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Adam Stewart of Sandals Resorts to Deliver Keynote at CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Conference in Grenada

BARBADOS (April 3, 2024) – Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, will keynote the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Sustainable Tourism Conference, which will take place in St. George’s, Grenada, from April 22 to 24, 2024. The pivotal conference, produced in partnership with the Grenada Tourism Authority, will explore the 5 Ps – People, Planet, Prosperity, Purpose and Partnership, with the aim of catalyzing transformative action towards a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable future for Caribbean tourism.

An industry pioneer and staunch advocate for sustainable tourism, Adam Stewart brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in sustainable development, community-focused tourism, and responsible tourism practices to the conference. As President of the Sandals Foundation, Stewart is deeply committed to enhancing the Caribbean community’s future. Additionally, his role as chair of Jamaica’s Tourism Linkages Council underscores his dedication to boosting local supplier capacity and competitiveness, ensuring the broader benefits of tourism work for all.

“We are honored to have Adam Stewart, a globally respected thought leader, as our keynote speaker for the Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development,” said Dona Regis-Prosper, CTO’s Secretary-General and CEO. “His commitment to sustainability and his dedication to the Caribbean make him the ideal choice to inspire our delegates and drive the discussion on advancing sustainable tourism in the region.”

For decades, Sandals Resorts International has led by example in sustainable tourism, spearheading various initiatives through the Sandals Foundation to support community-based environmental projects. These efforts range from marine conservation to education and the preservation of natural resources.

“We are certain that Mr. Stewart’s words will challenge attendees to leave with the unwavering commitment to integrating sustainable practices into their operations, enhancing destination resilience, and positively impacting local communities,” underscores Petra Roach, Chief Executive Officer of the Grenada Tourism Authority. “As we continue to prioritize these sustainable values, it is imperative that our region puts forward meaningful action that will benefit the Caribbean for generations to come.”

The conference, sponsored by interCaribbean Airways, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Silversands Grenada, aims to provide a collaborative platform for industry leaders, policymakers and experts to tackle the environmental, social and economic challenges facing the Caribbean region. Attendees will leave with actionable insights on integrating sustainable practices into their operations, enhancing destination resilience, and positively impacting local communities.

For further information on the conference and registration details, visit caribbeanstc.com. To learn more about the Grenada Tourism Authority, visit www.puregrenada.com

Posted in: 2024 News, Blog, STC

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Caribbean Tourism Experiences Strong Growth in 2023, Recovery to Continue into 2024

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (March 15, 2024) – Continuing its positive recovery trend, Caribbean tourism grew in 2023 with an estimated 14.3% increase in international stay-over arrivals to the region, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has reported.

Delivering the “Caribbean Tourism Performance Review 2023” in Bridgetown today, Dona Regis-Prosper, Secretary-General of the CTO, shared that last year’s growth was in line with CTO’s forecast for the year, and attributed the outcome to sustained demand for outbound travel from the United States – the Caribbean’s main source market, enhanced tourism-related infrastructure within the destinations, the fulfillment of strategic marketing initiatives, and augmented airlift capacity between the region and its source markets, albeit unevenly distributed among the destinations.

The recovery of global tourism has been resilient, despite variability in the regional performances, according to Regis-Prosper, with the Caribbean surpassing pre-pandemic arrivals by a modest 0.8%, outperforming most of the main global regions in terms of recovery.

“Based on preliminary data provided so far by the destinations in the Caribbean, tourist visits were approximately 32.2 million – about four million more than in 2022,” stated Regis-Prosper, who noted that the data showed that each month’s arrivals exceeded those of 2022 thus establishing a continuous growth trend over the past 33 months as tourism steadily rebounded toward pre-pandemic levels.

Arrival levels amongst Caribbean destinations either significantly recovered or moderately exceeded the benchmark numbers of 2019, with 11 destinations, Anguilla, Aruba, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Turks & Caicos Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands performing better than in 2019. The majority of those recovered greater than 50% of their 2019 arrivals. In addition, multiple destinations registered new record levels for tourist arrivals in a single year.

United States and Canada Markets

For the Caribbean, only the U.S. market has fully recovered, while the recovery rates of arrivals from Europe and Canada reached 88.2% and 88.1%, respectively. An estimated 16.3 million stay-over arrivals to the region came from the United States, representing an annual growth rate of 12.7%. The performance here established a new record level of arrivals from this market and surpassed the pre-pandemic arrivals by 4.2%. The performance of the Canadian market resulted in an estimated three million Canadian tourist visits by the end of the year, an increase of 46.1% compared to 2022. Increased air service from major Canadian cities to Caribbean destinations played a pivotal role in driving up visitor numbers.

Europe, Caribbean and South America Markets

Regis-Prosper noted that arrivals from Europe to the Caribbean region were stagnant in 2023. A total of approximately 5.2 million trips originated from the market. In 2023, travel among Caribbean residents to destinations within the region increased by approximately 3.6%, a total of 1.6 million trips, which was 0.3 million more compared to 2022. This also indicated a recovery of 62.5% from pre-pandemic levels. “Despite this positive outcome, intra-regional travel remained expensive due to fragmented air service and reduced air capacity,” said Regis-Prosper. By the end of the year, trips from South America to the region surged by an estimated 14%, totaling 1.7 million trips.

Caribbean Hotel Performance

The Caribbean hotel sector experienced a remarkable turnaround in 2023, including a surge in the establishment of new hotels and resorts. According to STR, throughout the Caribbean, average room occupancy grew to 65.6% in 2023 from 61% in 2022. The average daily rate (ADR) experienced a considerable increase of 11.8% with the region’s ADR reaching US$329.37 while the revenue per available room (RevPAR) jumped 20.2% to US$215.97.

Cruise Tourism Performance

Preliminary data for 2023 showed that Caribbean destinations received an estimated 31.1 million cruise visits, reflecting an increase of 11.3 million visits or 56.8% compared to 2019. This level established a new record for the regional cruise sector, surpassing the previous record of 2019 by 2.4%. Pent-up demand and the resumption of operations drove strong bookings for Caribbean cruises, along with improvements in cruise infrastructure such as larger ships, enhanced facilities, itineraries, and shore excursions.

Projections indicate that the cruise sector will continue its upward track, with an estimated 34.2 million to 35.8 million cruise visits expected in the Caribbean in 2024. This anticipated expansion falls within the range of 10% and 15%.

Remarkable Resilience

Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism, Kenneth Bryan, who also serves as the Cayman Islands’ Minister of Tourism and Ports, noted the remarkable resilience of the tourism industry and its ongoing recovery and growth in 2023. However, he emphasized that the industry and the region will continue to face an array of challenges, including the high cost of travel, ongoing conflicts, heightened geopolitical tensions, and their anticipated impacts, in 2024.

“Caribbean destinations remain adaptable and responsive, and the region is still highly desired by travelers for its safety and diversity of tourism products,” stated Chairman Bryan, adding that the region will also be positively impacted by key developments in 2024, including increased air capacity throughout the year, which will facilitate greater access between the destinations and some of their legacy and emerging markets.

Chairman Bryan also pointed to “intensive strategic marketing initiatives” that are being executed to attract visitors to the region to enjoy its culture and heritage, including its carnivals and festivals.

He noted that the CTO is pleased that the ICC (International Cricket Council) Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 is being hosted in several destinations bringing not only teams but also their loyal followers to the region and further raising awareness and promoting the diverse offerings of Caribbean destinations to global audiences.

“Hence, the Caribbean’s prospects appear highly promising, with more regional destinations poised to either match or surpass the arrival figures recorded in 2019. Anticipated growth is forecast to range between five percent and 10 percent, potentially welcoming between 33.8 million and 35.4 million stay-over tourists,” concluded Chairman Bryan.

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CTO to Spotlight the Caribbean at Routes Americas 2024 in Bogotá

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (March 13, 2024) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is poised to positively impact the Routes Americas in Bogotá, Colombia, next week. This premier air service development forum uniting the Americas brings together senior decision-makers from the region’s leading airlines, airports and other tourism and aviation stakeholders.

The CTO delegation, led by Secretary-General and CEO Dona Regis-Prosper and Faye Gill, Director of Membership Services, will attend at the CORFERIAS business and exhibition center from March 19 to 21, 2024.

“In an era where connectivity is the driving force behind recovery and progress, our participation in Routes Americas is a significant step for the Caribbean. It’s a platform that allows us to amplify our presence and forge essential partnerships within the global aviation ecosystem,” emphasized Regis-Prosper. “This is a part and parcel of our continued commitment to enhancing the region’s visibility and fostering meaningful interactions that pave the way for more connections to and within the Caribbean.”

In anticipation of Routes Americas, CTO, in collaboration with Airport Strategy & Marketing (ASM), recently hosted a groundbreaking two-day training event in Barbados on airline route development titled “Aviation Marketing, Incentives & Negotiation”. According to Regis-Prosper, this initiative signifies a crucial step in the organization’s strategy to enhance air access to and from the Caribbean.

Throughout next week’s three-day event in South America, delegates will engage in an immersive program featuring face-to-face meetings, networking opportunities, and access to exclusive industry insights.

A highlight of the event is the Caribbean-focused panel discussion “Aviation Competitiveness in the Caribbean”, scheduled for Tuesday, March 19, from 2:35 pm to 3:20 pm. Panelists include Kenneth Romer (Deputy Director General, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation); Trevor Sadler (CEO, interCaribbean Airways); Hans van de Velde (CEO, Windward Islands Airways International – WINAIR); Rafael Echevarne (Director General Latin America & Caribbean, Airports Council International – ACI); and Peter Cerdá (Regional Vice President, The Americas, IATA), with David Appleby (Director, ASM) moderating.

This session will explore the competitive landscape of the Caribbean aviation sector, highlighting efforts to boost air connectivity within the region and to emerging markets in South America and Europe. Despite challenges of several destinations recovering to pre-2019 levels of flight frequencies and seat availability, the discussion promises to uncover strategic approaches toward financial and traffic resurgence and explore new growth avenues in the aviation sector.

During the conference, the CTO team will meet with its members and airline partners. The CTO’s Caribbean-themed booth will be located at Stand S24.

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International Women’s Day Message by Dona Regis-Prosper, Secretary-General, CTO

Women’s leadership in the tourism industry is not just about representation; it’s about leveraging and benefiting from diverse perspectives. As we know, diversity builds strength and reinforces sustainability. So, women in leadership is an essential element for any organization seeking to thrive and flourish.

Traditionally, the Caribbean has seen remarkable contributions from women throughout the tourism landscape. Even before more women ascended to higher offices in the tourism sector, they exercised enormous influence on the development of the visitor industry with their valuable, often unrecognized, contributions to the development of modern Caribbean tourism.

Tourism is about people and their wants and needs – areas where women’s sensitivity and experience were often undervalued when compared to the more traditional corporate approaches of the sector’s policy and decision makers. Today women are taking their rightful places at the top tables of our region’s major bread-earner with many destination tourism authorities and ministries now led by women.

But there’s still much to do to ensure women are empowered to lead and innovate. Recognizing and nurturing female talent, providing mentorship, and ensuring equal opportunities are essential steps toward a more inclusive and dynamic tourism sector. Empowering women to become entrepreneurs within the tourism space is a pivotal stride towards enriching the industry with innovative ideas and diverse business models, ensuring a broader spectrum of opportunities and experiences for tourists and stakeholders alike.

I am personally committed to supporting and advocating for women’s leadership and advancement within our vibrant industry. We cannot advance meaningfully without the solid contributions of women.

We also want to do more to leverage our Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress program to cultivate the next generation of women and youth leaders. The talent pool in the Caribbean is so impressive, and we stand to benefit by nurturing and valuing these resources.

There is so much we can do to embrace initiatives that create an inclusive and supportive professional environment for women at all stages of their careers. Setting up a recruitment platform exclusively to attract and train women for higher responsibility or designing mentorship and training programs for women who are returning from maternity breaks or resuming their corporate careers after taking a break are two such examples we ought to explore.

It’s our Day, ladies, so let’s come up with bold ideas and projects which can take shape and be implemented by the next time we celebrate International Women’s Day!

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CTO Foundation Honours the Visionary Jean Holder by Dedicating its Newest Scholarship to His Memory

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ (27 Feb 2024) – The CTO Foundation – the charity that funds Caribbean nationals pursuing further studies in tourism and related subjects – will honour the memory of the late Jean Holder, the first secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with its newest scholarship.

The foundation is introducing the Jean Holder Memorial Scholarship of up to US$7, 500 to a Caribbean national seeking to enhance their skills in any area of sustainable tourism development.

Recognised globally as the father of Caribbean tourism development, Mr. Holder, who died in January 2022, played a critical role in changing the course of Caribbean tourism. He dedicated over 30 years of his professional life to the development and expansion of the sector in the region by charting its path towards becoming the primary foreign exchange earner and the engine of economic growth.

Among his many priorities were ensuring the region’s tourism sector became sustainable, and helping Caribbean nationals understand that employment in the tourism industry provided a career of service. He stressed the need for Caribbean children to be taught the importance of tourism from a very early age and pioneered the eco-tourism conference, which later became the Sustainable Tourism Conference.

“Jean Holder was a champion of tourism education at all levels in the Caribbean and an architect of the CTO Scholarship Foundation. He was also a relentless advocate for sustainable tourism in all its forms. Therefore, it is fitting that we name this scholarship after him in honour of the yeoman service he gave to Caribbean tourism for over three decades,” said Jacqueline Johnson, chairman of the CTO Foundation and CEO of MarryCaribbean.com, a division of Global Bridal Group “The foundation is thankful to Mr. Holder’s children for allowing us to recognise his contribution in this way.”

Applicants may also apply for the Bonita Morgan Memorial Scholarship, the Audrey Palmer Hawks Memorial Scholarship, the Arley Sobers Memorial Scholarship or a study grant.

The CTO Scholarship Foundation is a 501 (C) (3) entity established in 1997. Its main aim is to provide opportunities for Caribbean nationals to pursue studies in the areas of tourism and other tourism-related disciplines, including hospitality and language training.

To apply for the Jean Holder Memorial Scholarship, or any of the scholarships or grants being offered by the foundation this year, please visit https://ctofoundation.org/apply.

The deadline for the receipt of applications is Friday 10 May 2024.

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