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BTB Presents U.S. $59,934.00 Cheque to CTO As Contribution to “A Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund”

Belize City, Thursday, February 17th  2018:  The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), in collaboration with tourism industry stakeholders, raised U.S. $59, 934.00 (Bz $119,868.00) as part of the Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund campaign. The fund was created to assist victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which severely devastated many Caribbean countries in September last year.

This morning Ms. Karen Pike, BTB’s Director of Marketing and Industry Relations, presented the cheque to Mr. Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) during a virtual press conference hosted by CTO in Barbados.

In presenting the cheque, Ms. Pike said “when we got the news on the Caribbean Relief Fund Campaign, we embraced it immediately because it was not only the right thing to do, but also because it brought all of us in the Caribbean once again even closer together in a unified effort to assist those in need.” She added: “As part of the Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund Campaign, the BTB reached out to the entire country of Belize through the media, press releases, the BTB’s website and its news distribution network.”

In his response, the Secretary General said, “we thank you Belize on behalf of the entire Caribbean family.” During the press conference, an overview on the state of the tourism industry in the Caribbean was also presented.

As part of its Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund Campaign, each participating tourism stakeholder donated a $1 for every guest; the BTB then contributed by donating $1 for every tourist arrival for the month of October therefore, creating a multiplier effect. The BTB initiative was supported by the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), the Belize Hotel Association (BHA), Tropic Air, the Belize Airport Concession Company (BACC), Tour Operators, water taxis, and hoteliers 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 despair. The Caribbean depends on tourism as their chief means of survival and the devastation by both hurricanes has stalled the economies of countries affected, which may take several months or perhaps years to recover.

The BTB  and the Belize tourism stakeholders are extremely pleased that they were able to make a contribution towards the Caribbean Relief Fund and take this opportunity to offer their heartfelt thanks to all Belizean stakeholders and  organizations that donated generously in order to ease the road to recovery for our Caribbean sister countries.

According to the CTO, approximately U.S. $135,000.00 was raised by the Caribbean Hurricane Relief Fund Campaign.

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

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2018 Off to a Record-Breaking Start for Arrivals into the Cayman Islands

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (13 February 2018) Following 2017’s record-breaking year for air and cruise arrivals into the Cayman Islands, arrivals for 2018 are off to a record-breaking start. A total of 39,185 stayover visitors were recorded for the month of January, an increase of 23.87 percent over 2017. This represents the best January in recorded arrivals history and is the eighth consecutive month (June 2017 through January 2018) that the Cayman Islands has had record-breaking growth. The 23.87 percent growth is the highest percent growth increase for a January in 12 years and is 13.9 percent higher than January 2015, the previous highest January in recorded history.

January figures can be attributed to growth predominantly in key markets such as the United States, which saw increases in all regions. Of significant note, the West Coast saw the highest growth recording  63 percent increase over 2017. The Southwest recorded 1,270 additional stayover visitors, or 46.98 percent increase over 2017; while the Midwest region recorded 1,770 additional stayover visitors, or 27.40 percent increase over 2017. Canada also recorded growth of 13.47 percent growth over January 2017. This represents the best January in recorded history for Canada with a total of 3,353 stayover visitors. Efforts to tap into the Latin American market continue to be fruitful as both South America and Central America increased by 25 and 35 percent respectively. A total of 218,430 cruise passengers visited the Cayman Islands in January, an increase of 20 percent over January 2017.

Sustained growth is expected in the coming months as residents and guests alike prepare to celebrate the island’s colourful and spirited national carnival Batabano, as well as CayMas and Braccanal. The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism has launched its Summer Only in Cayman promotion, which this year seeks to leverage Cayman’s position as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean. The promotion invites families to savour the endless array of cuisines available on-island by an impressive roster of local chefs and includes curated epicurean experiences for even the youngest of authentic culinary seekers. With accommodation partners offering a fourth-night free, the Department of Tourism is poised to support this robust promotion through strategic, multi-media marketing across the United States.

“Continued increases in visitation are evidence that the state of our tourism industry is strong,” commented Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism, The Honourable Moses Kirkconnell. “I am optimistic that if we continue this path, 2018 will be another record-breaking year for arrivals and that the Cayman Islands will benefit from economic growth that all can be proud of. I applaud the Department of Tourism and all tourism partners for their continued contributions to this vibrant industry.”

To learn more about our Summer Only in Cayman offers, please visit www.caymanislands.ky/onlyincayman.

For more information and detailed arrival statistics, please visit the website www.caymanislands.ky/statistics.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Pure Grenada Wins Expedia Caribbean Destination of the Year 2017 Award

St. George’s, Grenada – February 5, 2018 – Announced on Jan. 31, 2018 at the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association’s Travel Marketplace in Puerto Rico, Expedia named Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean, as the Caribbean Destination of the Year 2017. The coveted prize was presented to members of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) at a press luncheon held at the Puerto Rico Convention Center during the two-day industry event. Those in attendance to accept the award were; Patricia Maher, CEO of the GTA; Francine Stewart, Marketing Manager, GTA; Christine Noel, Director of Sales US Market, GTA and delegates representing the destination’s various hotel and tourism products.

“On behalf of destination Pure Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, it is an honor and privilege to be presented with such a prestigious award from our industry partner, Expedia,” said Patricia Maher, CEO of the GTA. “This represents the hard work and dedication put in by the entire team at the GTA and our international offices as well as the continued drive and collaborative efforts from all our on-island partners, whose combined tireless efforts continue to attract visitors to our shores. We are looking forward to another year as a partner of Expedia with the many benefits it provides.”

The annual awards recognize original and groundbreaking partner campaigns that demonstrate exemplary innovation, creativity and success in digital travel marketing and advertising. Grenada’s 2017 campaigns exemplify innovative and collaborative ways to engage travel audiences and drive impactful results. Expedia Inc works with 85 properties in Grenada and Carriacou.

2017 proved to be fruitful for Pure Grenada as it experienced an overall increase of more than 8.14 percent in stayover arrivals. This, coupled with the island’s many tourism developments and hotel renovations, allowed the destination to flourish and stand out amongst the rest. The destination expects a strong upcoming year with additional developments, vigorous marketing efforts and increased airlift to match demand.          

About Grenada

The tri-island destination of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique is located in the southernmost region of the Caribbean near St. Vincent and the Grenadines and off the coast of Venezuela. Grenada is best known as the “Spice Island of the Caribbean” for its nutmeg and mace production, but the lush destination draws visitors for so much more. The new Pure Grenada experience beckons visitors to its 50 white- and black-sand beaches, 15 breathtaking waterfalls, countless hiking trails 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 and Canada, making the island accessible to visitors from around the world that wish to experience Pure Grenada.

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: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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St. Kitts is Shortlisted for Routes Americas Destination Award

Basseterre, St. Kitts (January 8, 2018) – The St. Kitts Tourism Authority is pleased to announce that it has been shortlisted in the Destination category for the Routes Americas 2018 Marketing Awards. It is one of just six destinations in the Americas region and one of just two Caribbean destinations voted onto the shortlist by airline network planners.

“It is a distinct honor to receive this recognition by the airlines, as we have worked hard to develop our relationships with the carriers and continue to increase air service to St. Kitts from key gateways,” said Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “This is truly a testimony to the success of our strategic route development and airlift marketing efforts.”

The annual Routes Marketing Awards recognize excellence in airport and destination marketing. They are highly regarded as the most prestigious awards in the aviation industry as they are voted for and judged by the airline network planning community. Airlines vote for the marketing services that support the successful launch of new routes or the development of existing ones. They are instructed to vote for the organizations whose marketing efforts over the last 12 months have made a real impact on their future network development plans. This may include market research activities, marketing and communications activity and campaigns, and business case presentations for new market opportunities. The airline network planners are asked to mark their destinations of choice in order of preference and these are then scored by priority to determine the shortlist. Shortlisted organizations then provide details about their marketing activities for review by a panel of industry expert judges to determine the winner.

The Routes Americas 2018 Marketing Awards winners and highly commended companies (runners up) will be announced during a ceremony at the Routes Americas Networking Evening on Wednesday, February 14 in Quito, Ecuador. The winner in the destination category will automatically be shortlisted for the World Routes 2018 Marketing Awards at the flagship World Routes event taking place in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China in September 2018.

About Routes

The Routes business is focused entirely on aviation route development and the company’s portfolio includes events, media and online businesses. The company organises and operates world-renowned airline and airport networking events through its regional and World Route Development Forums. They are held in key markets throughout the year in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Routes was founded in 1995 and is part of the EMEA division of UBM plc. For more information, visit www.routesonline.com.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO and Caribbean Development Bank Partner with Ministry of Tourism, St Kitts to Stage Successful Climate Smart Tourism Forum

 

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (19 December, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in collaboration with the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism hosted the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum, as the first regional activity related to implementation of the Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry  (CSSCTI) project, funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).  The landmark event, in observance of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development was held in Basseterre, St. Kitts from December 12-14, 2017.

The Forum brought together local, regional, and international representatives from public and private sector tourism entities, as well as development agencies for three days of dynamic and interactive engagements. It examined climate change adaptation, mitigation, and opportunities for sound management of Caribbean destinations. Key Forum Sessions included: Tourism Resiliency through Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation; Innovative Models & Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism; S.M.A.R.T Destinations: Using Climate as an Opportunity; The Tourism Recovery Roundtable; and Roadmap to Disaster Management. The keynote presentation was delivered by Mr. Greg McKenzie, senior news presenter, producer and television broadcaster from the BBC, London U.K, who explained that as more Caribbean countries developed their tourism industry, it would produce significant impacts on their natural resources, consumption patterns, as well as ecological and social systems. He therefore argued that sustainable and responsible planning and management was imperative for the industry to survive. “A balance has to be found between limits and usage so that [we] continuously change monitoring and planning [to] ensure that tourism can be managed. More importantly, sustaining development must include the interests of all stakeholders, including indigenous people, local communities, visitors, industries and of course more importantly, government united in the effort to mitigate and combat global climate change and its related impacts” Greg McKenzie, BBC.

The first two days of activities included presentations by experts showcasing best practices for a climate resilient sustainable tourism industry; the sharing of experiences and benchmark initiatives by country representatives; practical workshops to reinforce lessons learnt; and experiential field visits showcasing key initiatives in St. Kitts. Presentations were received from Dr. Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Mr. Hugh Riley, CTO’s Secretary General and CEO, Dr. Yves Robert Personna, Project Manager for the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank- Natural Disaster Risk Management (ACP-EU-CDB NDRM) in CARIFORUM Countries programme, at the CDB, and Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré, best known for serving as commander of the Joint Task Force Katrina responsible for coordinating military relief efforts post Hurricane Katrina in the United States, who presented on the topic, Lessons from Katrina.

On the third day a tourism sector strategic consultation workshop was held for the CSSCTI project, chaired by the CTO Sustainable Tourism Specialist and CSSCTI project Manager, Ms. Amanda Charles. Also presiding over the meeting was Dr. Yves Robert Personna, who delivered a presentation on the NDRM programme highlighting ongoing activities to include support given to countries.

“CBD has partnered with CTO to help incorporate climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction considerations into national and regional tourism policies, plans and operations. While the tourism industry is crucial to the economic growth and development of the Caribbean, one must also recognise that this sector is highly sensitive to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. These events have adversely affected the flow of environmental goods and services on which the sector is largely dependent. Therefore, it is essential to develop and implement sound initiatives to increase the tourism sector resilience to climate-related risks to ensure its sustainability”, said Dr. Personna.

The Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum was an opportunity to share and exchange best practices, hear and learn from experts and engage in rich dialogue and networking with tourism industry stakeholders, as well as regional and international partners, in seeking to enhance climate resiliency and strengthen disaster risk management strategies in the Caribbean Tourism industry. “We are indebted to the CDB for their support of the Caribbean tourism sector in providing the financial and technical assistance for the implementation of the Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry project, which facilitated the convening of the Forum. The threats posed by global warming and climate change require a well-coordinated and urgent response, given the vulnerability of the Caribbean region and the tourism sector specifically.” Hugh Riley, Secretary General and CEO.

This CSSCTI project will support the mainstreaming of climate and disaster risk reduction considerations in tourism business operations and destination management, and through the delivery of training and tools, enhance regional competencies for climate change adaptation and disaster risk management.

Funding for the project and related activities is being provided under the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank- Natural Disaster Risk Management in CARIFORUM Countries programme, which aims to reduce vulnerability to long-term impacts of natural hazards, including the potential impacts of climate change, thereby achieving national and regional sustainable development and poverty reduction goals in those countries.

For information and photos from the event please visit www.caribbeanstc.com

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About the Caribbean Development Bank

The Caribbean Development Bank is a regional financial institution established in 1970 for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs). In addition to the 19 BMCs, CDB’s membership includes four regional non-borrowing members – Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela and five non-regional, non-borrowing members; i.e., Canada, China, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. CDB’s total assets as at December 31, 2016 are USD2.89 billion (bn). These include USD1.59bn of Ordinary Capital Resources and USD1.29bn of Special Funds. The Bank is rated Aa1 Stable with Moody’s and AA+ Stable with Standard and Poor’s and Fitch. Read more at caribank.org.

Contact:

Sueann Tannis

Head of Corporate Communications

Mobile: 246-826-3343

Office: 246-431-1882

Email: [email protected]

 

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Climate Smart Forum

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New Year’s Message from CTO Secretary General, Hugh Riley

Bridgetown, Barbados (28 Dec 2017) – This has been a challenging year for Caribbean tourism. While the first half of the year saw exciting growth in both tourism infrastructure and tourist arrivals over the previous year, in September we were hit hard by a series of unusual hurricanes that not only destroyed property, but also took the lives of many of our citizens. We must never forget the souls we lost along the way.

Physically, we will recover. Our Caribbean people are a resilient population. We will put the bricks and mortar back together and the hotels and vegetation will rise again and shine in the brilliant sunlight.

We take this time, a season of celebration and joy and the promise of a new beginning, to both reflect on the preceding year and look forward to tomorrow. And we will take the time to give thanks.

Travellers coming to the countries that were impacted by the storms will now see various stages of the rebuild/recover effort. Some are already fully up to speed and ready for the winter; others, only partially so. Our affected islands respect the safety and security of guests and staff and are therefore being frank and open about their state of readiness.

As tourism is the main economic driver for most of the Caribbean, we place enormous emphasis on delivering value and a superb visitor experience. In the hurricane-affected islands guests in 2018 and beyond will expect to see a product that is rebuilt stronger, better and even more attractive than before. That’s the plan, however long it takes to deliver.

We are thankful that the vast majority of the Caribbean never got touched by the hurricanes, so those islands have continued to welcome visitors every day. For them it’s business as usual. We are grateful to the travel professionals, the many visitors and our citizens themselves who continue to share images of the Caribbean today. Those pictures tell a thousand realities.

We want to use this time to thank our member countries that were quick to come to the aid of others not so fortunate. We want to thank our partners, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, the airlines, cruise lines and the hotels across the region that have worked and are still working to bring the Caribbean back to normal operations. We want to thank our marketing and sales partners, the tour operators, wholesalers and travel agents from around the world who have stood by the region and continue to promote and sell our destinations. And we want to thank the media that have, for the most part, painted a proper picture of our region that is clearly open for business. Through it all, we are also eternally grateful to our visitors and to the Caribbean Diaspora who stand shoulder to shoulder with our region in times of need.

Even as we prepare to greet a New Year let us take a moment to look back on a few of the successes of 2017.

Recently we embarked on a strategy to substantially enhance the Caribbean’s engagement in Canada, to develop business in non-traditional areas and work closely with our members’ representatives for maximum impact. New travel agent training and certification, increased use of targeted social media, enhanced deployment of the CTO’s data analysis tools, and more focused engagement with the Caribbean Diaspora were all components of the 2017 strategy for Canada. The Canadian market was a strong performer for most of 2017, with arrivals up by 6.4 percent. We can now look forward to more expansion of that market in 2018.

We also continued to focus on our two primary markets, the United States and Europe, with the UK, in particular, taking a central role. These markets were more robust in 2017 and we trust this will continue in 2018.

We realized too, that intra-Caribbean tourism, which has also been on the rise, would need our continuous attention, especially under the current circumstances where the task of educating the travelling public and removing the barriers to intra-Caribbean travel will continue to be a challenge.

At the start of the year we declared 2017 the Year of Adventure in the Caribbean and we capitalized on this in multiple promotions with member countries and industry partners. The Caribbean Year of Adventure linked directly with the United Nations Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and allowed us to pair adventure with sustainability.

The year culminated with the World Tourism Organization holding its Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth, in Jamaica, followed by the CTO’s partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank to host the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum in St. Kitts.

For the New Year the CTO has declared 2018 The Year of Rejuvenation in the Caribbean. With wellness and rejuvenation being important aspects of the Caribbean tourism product, we are encouraging our member countries and private sector partners to plan and organise events and activities around that theme.

For travellers who focus on renewing body and spirit, the options are virtually endless; from beachfront workouts and yoga retreats, to wellness resorts and spa treatments, the notion of being rejuvenated in the Caribbean is one more reason to let us pamper you in 2018.
The 2018 Caribbean Year of Rejuvenation will be promoted through social media and traditional media channels and will create opportunities for locals, travellers and holiday/vacation planners to share their ideas on how to capture the Caribbean’s huge capacity for wellness and rejuvenation. It will be a time of rebirth for us and for those who come to share the joy of a Caribbean vacation experience.

We look forward to 2018 with optimism and excitement.

On behalf of our CTO Chairman, The Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Minister of Tourism, the CTO Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism, the Board of Directors, Members and Staff of the CTO, I thank you for your continued support of our region, and I wish you and yours a safe, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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