com and engagement on all social channels.

The website’s dashboard also measures website visitors’ clicks on deals to book as well as converting those clicks to hot leads for hotel properties.

Recently, officials added a commission-free, hotel book direct engine on Bahamas.com, powered by a company called JackRabbit.

For the period of December 1, 2017 to February 28, 2018, the “book now” links from individual hotels listed on Bahamas.com generated 5,040 leads directly to hotel partners.

“This shows that we are moving in the right direction,” said Director General of Tourism Joy Jibrilu.

“The Islands Of The Bahamas has benefited greatly from our online presence and the world is certainly taking notice. We are going to continue utilizing the array of digital platforms to show the world what we have to offer and why it is better in The Bahamas.”

Bahamas.com has seen significant increases in unique visitors and page views, according to officials.

Plans are also on the drawing board to continue to improve Bahamas.com by enhancing the site’s capability for visitors to search for places to stay in The Bahamas.

The website will also expand individual property listings with larger imagery, videos, a map, relevant activities and Trip Advisor reviews.

Additionally, Bahamas.com won recognition by a very large and accredited organization within the web development industry called ‘The Webby Awards’.

The organization boasted about The Islands of The Bahamas saying,

“Congratulations once again to you and your team on EDUCO’s success as an Honoree in the 22nd Annual Webby Awards. Out of over 13,000 entries received from 70 countries and all 50 United States, your work was ranked among the top 18 percent by the academy. That’s an incredible achievement!”

The Webbys is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS)—a 2000+ member judging body. The Academy is comprised of Executive Members—leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities—and Associate Members who are former Webby Winners, Nominees and other Internet professionals.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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BVI Works To Improve Standards For Service And Business Excellence

Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, March 22, 2018…Assuring that guests to the British Virgin Islands have an excellent guest service experience is a high priority of the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board & Film Commission (BVITB).  As a demonstration of that commitment, the Board has ensured that four of its employees were trained under the Hospitality Assured (HA) Programme; two as advisors and two as assessors.

Managing Consultant, Small Properties, Trefor Grant and Standards Manager, Vionie Pickering were certified as HA Advisors in 2016 and Annette B. Dalmida-Scatliffe, Executive Assistant to the Director of Tourism and Clive McCoy, Film Commissioner and Tourism Liaison Officer for Recovery, were certified as HA Assessors on March 16, 2018.

The Hospitality Assured Certification Programme was created by the Institute of Hospitality (U.K.) specifically for the tourism and hospitality sector to improve service quality. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) owns the license to operate the programme in the region.  The programme’s overall objectives are to promote a culture of quality, service excellence and continuous improvement in the Caribbean, which are driven by international standards and certification, to strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of tourism enterprises in the region.

“The Board wants to have our properties, particularly the small ones, raise their standards of operations and service.  We found it fitting to invest in the training of officers in the Hospitality Assured as it is an internationally recognized programme and certifiable within the region,” said Director of Tourism, Mrs. Sharon Flax Brutus.  The Director further stated, “The training of these officers is in fulfillment of our objective to develop our staff, promote career growth and create a more dynamic and sustainable organization through succession planning.”

Mrs. Flax Brutus indicated that the next step in the process is to build awareness of the programme and its benefits, and the Board will be publicizing the programme and providing hospitality businesses with pertinent information on it to encourage them to be a part of same.  “Hospitality Assured looks at the entire operational system of a business and assures its efficient operation,” she added.

Hospitality Assured Certification promises customers that service excellence is guaranteed by the company offering the service.  The Hospitality Assured framework helps to improve quality standards on a continuous basis thereby improving overall business performance and competitiveness.  The HA standards enhances the business’ marketability, thus generating great Public Relations; and instills confidence in important travel intermediaries including travel agents and tour operators.

Any hospitality, leisure or tourism related organization is eligible for HA, regardless of size or composition. They only need to hold a desire to improve service to customers and to achieve operational and business excellence.

The role of Mr. Grant and Mrs. Pickering as Business Advisors is to offer impartial and objective guidance and support to meet the minimum requirements of the 9 steps within the Hospitality Assured framework. Their role is one of facilitation and coaching to help the business recognize its own strengths and areas for improvement.  Grant and Pickering have been actively encouraging businesses in the tourism industry, in particular the smaller indigenous properties to raise their operational and physical standards as part of the Board’s Standard Inspection and Training Programme.

As HA Assessors, Dalmida-Scatliffe and McCoy will be required to review the company’s performance with respect to meeting the requirements of the 9 steps and 44 criteria within the Hospitality Assured certification.

The Assessor, as a sole assessor or as part of a team of assessors provides an independent, unbiased evaluation of a business at the time of the visit and prepares a report, which is reviewed and approved by the CTO and CROSQ before forwarding to the client.  McCoy and Dalmida-Scatliffe are eager to get into action once local hospitality industry businesses decide to embark on the Hospitality Assured Programme.

Other programmes of the BVITB aimed at enhancing the visitor experience include the Standards Training and Inspections programme and the Guest Services Experience Training.  The former was piloted with select small properties with the aim of achieving minimum service standards as well as physical improvements to properties that can enhance the guest experience.  The Guest Service Experience Training is being done in collaboration with the Disney Institute under the One BVI Tourism Awareness Programme which has as its mantra, “Tourism is Everybody’s Business”.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News, Hospitality Assured

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