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New Categories Added For Caribbean Travel Media Awards

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 5 March, 2018 –   Two new categories have been added to this year’s Caribbean Travel Media Awards to be presented by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) during Caribbean Week New York.

Both awards are for social media and are among changes for this year’s Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards programme.

This year the CTO introduces the Up the Social Ladder award for best social media campaign by a member country and the Look, I’m Going Social award for most outstanding social media coverage of an event or activity in, or about, a CTO member country by a journalist or influencer.

In addition, for the first time ever the awards will be presented at a dinner, after being a luncheon event from its inception.

“Social media has become an important tool in the coverage of tourism, and both our members and the media are increasingly using the various platforms to tell compelling Caribbean stories. Therefore, we believe now is the time to introduce these awards to make the categories of awards more reflective of the ways the public consumes information,” said Sylma Brown, the head of the CTO New York office, which organises Caribbean Week New York.

“The decision to make it an evening event came after feedback from our members, who felt this was one way of giving the awards programme the stature it deserves,” Ms. Brown added.

During the Caribbean Travel Industry Awards Dinner, the CTO will also present its Lifetime Achievement Award, the allied members’ Jerry, Allied and Special Recognition Awards will be presented, and Jamaica will hand out its Marcia Vickery and Marcella Martinez awards. Tickets are US$250 per person or US$2250 for a table of ten.

The following are the categories for this year’s Travel Media Awards to be presented to journalists from US and Caribbean-based media:

I Couldn’t Have Written It Better Myself

  • Best Feature Article in a US-based Consumer Newspaper

Been There, Wrote That

  • Best Feature Article in a US-based Consumer Magazine

Inner Circle King/Queen

  • Best Feature Article in a US-based Trade Publication

Oh Snap!

  • Best Photograph in Conjunction with a Feature Article

Golden Mic

  • Best Feature Broadcast

 Virtual Visitor Award

  • Best Feature in an Online publication not including blogs

Up the Social Ladder

  • Best Social Media Marketing Campaign by a CTO Member Country

Look, I’ve Gone Social

  • Most Outstanding Social Media coverage  of an event or Activity by a journalist or influencer

Me Too! I Rediscovered Home! 

  • Best Feature by a Diasporan Journalist in US or Caribbean Media

No Anansi Story!

  • Best Feature by a Caribbean-based  Journalist that appeared in Caribbean-based media

Oh My Word, I Blogged!

  • Best Caribbean Travel Blog Posting

The deadline for receiving entries is Friday 6 April at 11:59 Pacific Standard Time.

The blog award is given to the person voted as having written the best travel blog posting about the Caribbean or any CTO member country. The winner is decided by public vote.

Bloggers are asked to enter via the following link: https://ctobesttravelblog2018.pgtb.me/z5k1wp. Voting begins on Monday 9 April at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and ends on Friday 18 May at 11:59 p.m. PST.

All other entries must be submitted in the following formats via https://caribmediaawards.pgtb.me/dDmC8s.

Caribbean Week New York, which takes the sights, sounds, tastes, colours and attributes of the Caribbean to the vibrant American city, takes place from 2-8 June, 2018.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Week, Media Awards

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Sealy: Record Year For Tourism, Air Arrivals Up 5%, Cruise Arrivals Up 12.9% For 2017

The Honourable Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism and International Transport has announced that Barbados enjoyed a record 5% increase in stay-over arrivals last year, an all-time high for the destination.

Over the course of 2017, the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) welcomed 663,441 visitor arrivals – 31,308 more than 2016. The Bridgetown Port Inc. (BPI) also observed tremendous growth, recording 818,752 cruise arrivals over the previous year’s 725,020, for a total increase of 12.9%. Of these 818,752 cruise arrivals, some 137,541 passengers stayed over in Barbados, above 2016’s total of 130,924.

“I am delighted by this news and what it says about Barbados’ tourism product,” said Sealy. “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 2017.”

The United Kingdom was once again the top producer of arrivals to Barbados with a 33.5% market share. Arrivals from this market were flat compared to 2016, totaling 222,322. The United States followed, contributing 28.4% of business with 188,970 arrivals for the year. Canada contributed 12.8% of the business, and recorded an increase of 7.9% or 85,209 arrivals.

Of special note is the United States, who, while being the second-highest producer of business, grew by a whopping 11.7% over 2016. The United States’ 2017 performance was the highest for that market in three decades – since contributing 175,093 arrivals in 1987.

Trinidad & Tobago, Other Europe, and Other Caribbean saw growth of 5.4%, 4.1% and 3.6% respectively, while Other Central & South America showed a slight growth with a 0.3% increase over 2016.

Sealy 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 5% growth.”

Some of the marketing efforts Sealy referenced included:

New niche events

Continuing to position Barbados as a formidable player in sports tourism, two new events were created for the traditionally softer period of September – the Barbados Beach and Wellness Festival and the Barbados Cycling Festival. Receiving positive feedback and displaying strong potential for further development and accomplishment, Sealy announced that the BTMI will once again host the two events in 2018.

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 which I announced last month,” Sealy said.

Barbados’ new partnership with Copa Airlines will see a twice weekly Barbados–Panama service commencing this July 17, and tickets are already on sale on the airline’s website. Late last year, the BTMI also joined with GAIA in welcoming Virgin Atlantic’s new London Heathrow twice-weekly service to Barbados which commenced December 12, 2017 and will run until February 24, 2018; and later the Thomas Cook new weekly flight from London Gatwick which commenced December 16, 2017 and will run until March 17, 2018.

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,” Sealy said. “We therefore saw a number of hotels being refurbished and reopening just ahead of the Winter season, hotels such as Sea Breeze, Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Treasure Beach, The House and so on.”

Sealy also welcomed 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, Sealy said “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 of course in 2017 we christened the new Rihanna Drive, which has already garnered much international media attention following our ceremony last November. If you’ve been to Speightstown you’ll also see that there’s a buzz around the new restaurants that have opened there… but overall, there are a lot of positive new developments happening across the island.”

Community involvement

Sealy made the point that as tourism continues to boom for Barbados, it is important to continue to engage Barbadians, whom he described as the primary beneficiaries of the industry. “The i am tourism campaign launched last year by the BTPA is just one of the ways we’re involving the public in our business of tourism, starting as young as primary schools and continuing all the way up. The Rihanna Drive project was also one that went out into the community and involved residents of Westbury New Road in both the planning and then the execution of the event.”

International recognition

Throughout 2017, destination Barbados picked up several awards and accolades. In April, the World Economic Forum released its biennial Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, where Barbados received the highest score for Safety & Security in the Caribbean, and one of the highest scores for Health & Hygiene in the world.

In June, Barbados tourism was selected as a case study candidate by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), as a result of the success of the restructure and establishment of the BTMI and the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA). The other destinations chosen were Singapore, Barcelona, Capetown, London, Melbourne, Vienna, Vancouver and Hangzhou China.

Later, in July, Barbados beat out Aruba, Martinique and several other popular Southern Caribbean islands, to nab third place in Cruise Critic’s Top-Rated Southern Caribbean Cruise Destinations. In September, Barbados was voted above the Canary Islands, Egypt, Mexico, Tenerife and Thailand by travel agents to win the prestigious Star Winter Sun Destination 2017 award.

New opportunities for 2018

Looking ahead, Sealy said that “While we celebrate the numerous successes of last year, we are already full-steam ahead with our plans to make sure that 2018 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.”

One such opportunity Sealy revealed was that this year will see the commencement of the National Tourism Programme’s U.S. $20 million loan which he said will span five years and seeks to further develop tourism product marketing and airlift.

“We are also packaging 2018 as the Year of Culinary Experiences and you will therefore see us promoting a lot of the delicious and authentic dining experiences to be had on island, from flying fish to gourmet breadfruit bowls,” Sealy said. “And I am confident that with all we have in the works, we will once again be celebrating a record year come January 2019.”

The Year of Culinary Experiences began with the BTPA’s Sugar and Rum Season which is ongoing through April. Next on the calendar is the revamped Oistins Fish Festival over Easter weekend. Activities will continue throughout the year and more information can be found at https://www.visitbarbados.org/year-of-culinary-experiences.

Up next for the destination is the annual Connect Barbados B2B conference which will once again see 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 9-12, 2018.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Saint Lucia Tourism Arrivals Register Record Breaking Increase for 2017

(Wednesday, 21 February 2018) The 2017 tourism performance saw Saint Lucia breaking all records with total visitor arrivals climbing to an all-time high of 1,105,541. The island also recorded the highest growth in 2017 among the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) member countries, registering an 11% increase.

2017 was characterized by sustained growth in the industry, with stayover arrivals at 386,127 and the cruise sector recording a 14% increase, reaching 669,217, an additional 81,264 visitors despite the 8-month closure of the Pointe Seraphine Berth 1.

Commenting on the figures, Minister of Tourism Information and Broadcasting Dominic Fedee, said: “The tourism industry continues to be an incredibly important and vital part of the Saint Lucian economy. We are happy with the levels of growth witnessed and as we continue our marketing efforts, we as well look to maximizing the impact of tourism on our economy”.

The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority worked assiduously with the CTO and trade partners to overcome the indirect challenges faced by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, ensuring all markets that the destination was safe and available for travel.

At the close of 2017, The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) in Travel Trends Report for 2018, the most important document issued in the UK travel industry selected Saint Lucia as one of the top 12 destinations for 2018.

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1-800-456-3984, or 1-888 4STLUCIA or visit http://stlucia.org/

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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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

 

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