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CTO Secretary-General Receives 2023 CMEX Leadership Award

MIAMI (December 5, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is exceedingly proud to announce that Secretary-General and CEO Dona Regis-Prosper has been honored by the Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) with its 2023 Leadership Award.

At the awards luncheon and fundraising event, held on Saturday, December 2, 2023, Regis-Prosper was celebrated for more than two decades of leadership in a broad range of tourism- and hospitality-related positions, including being selected as the first female to lead the CTO, which serves as the tourism development agency for the Caribbean region.

Over the past nine years, Regis-Prosper has deftly overseen the management of new organizations as well as projects in several islands and territories, elevating their prominence in the Caribbean tourism landscape.

Her career has included roles as Director of Marketing and Product Development at the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority, which she helped to transform into a more service-oriented organization while developing a customer service culture at the destination’s port facilities; Director of Business Development for Margaritaville Caribbean Group in Jamaica; CEO of the Tortola Pier Park in the British Virgin Islands, where she was responsible for the launch of the new cruise and shopping center facilities; and General Manager of the Antigua Cruise Port, overseeing the launch of the facility.

Joining Regis-Prosper in being honored at the 2023 CMEx Leadership Awards and Fundraiser, held at the Loews Coral Gables Hotel in Miami this past weekend, were individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the Caribbean tourism, hospitality and communications sectors, including:

  • Ewald Biemans, Owner/CEO, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba
  • Rosa Harris, Director, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, and Chairman, CTO Board of Directors
  • Stan Hartling, Owner and CEO, The Hartling Group
  • Joy Jibrilu, CEO, Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board
  • Nicola Madden-Greig, OD, President, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association
  • Pat Montague, President/CEO, Pat Montague Marketing & Promotions
  • Beverly Nicolson-Doty, CEO, Figment Design and former CTO Chairman
  • Kevin O’Reggio, Strategic Account Director of Global Sales, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
  • Michele Paige, CEO, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association
  • Julian Rogers MBE, Founder, MEDIAROGERS GROUP

Reflecting upon the day’s events, Regis-Prosper stated: “Today, I was filled with immense pride as I received the 2023 Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) Leadership Award in Miami. I am truly humbled to be recognized among a group of distinguished professionals who are working collaboratively to shape the future of Caribbean communications, tourism and hospitality. This event not only celebrated our achievements but also fostered deeper connections and ignited new conversations as we rally around the Caribbean.”

Regis-Prosper’s determined commitment to strategic planning, business development, policy formulation and implementation initiatives, and the development and execution of innovative strategies to enhance the competitiveness of Caribbean tourism on a global scale represent the core values of progress and sustainability for which CMEx is known.

CMEx was established to facilitate the exchange of best practices among communicators in the media and members of the public and private sectors, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations, academia, community groups, and the youth.

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CTO Secretary-General Addresses Talent, Technology, and the Future at HR Conference

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis (October 31, 2023) – Speaking at the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) 10th Tourism Human Resources Conference in Nevis this week, Secretary-General and CEO Dona Regis-Prosper delivered a strong message to delegates on the importance of human capital and the need to leverage talent and technology.

Reflecting on her personal journey in the tourism industry, Regis-Prosper emphasized the indispensable union of technology and human assets in propelling the sector forward. Underscoring that people are the cornerstone of the Caribbean’s tourism sector, Regis-Prosper advocated for consistent investment in training and continuing education to bolster the sustainability and quality of the region’s tourism product.

“Over and above everything else, our people are the heart and soul of the Caribbean’s tourism sector,” said Regis-Prosper as she highlighted the urgent need for the Caribbean to adapt swiftly to evolving global travel desires intensified by the pandemic.

The inter-governmental body’s leader challenged attendees to consider how well the industry has adapted to developments in the tourism landscape and what changes might be needed for the region to maintain a leadership position in global tourism. Regis-Prosper also elucidated three pivotal areas crucial to the region’s tourism evolution: making authentic connections with visitors; developing local talent and harnessing technology; and engaging with the region’s youth to introduce them at an early age to the potential and attractiveness of the tourism sector.

Connectivity with Visitors
Highlighting the pandemic-induced desire for enriched human connections, she advocated for enhanced interaction between visitors and locals through cultural exchanges and community engagement.

Talent and Technology Development
Stressing the harmonization of talent with technology, she underscored the revolutionary role of AI-driven solutions and technological resources in customizing tourist experiences and predicting future industry trends. Regis-Prosper encouraged delegates to make use of the many technological resources, such as the Tourism Information Management System (TIMS) and online training and educational tools that are available to CTO members.

Youth Engagement
Recognizing the youth as crucial drivers of the tourism sector’s future, Regis-Prosper outlined various CTO initiatives aimed at empowering the region’s young people, including educational resources, internships, and scholarships.

Regis-Prosper’s closing remarks underscored the value of human assets in the regional tourism sector, articulating a vision of sustainability powered by enriched human contributions. “Our human assets should know that their contributions to the most dynamic sector in the region are highly valued and that their efforts can propel us to economic sustainability,” she stated.

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CTO Announces Theme and Social Media Showcase for Caribbean Tourism Month 2023

BARBADOS (October 30, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has declared the theme for this year’s Caribbean Tourism Month in November as “One Caribbean: Investing in Our People, Protecting Our Planet, Prosperity for All”.

The 2023 theme echoes the sentiments of the recently concluded 2023 World Tourism Day, focusing on “Investing in People, Planet and Prosperity”, underscoring the interconnectedness and the shared future of Caribbean nations and territories.

In a dynamic region renowned for its vibrant culture, beaches, rivers, majestic waterfalls and warm hospitality, Caribbean Tourism Month 2023 is set for another landmark celebration that not only highlights the scenic beauty and diverse cultures of the Caribbean but also emphasizes the importance of sustainable development and investment in human capital.

CTO Secretary-General and CEO Dona Regis-Prosper remarked, “This year’s theme, ‘One Caribbean: Investing in Our People, Protecting Our Planet, Prosperity for All’, reflects our deep-rooted commitment to fostering an environment that nurtures our people’s gifts, talents and abilities, safeguards our natural resources, and promotes sustainable prosperity as a goal for every man, woman and child,” she said. She continued: “We believe that the path to sustainable tourism and inclusive growth lies through concerted efforts in these critical areas.”

Throughout November, the CTO will showcase the unique attributes of each of its 25-member destinations across its social media platforms. Designed to celebrate the diversity and resilience of the Caribbean, this campaign offers a window into the rich cultural tapestry and the majestic natural environments of CTO members. The hashtag for the campaign is #OneCaribbean.

Regis-Prosper added, “Our social media showcase is more than just a promotional activity. It’s a canvas for storytelling, sharing the narratives of our people, the custodians of our planet, and the architects of our shared prosperity. It will be a testament to the distinct yet unified spirit that comprises our Caribbean region.”

CTO invites residents, travelers, industry stakeholders, and the global community to join this month-long celebration. Through engagement, exploration, and shared dialogues, Caribbean Tourism Month 2023 aims to strengthen the bonds within the Caribbean community, encourage responsible travel, and showcase the myriad opportunities for investment and collaborative growth within the region.

For further information about the Caribbean Tourism Organization, visit www.onecaribbean.org.

Posted in: 2023 News, Blog, Caribbean Tourism Month

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CTO Chairman Wants Stronger Partnerships Between Banks and Small Businesses

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (October 29, 2023) – Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Kenneth Bryan has amplified the pivotal role of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the Caribbean’s economic landscape, highlighting their significance in generating jobs, fostering innovation, and contributing substantially to the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Delivering a profound message at the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) Conference held in Trinidad last week, the Minister of Tourism and Ports for the Cayman Islands called for enhanced bank support for these businesses, noting small business loans account for less than 30 percent of bank loan portfolios across the region.

Video of Minister Bryan: https://youtu.be/iDW23Fa9yXo?si=oVsqqGbDiT_7UxbJ

The theme for this year’s CAB Conference was “Embracing Change and Building Resilience in a Dynamic Environment”. Among its key events was a SME Workshop and Marketplace focused on “Nurturing a Big Business Mindset for Your Small Business Success”. Minister Bryan’s appearance underscores his commitment to bolstering the Caribbean tourism sector and the Cayman Islands’ economic resilience and prosperity.

“Too often, when we think of tourism we think of hotels, cruise ships, and the huge international brands that line our shores. We often forget that it includes thousands of micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) such as the boutique hotels, the local tour operators, restaurants, street vendors, taxi drivers and craft shops that give our region its unique charm and authenticity. These small businesses form the backbone of our economies. They drive innovation, create jobs, and substantively contribute to GDP. They are not only vital for our tourism industries, but instrumental to our region’s development,” he said.

The CTO Chairman shared staggering figures from the Caribbean Development Bank: MSMEs represent 70-85% of Caribbean businesses, contributing 60-70% to GDP. Furthermore, he noted that they account for about 50 percent of total employment, and an impressive 40% of these businesses are woman-owned, emphasizing the sector’s role in fulfilling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

A significant challenge that small businesses face is accessing financing. Minister Bryan argued that while banks often view smaller businesses as riskier investments due to factors like lack of collateral or credit history, their socioeconomic value demands innovative solutions.

The tourism leader said redefining the relationship between banks and small businesses could unlock potential. “This is something that remains high on the agenda of the Caribbean Tourism Organization … because as we continue to support tourism growth, we have to ensure the small businesses (and “Mom and Pop” operations) have the ability to offer the range of authentic products that are needed in the tourism sector,” he said, noting that the inter-regional body has been advocating for greater access to financing and grants for small businesses.

He also spotlighted the Visitor Experience Development Grant (VEDG) in the Cayman Islands, designed to amplify the visitor experience by investing in start-ups that spotlight Caymanian culture. Minister Bryan believes similar initiatives, coupled with partnerships between small businesses and banks, can fortify the Caribbean’s tourism sector.

“The banking sector has immense opportunities to re-imagine and change the narrative between themselves and small businesses by recognizing that the small business sector presents significant business opportunities. This transformation, however, requires a shift in mindset and a commitment to embrace innovation, and collaboratively working together to forge new paths. Ones where banks are not seen solely as financial institutions, but also as catalysts for creativity, and partners in the prosperity and business development process,” said Minister Bryan. “If we accept that small businesses are engines of economic growth, employment generators and vehicles of poverty eradication, this then raises the question of what types of initiatives could banks introduce to help small businesses reduce their risk profile and improve their bankability?”

Minister Bryan suggested various initiatives banks could introduce, including supporting internal capacity-building for small businesses through mentorship, sponsoring small business development centers, and funding programs to elevate their competitiveness. He offered the example of the Small Business Development Centre in the Cayman Islands, which is tasked with supporting the holistic development of small businesses.

In closing, Minister Bryan urged all attendees to channel the Caribbean’s signature warm hospitality into their relationships with small businesses, fostering environments where both banking institutions and businesses can thrive symbiotically: “Just as we welcome tourists with open arms to our pristine beaches and vibrant culture, I believe we also need to extend the same warmth and hospitality to our small businesses.”

The CAB Conference serves as a vital platform for leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders to converse and strategize on promoting the growth, stability, and sustainability of the banking industry throughout the Caribbean.

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Philip Mondor to Deliver Keynote Address at CTO Tourism HR Conference in Nevis

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis (October 18, 2023) – Philip Mondor, President and CEO of Tourism HR Canada, will keynote the 10th Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Tourism Human Resources Conference, set for Nevis from October 30 to November 1, 2023.

The signature CTO event, to be held at Four Seasons Resort Nevis, unites industry professionals, HR leaders, and stakeholders from across the Caribbean and beyond.

“This event promises to be a pivotal gathering, offering invaluable insights into the present and future of the Caribbean tourism industry,” promised Dona Regis-Prosper, Secretary-General and CEO of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, who said Mondor’s address, entitled “Reimagining the Future of Work”, will be one of the main highlights of the event.

With close to 35 years of expertise, Mondor is an accomplished leader and has collaborated with labor market stakeholders in a dozen countries and across 15 different industrial sectors, with a primary focus on the tourism industry. He currently serves as an industry representative to Canada’s Deputy Minister’s Advisory Council for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. He also is an advisory member of the Labor Market Information Council.

Under this year’s theme, “Navigating the Next Phase of Caribbean Tourism”, the conference will delve deep into the realms of “Talent and Technology – 2024 and beyond”. Attendees can expect to gain a profound understanding of how human resource development can be optimally leveraged to boost the growth, development, innovation and competitiveness of the Caribbean tourism sector.

One of the conference’s notable features is a Student Forum, offering students studying tourism and hospitality the platform to showcase their understanding of the vital role tourism plays in the Caribbean region. Through impactful presentations, these young voices will contribute to the dialogue, ensuring the perspectives of the future tourism workforce are heard and considered.

Nevis, with its unspoiled landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and a relaxed pace of life, serves as the perfect backdrop for this significant event. Delegates and attendees will have the opportunity to explore the remarkable beauty of this Caribbean jewel, known for its welcoming community and genuine charm.

The last Tourism Human Resources Conference was held in the Cayman Islands in November 2018. “The return of this prestigious event demonstrates the commitment of the CTO to advancing the region’s tourism industry through people-centered development and collaboration,” said Regis-Prosper.

For registration details and the full conference agenda, visit https://www.onecaribbean.org/events-calendar/tourism-hr-conference-2023.

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