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BTMI Head Announces Solid 2018 Performance

CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), William ‘Billy’ Griffith, has revealed that Barbados enjoyed a 2.7% increase in stay-over arrivals last year, compared to the corresponding period in 2017.

During the course of 2018, the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) welcomed 681,197 visitor arrivals – 17,686 more than 2017. Over at the Bridgetown Port Inc. (BPI), the island’s cruise tourism was significantly impacted by the effects of vessel redeployments following on from the hurricanes of 2017. This was due to the fact that Puerto Rico, the primary homeport for US based sailings to the southern Caribbean, was severely affected. However, Barbados has been resilient, and through new homeporting business, saw a performance of 826,267 arrivals for both transit and homeporting visitors combined.

“I am delighted by this news and what it says about Barbados’ tourism product,” said Griffith. “It is never easy as a mature tourism destination to maintain growth at these levels in the competitive

business landscape in which we operate, but I am pleased that through strategic marketing efforts we have once again proven Barbados’ value as shown by the record number of arrivals at both the air and sea ports throughout 2018.”

Of the five markets, the United States registered the strongest growth with 8.4%, producing 204,830 visitors to the island compared to the 189,022 arrivals in 2017. Other Caribbean followed, contributing 4.6% growth of business with 77,149 arrivals for the year. Canada grew by 1.8% to 86,723 arrivals, and the United Kingdom contributed 1.4% growth of the business, and recorded 225,519 arrivals, compared to the 222,346 recorded in 2017.

Griffith attributed the destination’s noteworthy performance to a number of strategic and integrated marketing initiatives which were deployed across Barbados’ top source markets. “I must commend our tourism teams both here and in our global offices, whose efforts were instrumental in us achieving this record 2.7% growth. They did a great job individually, and that’s reflected when we look at our overall reporting.”

Some of the marketing efforts Griffith referenced included:

New air services

“One of the key components in achieving positive tourism performance is of course the accessibility of the destination to visitors around the world. Bearing this in mind we have worked to ensure that we are both maintaining our current airlift, while adding new, enticing services to our repertoire, for example the new Copa partnership,” said Griffith.

Barbados’ new partnership with Copa Airlines saw a twice weekly Barbados–Panama service commence last July 17. In Winter 2017/2018, the BTMI also joined with GAIA in welcoming Virgin Atlantic’s new London Heathrow twice-weekly service to Barbados which re-commenced December 2018. Around the same time, Thomas Cook added a new weekly flight from London Gatwick which also recommenced in Winter 2018/19.

Over in the United States, American Airlines announced an addition of a third flight from Miami which commenced December 19, 2018; and in addition, a daily flight from Charlotte also started on December 19, 2018.

West Jet saw an 8% increase in seats last summer between May and October, and last winter, Air Canada also increased capacity by 75% from Montreal with a large aircraft and three weekly flights.

Exciting new attractions and accommodations

“Considering the numerous new and increased services, we also saw it important to ensure that we had adequate and quality accommodations available to the additional arriving passengers,” Griffith said. “We therefore gladly welcomed a number of hotels that refurbished and reopened just ahead of the 2017/2018 Winter season; hotels such as Sea Breeze, Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Treasure Beach, The House and so on.”

Griffith also acknowledged the contribution of the new business that the recently opened Sandals Royal located on Maxwell Beach has already brought to Barbados.

Describing the island’s new attractions as “integral” in differentiating destination Barbados, Griffith added that “I am happy to say that a number of new attractions have come on stream – attractions that will differentiate the product offering we have here in Barbados. There’s the Nikki Beach club that opened at Port Ferdinand, and last December we experienced the grand opening of Virgin Holiday’s Departure Beach. The first of its kind, the beachfront departure lounge allows Virgin customers to spend their last moments in paradise.”

Most recently, visitors to Barbados are now able to take a trip back in time and experience riding the railway line from St. Nicholas Abbey and up the picturesque Cherry Tree Hill. The first trip on the Heritage Railway was on January 21, 2019.

International recognition

Throughout 2018, destination Barbados picked up several awards and accolades. Barbados won the World DSI Award with an overall score of 8.8/10. Over 70,000 global travellers from 24 source markets rated their trips across the globe throughout 2017 including areas such as accommodation, food, quality of beaches, security, hospitality and value and Barbados ranked above every other destination in the world.

In November, Barbados also won the prestigious Star Winter Sun Destination 2018 award at the Travel Bulletin Star Awards in the United Kingdom. Finally, to end the year with a bang, Barbados took the title for the 2018 Digital Marketing Campaign of the Year in Latin America Caribbean with the ‘Brilliant Barbados: Year of Culinary Experiences’ campaign.

New opportunities for 2019

Looking ahead, Griffith said that “While we celebrate the numerous successes of last year, we are already full-steam ahead with our plans to make sure that 2019 is an equally promising year of growth for Barbados tourism. We have high hopes for our new airline partnerships, new hotel accommodations, new product development, and other new marketing activities in which we will be engaging across our source markets.”

“We have packaged 2019 as the Year of Wellness and Soft Adventure, where we will be highlighting the different accommodations, attractions and activities the island has to offer to support the growing and lucrative wellness industry,” he added. “And I am confident that with all the new festivals and events centered around health and wellness, we will once again be celebrating a record year come January 2020.”

Up next for the destination is the annual Connect Barbados B2B conference which sees tour operators travel to Barbados from around the world to experience and learn more about all the island has to offer. The conference is scheduled for May 1 – 4, 2019.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique Ranked #2 for Best Caribbean Island for Romance

St. George’s, Grenada  – Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean has once again been recognized as a great place to vacation and this was highlighted in the USA Today’s Top 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards for several Tourism categories.

To be rated number #2 in the Best Caribbean Island for Romance category is a great honour as we know the Caribbean region is one of the most romantic places to visit in the world. Couples can visit our 15 waterfalls, get a massage at one of our Sulphur springs, take a leisurely hike around Grand Etang lake or just relax and enjoy the stunning sunsets on one of our 40 white sandy beaches. Special mention must be made of the world famous Grand Anse Beach, ranked #4 in the Caribbean.

Local Beach Bar Umbrellas on Grand Anse Beach was rated #6 for being a cool place to hang out and enjoy the vibe while local restaurant BB’s Crabback was rated #9 (Best Restaurant category) for its tasty, authentic, spice infused cuisine.

Our rum factories, Clarke’s Court and River Antoine Rum Distillery were rated #6 and #8 respectively and anyone who has visited River Antoine Estate is in awe at the oldest working water wheel in the Caribbean and can taste the purity of the ancient processing technique while Clarke’s Court offers an award winning selection of island flavoured rums, the newest being their chocolate rum liqueur Amaz-In.

Not only on land does Grenada have plenty to offer visitors but beneath the sea as well.  The world’s first Underwater Sculpture Park was rated #8 and for dive enthusiasts, the Bianca C dive wreck site was rated #4.  Our sister island of Carriacou known as the ‘Isle of Reefs’ got a dive feature with Sisters Rock and was rated #9.

To crown it all off, our hotel product was also featured with the only AAA Five Diamond resort on island, Spice Island Beach Resort ranked #7 in the Caribbean. The Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) thanks the judges from USA Today for the nominations and extends congratulations to all our Tourism partners on these awards, which are highly appreciated as they are determined by popular vote.

About Grenada

The tri-island destination of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique is located in the eastern Caribbean just south of Barbados. Grenada is best known as the “Spice Island of the Caribbean” for its cinnamon and nutmeg production, but the lush destination draws visitors for so much more. The Pure Grenada experience beckons visitors to its 40 white sandy beaches such as the world famous Grand Anse Beach, 15 breathtaking waterfalls, 4 chocolate factories, 3 rum distilleries and more than 30 unforgettable dive sites, including the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean ‘Bianca C’ and the World’s First Underwater Sculpture Park. Grenada’s approach to hospitality is infused with a warm charm which is apparent from its luxury resorts to barefoot chic boutique hotels and villas. There are direct flights to Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport from the US, Caribbean, Canada, UK and Germany making the island accessible to visitors from around the world that wish to experience Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean.

Media Contact

Ria Murray, Communications Officer, Grenada Tourism Authority

[email protected]473 440 2001/2279; 473 420 2557 (mobile)

For all our recent news releases go to www.puregrenada.com/news


Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Guyana Wins “Best of Ecotourism” at Sustainable Destinations Awards

6 MARCH 2019 – BERLIN: Guyana has been named the #1 “Best of Ecotourism” destination in the world. The award was presented to Guyana at the ITB global travel trade fair in Berlin, Germany.  The second annual “Best of Top 100” Awards is a selection of the finest top 100 destinations selected by a panel of experts who reviewed sustainability success stories submitted by destinations worldwide. The newly created “Best of Ecotourism” category was added in 2019 and put Guyana up against very well-known and experienced ecotourism destinations like Sierra Gorda in Mexico, Tmatboey in Cambodia and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

The announcement was made this evening at Berlin’s Messe Berlin exhibition grounds by Mr. Albert Salman, President of Green Destinations Foundation. Mr. Brian T. Mullis, Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority was in attendance to accept the award on behalf of Guyana.

“Guyana has expended considerable effort in recent years not only to develop new and innovative eco-friendly tourism products as a part of the national Green State Development Strategy, but also to incorporate sustainable tourism best practice into all aspects of its strategy, planning and  programming while educating the world about its deep commitment to maximising the positive socio-economic and conservation outcomes from tourism,” said Brian T. Mullis, Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority. He continued, “It is a tremendous honour for us to be recognized globally alongside our fellow leaders in eco- and sustainable tourism.”

Guyana is positioned as the next must-see destination for travellers. With daily non-stop flights already available from New York, Miami and Toronto and direct routes available from Europe through sister Caribbean countries, and it being the only English-speaking country in South America, travellers can experience vibrant indigenous culture, rich history, and hospitable and friendly people in the language both parties know best. Guyana has also recently become the first country to adopt the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s International Adventure Travel Guide Qualification & Performance Standards.

When asked about Guyana’s selection as #1 in the “Best of Ecotourism” category, Mr. Albert Salman, President of the Green Destinations Foundation said “The Top 100 Awards Jury was impressed by the dossier prepared by Guyana Tourism Authority for the Top100-nomination and by the success stories submitted of Surama and Rewa. Both these eco lodges have ambitious and admirable goals and successes, are community-owned and led, and aim at preserving Guyana’s ecosystems and indigenous traditions. The Jury also liked that Guyana has a policy of a ‘Green, Inclusive and Prosperous Guyana’ that provides a good quality of life for all its citizens based on a sound education and social protection, low-carbon resilient development, green and decent jobs, economic opportunities, individual equality, justice, and political empowerment.’”

About Guyana, “South America Undiscovered”

Largely unknown to the world, Guyana is a small South American country that represents six ethnicities and a rich Amerindian culture. Bordered by Brazil, Suriname and Venezuela, Guyana is part of the revered Guiana Shield, one of the world’s most biodiverse regions that includes many endemic species and South America’s ‘Land of the Giants.’ Guyana possesses Atlantic beaches to the north, staggering mountain ranges to the west, never-ending savannahs to the south and 18% of the world’s tropical rainforests. It’s an untapped playground for explorers and adventure seekers.

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Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation Statement on U.S. Travel Advisory

March 4, 2019:  The Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is aware of the recent update to the U.S. Travel Advisory for The Bahamas. We would note that overall, their guidance to citizens remains a Level Two advisory recommending caution, but not actually urging delay or cancellation of travel plans to our islands. We recommend that travelers to any destination maintain awareness of their surroundings and exercise basic precautions, as they likely would in their home cities and when not on holiday.

In reality, the vast majority of our 6 million annual visitors do so without any incident whatsoever. According to Royal Bahamas Police data for 2018, there were only 43 incidents involving tourists, of which 30 involved U.S. nationals and nearly all were minor offences. The Ministry of Tourism appreciates the efforts of law enforcement and congratulates authorities on the progress they have made in significantly reducing serious crimes like murder (-25%), armed robbery (-18%), attempted robbery (-19%) and shoplifting (-23%). The safety of residents and visitors is of paramount importance and efforts to maintain and improve security are a constant priority for Bahamas authorities as is true for all governments.

Safety and security efforts include the use of CCTV in addition to a heightened police presence with foot, bicycle and motor patrols across all areas referenced in the advisory and tourist areas, including additional Beach Enforcement Officers that have been deployed to beaches frequented by visitors. Regular communication is in effect between the Royal Bahamas Police Force Land and Marine Units, Royal Bahamas Defence Force Harbour Patrol Unit and the Ministry of Tourism to ensure concerns are addressed quickly.

The Ministry of Tourism supports the various steps taken to address needed changes in regulation and enforcement of measures to ensure the safety of watercraft activities. The Port Department and, by extension, the Ministry of Transport and Local Government have sought to strengthen its laws governing vessels (including enhancements to the Commercial Recreational Watercraft Act) through the adoption of regional safety codes and requirements under the Small Commercial Vessel Code and Caribbean Cargo Ship Safety Code. Such Codes stipulate higher inspection standards, mandatory safety equipment required on board vessels, criteria for domestic or home built vessels, dry docking inspections and increased ship manning requirements.

These measures are being aggressively maintained or pursued by the Ministry of Transport and Local Government and the Port Department to ensure the Maritime Industry is effectively regulated, thus ensuring the safety of visitors and all seafarers. This effort includes joint and coordinated sea patrols by the Police Marine Unit, Defence Force Harbour Patrol Unit and the Port Department, and development of a citation and ticketing system for those not in compliance.

Safety and security on land and at sea is critically important for visitors and for the Bahamian people. Aggressive efforts are underway across all relevant Bahamian ministries and departments to ensure that our islands remain a destination that provides a welcoming environment where visitors enjoy our culture and our citizens enjoy economic opportunity.

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Saint Lucia Anticipates Welcoming Over 140K Cruise Visitors in March 2019

CASTRIES – Monday, March 4, 2019 – The Month of March is expected to be a record-breaking period in Saint Lucia’s cruise sector.

Between Friday March 1, and Sunday March 3, 2019, twelve (12) cruise vessels including the inaugural call of Crystal Esprit brought an estimated combined capacity of 19,052 travelers to the destination. Expected through March 31, is the arrival of an additional 125,434 travelers.

In an effort to maximize the benefits of tourism locally that is in direct keeping with our current plans and policy trends toward sustainable cruise tourism strategies, special focus is being placed on the development and management of the cruise sector.

We are doing everything possible to ensure that Saint Lucians benefit more from these impressive numbers. A revenue committee has been established at the Tourism Council to yield greater economic penetration for our people.” said Tourism Minister, Dominic Fedee. Therefore, the tremendous growth we are experiencing is a great beginning and we are committed to making this count by training our vendors and other stakeholders to focus on revenue.”

With Saint Lucia’s capacity to welcome Vista, Quantum and Freedom Class vessels, cruise increased by 13.6% in 2018.  The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is projecting 6 to 7 percent growth this year, continuing an upward trend that began in September of 2018.

In the near future cruise travelers will have much more to see and do, as Saint Lucia is moving towards community-based tourism strategies. The Department of Tourism has earmarked eight communities nationally for the development of the Village Tourism programme with the aim of promoting linkages between onshore businesses and other sectors of the economy.

The idea is to convert each of the communities into a tourism destination, highlighting its unique culture, cuisine, heritage and history, thereby creating an experience for visitors unlike any other destination.

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TTAL appoints overseas marketing representatives for Tobago

SCARBOROUGH Tobago, Tuesday March 05, 2019: The Tobago Tourism Agency Limited has appointed overseas marketing representatives in Scandinavia and Germany, as part of the organizations’ continued efforts to strengthen destination marketing in these source markets.

These reps are strategically selected individuals and organizations who use their intimate knowledge of Tobago’s various source markets to effectively reach local consumers, outbound operators, and local media in order to drive destination sales and increase visitation to the island.

Tobago’s overseas rep in Germany is Angelika Wegner, owner of Tourimax: a full-service marketing and public relations agency that specializes in working with clients in all areas of the hospitality industry, from tourism destinations, accommodation providers and tour operators. Tourimax has high profile experience in representation and marketing strategy work for international tourism boards including Fiji Islands, New Zealand and South Australia.

In the Scandinavian region, the TTAL has engaged the services of Tapani Kauhanen, General Manager of AVIAREPS Nordic: a tourism representation agency with strong physical and organizational market presence in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

AVIAREPS also represent German leisure airline Condor, which Tobago has existing contractual agreements with. This synergy presents an opportunity for the Tobago Tourism Agency to secure airlift out of the Scandinavian region- one of the objectives outlined in the TTAL’s Road Map for Growth.

The Tobago Tourism Agency also has existing overseas representatives in other major source markets. In the UK, Tobago is represented by Advantage Management Group (AMG) Ltd. and its CEO Nadine Rankin, while in Canada, the destination is represented by Jesille Peters.

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