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UNWTO and CTO team up for regional workshop in Saint Lucia

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 1 Nov, 2016 –  The United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable tourism is partnering with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to deliver a regional workshop on sustainable destination management and marketing next month.

The 5-9 December workshop, which takes place in Saint Lucia, is being delivered by experts selected by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and will explore issues related to competitiveness, quality assurance and sustainable destination criteria, with a strong emphasis on trends, best practices and success stories aimed at helping destinations compete globally,  according to Bonita Morgan, the CTO’s director of resource mobilization and development.

“We have the advantage of having the UNWTO bring to us expertise with international experiences, models and success stories as we expose the participants to what the possibilities are out there to help them develop a better product, or deliver a better service so their overall strategy for destination management and marketing can be successful,” Mrs. Morgan said.

Among the key areas being explored are innovation in marketing, destination competitiveness, developing sustainable tourism experiences and successful models in destination management and marketing.

The first day is being billed as a forum and will be open to a broad spectrum of stakeholders in Saint Lucia so that they can benefit from the experiences and expertise of the UNWTO facilitators, as well as allowing as many residents as possible to share their views and experiences with a local and region audience.  Topics to be covered will include global and regional tourism performance and trends, consumer trends and effective marketing and pillars of sustainable and competitive destinations.

A number of site visits have been included in the programme, during which participants will use the information they garnered to critique the local destinations and use the experience to help enhance their own products and tourism services.

The executive training workshop organized by the CTO and the UNWTO through its Themis Foundation, is being held in collaboration with the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. It is open to high-level decision makers in the national, regional and local tourism administrations and organizations, as well as senior tourism practitioners from tourism associations and industry groups and travel and tourism practitioners from the Caribbean and the Americas.

For further information, including how to register and participate, visit www.onecaribbean.org or email [email protected] For further insights regarding the forum and workshop please view a video interview with Mrs. Morgan at: http://bit.ly/2eQHM2W.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog

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Caribbean Tourism Month 2016 Message by CTO Secretary General, Mr. Hugh Riley

THEME: ONE SEA, ONE VOICE, ONE CARIBBEAN

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 1 Nov 2016.  During 2015 our region has set arrival and visitor expenditure records that have surpassed expectations. Caribbean tourism grew by an estimated seven per cent to 28.7 million visits, much higher than the projected four to five per cent. This performance was above the global rate of growth, which the UN agency, the World Tourism Organization quotes at 4.4 per cent.

In that period, visitors spent over a billion dollars more than they did in 2014, contributing approximately US$30 billion to Caribbean economies.  For 2016 the latest visitor arrival data indicate that tourist trips grew by 5.2% in the first six months when compared to the same period of 2015. While this is encouraging, we must not settle. We certainly cannot relax until we become the world’s most desirable year round, warm weather destination and until every citizen of the Caribbean benefits from tourism.

The first priority is to embrace our mantra of sustainable tourism development. We must keep the right balance between maximizing the benefits of our tourism assets for the wellbeing of our current populations, and do so responsibly, so that we can preserve those resources for generations to come.  To maximize the benefit and preserve resources, we need to create systems that ensure that guests and hosts can equally enjoy the experience.

The economic benefits of the tourism industry are enormous. In the Caribbean, where we have a clear understanding of tourism’s contribution to financial prosperity, we are seeing more of our citizens becoming involved in ‘the sharing economy’. We are opening our homes and apartments to visitors from around the world. Ordinary citizens have become hosts. But while I have often described the essence of hospitality as “sharing space and breaking bread” our populations must also pay attention to “guestpitality”, a laser-like focus on the guest’s point of view. Indeed if hospitality is about customer service, then guestpitality must surely be about customer experience.

During Caribbean Tourism Month, which we observe every November, we will have the opportunity to place even greater emphasis on the kinds of experiences we offer to guests, which make up our exciting and diversified tourism product.

It’s also a great time to introduce new ideas, methods and products, to propose innovative and revolutionary thinking and to generate fresh energy into the sector. Throughout November, the CTO will undertake several social media activities during which member countries will be profiled on the organization’s social media platforms. These include:

  • 30 Day Social Media Photo/Video Challenge featuring the people, fashion, heritage and natural attributes of the Caribbean
  • Help Me Pick a Caribbean Holiday/Vacation Spot Social Media Poll
  • Online Caribbean Fashion Show via Periscope & Facebook Live Marathon/Tweet-Chat
  • Romantic Facts about CTO member countries

This is an excellent opportunity to be featured globally and to demonstrate to the world that the spirit of togetherness we talk so passionately about remains alive and vibrant in the Caribbean. It also helps to give meaning to the Caribbean Tourism Month theme, One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

We wish to encourage every CTO member country, every tourism entity and everyone engaged either directly or indirectly in tourism to join us by participating in these initiatives and by organizing at least one activity during the month that will help focus attention on the industry. Be creative, be daring, be brave, be innovative.

We’ll take this opportunity to thank the sponsors, supporters and everyone who helps us celebrate Caribbean Tourism Month.

Together, let’s keep the right focus on this important industry and reaffirm the value of One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Caribbean Tourism Month

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CTO Statement on Effect of Hurricane Matthew

STATEMENT BY HUGH RILEY, SECRETARY GENERAL, THE CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION, ON THE EFFECT OF HURRICANE MATTHEW

FRIDAY 7 OCTOBER, 2016

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life and the extensive damage inflicted on our member countries and neighbours by the dangerous Hurricane Matthew, described as the most powerful storm to hit the Caribbean in a decade. Even in its weaker form as a tropical storm it inflicted loss.

Our prayers are with the Government and People of Haiti where the death toll has soared to more than 400 and where there is still not full recovery from the destructive earthquake of 2010.

We also express our prayers and concerns for The Bahamas – which still has not received the all-clear and which has been recovering from last year’s Hurricane Joaquin. We await a full assessment of the damage in The Bahamas, as well as in St. Vincent and the Grenadines where a young man lost his life when Matthew struck as a tropical storm.

Several other CTO member countries, including Cuba, Dominica, Jamaica and Saint Lucia have been impacted by the storm; and while we are thankful that there was no loss of life in those countries, we are conscious of the fact that they have suffered some level of damage. Still, we are thankful that life is getting back to normal in those countries and they are open for business.

For the worst affected countries the impact, both physical and psychological, will be long-lasting. We offer our sincerest condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives and to those who are grieving their loss, and we assure our support to those who are touched in one way or another.

It is evident that in the aftermath of the storm the immediate challenge is to alleviate suffering and provide the necessary support. In the days and weeks ahead we at the CTO and throughout our member countries in the Caribbean will work with our private sector partners the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and others, to do whatever is necessary to offer assistance and to coordinate relief efforts.

We have immense confidence in the strength and resolve of our people to prevail.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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The Bahamas Elected Chair of the CTO

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (15 September, 2016) – The Bahamas has been elected Chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).  Minister of Tourism for the Bahamas, Obie Wilchcombe, is the new CTO Chairman.

New CTO Chairman Obie Wilchcombe of the Bahamas (right) receives the gavel from his predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados. Also in photograph, CTO secretary general Hugh Riley (left)

New CTO Chairman Obie Wilchcombe of the Bahamas (right) receives the gavel from his predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados. Also in photograph, CTO secretary general Hugh Riley (left)

The election took place on September 15th in Barbados, at the organization’s annual general meeting held during the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC).

Following his election, Mr. Wilchcombe stated: “I intend to build upon what [immediate predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados] began and I also intend to build on the relationship with the private sector. I’ve always thought that CTO is the body that provides equity and we can (do that); and the way is to speak with the same voice. We also have to deal with the issue of inter-regional travel.”

Minister Wilchcombe will serve a two-year term. It is his second stint as chairman, having previously been elected to the position in 2002.

The Bahamas minister will shortly name his appointee for the post of Chairman of the CTO Board of Directors, since, according to the CTO Constitution, the Board Chairman and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism must come from the same Member Country. In addition to the election of the chairman, vice chairs were elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors to represent various sub-groups – Curacao, represents the Dutch Caribbean; Martinique represents the French Caribbean; Barbados and Belize, represent the Independent CARICOM countries and the Turks & Caicos Islands represents the British Overseas Territories.  Each of these Member Countries will form the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, which will be completed with representatives from the private sector.

Today’s vote was in keeping with the CTO constitution which mandates that elections must be held every two years.

This year’s conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort is organized in collaboration with Barbados’ Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and is sponsored by LIAT, the Caribbean Airline and Libris by Photoshelter.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport for Barbados and CTO Chairman Richard Sealy has a special message on SOTIC. To view the message, please click on the following link: http://bit.ly/2comjPC.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News, SOTIC

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Regional Hospitality Assured Workshop gets under way in Barbados

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 5 Sept, 2016 –  A week-long training advisers workshop on tourism business excellence opened in Barbados this morning.

The 5-9 September workshop is being organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to sharpen participants’  business advisory skills so they can provide technical assistance to Caribbean tourism businesses  which will participate  in the Hospitality Assured Certification Programme.

Nineteen participants from 13 CTO member countries are attending the workshop, which is being held with funding support from the Caribbean Development Bank through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network and the European Union’s Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME).

“We are proud of the partnerships we have formed over the years with regional and international organizations such as the Caribbean Development Bank and the Institute of Hospitality, which make it possible for the CTO to provide services such as this for our members and for the region,” Hugh Riley, CTO’s secretary general said.

“We are driven by our emphasis on human capital development, our responsibility to help reduce the region’s unemployment, and our laser-like focus on consistently improving the quality of the experience the Caribbean offers to its visitors. This workshop seems to me to be relevant to all of those aspects.”

The workshop, which will be facilitated by John Burchell of Hospitality Assured in the United Kingdom, with assistance from Norma Shorey Bryan, a trained Barbadian business advisor, precedes the region’s premier tourism gathering, the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC), where those issues will be tackled. SOTIC takes place in Barbados from14-16 September.

Hospitality Assured is a certification programme promoting service and business excellence in tourism and hospitality companies.  It is owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the United Kingdom, and managed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in the region.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Hospitality Assured

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UNWTO head to make first ever appearance at CTO State of the Tourism Industry Conference

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 3 August, 2016 –  The head of the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable tourism will make his first ever appearance at a Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) event when he presents at the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) next month.

Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai will be joined by the president of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) David Scowsill and CTO secretary general Hugh Riley on a panel to discuss how to pilot an industry through a perpetual state of flux.

“The commitment of the UNWTO and the WTTC to participate in this conference fulfils our mandate to make leaders of the global tourism industry accessible to our members, to share information with us and exchange ideas on how to resolve issues and challenges and how to take advantage of opportunities in tourism globally,” Mr. Riley said.

During the session entitled, No Place For The Status Quo, the tourism leaders will delve into factors, such as changing demographics and attitudes, which drive the tourism industry into a state of constant transition, and how to continuously align the product to consumers’ tastes.

“There really is no status quo in the tourism sector. Things are constantly changing; it’s a dynamic industry, it’s vulnerable to external shocks but it always recovers. When we look at issues that affect public health, security, terrorism, economic shocks, all of these things affect the success and the sustainability of the tourism sector,” the CTO secretary general added.

The session takes place from 9:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Friday 16 September, immediately following the feature address by Craig Landry, the president of Air Canada Leisure Group.

The State of the Tourism Industry Conference, which has as its theme, Honouring Our Legacy, Defining Our Future, is the pre-eminent tourism gathering in the region. It brings together tourism decision-makers, including ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, hotel and airline executives, travel agents, students, the media and persons directly and indirectly involved in tourism. It is preceded by CTO business meetings, including meetings of the board of directors and the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism.

A number of other presenters have been confirmed for SOTIC, which will explore subjects ranging from how to transition the product and multicultural and emerging markets to creating a luxury experience and the sharing economy.

This year’s conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort is organized in collaboration with Barbados’ Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

For more information on SOTIC, including how you can register, participate and benefit, visit www.onecaribbean.org.  For a sound bite from the CTO secretary general, please click on the following link: http://bit.ly/2ay99wO

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, SOTIC

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