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One of New York’s Finest Wine, Spirits and Food Festivals to Get a Special Caribbean Twist

~ For the first time ever, CTO member countries will participate in Toast of Brooklyn, while CTO Foundation will launch an auction at the 10 November event in Williamsburg ~


NEW YORK, NY (29 October 2018) – There will be a special Caribbean twist this year to one of New York’s finest wine, spirits and food festivals, the Toast of Brooklyn, which will be held on Saturday 10 November at the futuristic William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The organisers have revealed that a special feature of Toast of Brooklyn 2018 will be the promotion of Caribbean cuisine and tourism to the approximately 3,000 attendees, adding a unique Caribbean twist to a mainstream audience while maintaining an atmosphere of sophistication.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has been working with the organisers to secure the participation of member countries, which, at no cost to them, will be provided with a station from which their chefs will share samples of their signature dishes, although they will be required to pay a small fee should they wish to distribute promotional materials.

In addition, the CTO Foundation, which provides scholarships and grants to Caribbean nationals pursuing studies in tourism and related subjects, will launch an auction including Caribbean holidays at Toast of Brooklyn to help raise funds for the scholarship programme. The organisers have also chosen the CTO Foundation as one of the beneficiaries.

“Our choice of the CTO Foundation as a beneficiary of the 11th Annual Toast of Brooklyn event is in keeping with our objective of identifying organisations whose core principles are based on promoting academic achievement and leadership,” said Toast of Brooklyn founder Edmon Braithwaite.

“The promotion of these ideals is now more profound after witnessing last year’s natural disasters in the Caribbean. It is admirable that the CTO Foundation is committed to nurturing the young achievers of today to become the leaders of tomorrow in a very challenging and dynamic hospitality industry. We also believe that concomitant to our support of the CTO Foundation is the promotion of the rich, diverse Caribbean culture to the absorbing Brooklyn audience. We look forward to a great event and relationship.”

This expression of support to the foundation clearly demonstrates that companies and individuals from the Caribbean Diaspora are eager to contribute to its ideals by leveraging their contacts and providing access to their events in the marketplace to assist the CTO Foundation in meeting its objective, according to Sylma Brown who heads the CTO’ New York office.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the CTO and the foundation to liaise more directly with a young, upscale demographic with the propensity and means to travel to the Caribbean.  This is also an opportunity for us to invite them to support our activities during Caribbean Week New York,” Brown said.

“Thanks to Mr. Braithwaite for extending the invitation to the Foundation and providing us with one additional means of raising funds and promoting the region.”

Now in its 11th year, Toast of Brooklyn features a combination of global wines and spirits producers along with small batch boutique wineries and craft spirits. Exotic cuisine from world tourism hotspots, renowned chefs from the Food Network and local artisans also participate in this one-of-its-kind experience that capitalises on Brooklyn’s unique cultural diversity.

For further information on Toast of Brooklyn visit www.thetoastofbrooklyn.com or email [email protected].

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News, Scholarship Foundation

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Brand Specialist says HR can Unlock a Stronger Caribbean Tourism Identity

Managing Director of Blueprint Creative, Barbados, Ron Johnson will deliver masterclass on ‘Branding and HR Sitting in a Tree’ at CTO’s 9th Tourism HR conference in the Cayman Islands from 28-30 November 2018

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (26 Oct. 2018) – A more globally competitive Caribbean tourism brand and stronger industry await if the power of human resource management is harnessed to enhance branding. That is the key message that Ron Johnson, the managing director of Blueprint Creative, Barbados, will deliver during the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s 9th Tourism Human Resources Conference in the Cayman Islands from 28-30 November, 2018. The conference will be held under the theme ‘Building a Resilient, High-performing and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Workforce for Global Competitiveness’.

Johnson will present a masterclass on ‘Branding and HR Sitting in a Tree’ on Friday 30 November.

“Taking an approach that branding starts on the inside of the organisation – not the outside – and having your branding and HR teams work more closely together, represents an opportunity for Caribbean tourism stakeholders to build stronger brands and stronger businesses, which can lead to Caribbean tourism being more competitive on the world stage,” said Johnson.

Johnson and his team of brand specialists at Blueprint Creative work with chief executives, marketing teams and human resources departments to help solve their brand-related business challenges. He has advised clients in several industries, including energy, banking, insurance, convenience retailing, accounting and security. At the conference he will engage with educators, trainers, human resource managers and consultants, students, Caribbean tourism practitioners, policymakers, tourism development agencies and academicians.

The branding specialist, who describes HR professionals as ‘branding superheroes in disguise’, said it’s important to get the message across at the macro and micro levels.

“The potential gains for tourism include the ability for individual organisations in the industry to build stronger brands and stronger businesses; and collectively, the ability to build a much stronger industry and be able to compete more effectively on the global market,” Johnson said.

He warns that the consequences of not heeding the message could mean falling behind the rest of the world in areas such as branding, human resources, customer experience and overall competitiveness.

In the masterclass at the conference, Johnson will explain why branding must begin internally.

“Even the most clever advertising campaigns can be derailed by disengaged employees delivering poor customer service,” said Johnson. “Companies want customers to love their brands, but that won’t happen unless their employees love the brand first. It can be very dangerous for companies to try to build a strong customer-facing brand when they have a weak employee-facing brand.”

This will be one of two masterclasses at this year’s three-day intensive programme of activities, with the other focusing on unlocking the potential of employees and amplifying performance across the workplace by using a strengths approach.

The CTO’s 9th Tourism Human Resources Conference seeks to provide an exciting and educational forum for human resource professionals to gain new knowledge and acquire the necessary skills to help them achieve excellent performance in their organisations. It also discusses pertinent issues impacting on, and relating to, the human resource element of tourism in the region; exposes human resource practitioners to good tourism practices in a tourism environment, and provides an opportunity for professional networking.

The conference is sponsored by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and Dart, the Cayman Islands-headquartered global organisation whose portfolio of companies include real estate, hospitality, retail, entertainment, finance and biotech

“We believe this conference will help re-energise Caribbean Tourism HR professionals, inspiring them to focus on people initiatives which support an engaged, high performing and resilient workforce,” said Juliet Du Feu, Dart’s senior vice president of human resources.

For further details on the conference, including how to register, visit https://www.onecaribbean.org/events-calendar/tourism-hr-conference-2018/. And for a welcome message from minister of tourism Moses Kirkconnell, click here.


About The Cayman Islands

Located 480 miles south of Miami in the vibrant tranquillity of western Caribbean, this trio of tiny islands is a premier destination for discriminating travellers, divers, honeymooners and families. World-renowned for its idyllic beaches and recognised as a sophisticated, diverse and memorable tourist destination, the Cayman Islands offers spectacular recreational opportunities along with warm, impeccable service. To learn more about the Cayman Islands, please go to visitcaymanislands.com or www.divecayman.ky or call your local travel agent.

From large-group trips and business-focused getaways to ultra-luxurious escapes and multi-generational family vacations, the Cayman Islands provides every element needed to keep guests coming back for more. With an abundance of world-class dining options, a host of adventure activities – including snorkelling, diving, jet skiing, caving, and nature trails – and a variety of meeting spaces for groups large and small, the Cayman Islands is well-poised to host any type of traveller or special occasion.


Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News, HR Conference

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Belize among Lonely Planet’s top ten “Best in Travel for 2019”

Belize City, Wednesday, October 24th, 2018:  The Belize Tourism Board welcomes Lonely Planet’s recent announcement of Belize being included in its top ten world countries list as “Best in Travel for 2019”.

Lonely Planet is a leading travel media company and the world’s number one travel guidebook brand, providing both inspiring and trustworthy information for every kind of traveller since 1973.

In reference to Belize, Lonely Planet wrote: “Its Caribbean coast is fringed by the world’s second-largest barrier reef; its interior is riddled with some of the most extensive and accessible cave systems in Central America; and its people are an exotic mix of Maya, Mestizo, Garifuna, Creole, Mennonite and expats. Yet many travellers struggle to place Belize on the map. However, the tide is turning. The government is moving to fully protect its unique marine environment, new eco-resorts are taking advantage of the country’s stunning cayes and jungle hideaways, and travellers are discovering a slice of Central America that’s relatively untouristed, safe and tantalisingly easy to reach. Get here before the inevitable crowds do.”

“Despite its small size, Belize is a mesmerizing combination of cultures and landscapes – a place that fully embraces its Central American and Caribbean roots, celebrates its diversity and takes great pride in its spectacular natural beauty,” Lonely Planet said. Adding” “This attitude has led to the unique and whole-hearted support of local culture and entrepreneurship. Visitors will have a tough time finding chain restaurants and hotel conglomerates; Belize’s tourism instead relies on sharing what’s homegrown.”

Other activities recommended by Lonely Planet in Belize include exploring the Cayes, visits to Xunantunich, Caracol, the Belize Zoo, Shipstern Conservation, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park in addition to numerous local restaurants and other points of attractions.

“We have been working arduously, along with our valued industry stakeholders and marketing agencies, in marketing and promoting Belize as a Curious Destination. Belize continues to register double digit figures in its tourism arrivals. Therefore, we are extremely pleased on Lonely Planet’s announcement because this gives us greater energy and inspiration to work even harder to promote Belize,” said Karen Bevans, BTB’s Director of Tourism.

For further information on Lonely Planet’s announcement on Belize being included as “Best in Travel for 2019” please click the following link:


Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO Secretary General Says Complacency Puts Caribbean People, Economies at Risk

PARIS, FRANCE (24 Oct. 2018) – Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Hugh Riley has called on Caribbean states to take tsunami preparedness seriously, stating to do otherwise would put the people and regional economies at risk.

Speaking in Paris, France, during a discussion organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to raise awareness of the threats posed by tsunamis, Riley insisted that Caribbean countries risked paying the price for complacency.

He stressed with the Caribbean being comprised mainly of low-lying states, and with most tourism assets and hotel investments located at or near coastal areas, the tourism sector is extremely vulnerable to the threat of tsunamis.

“Tourism is the main economic driver of the Caribbean, representing 80 percent of the region’s gross domestic product and more than one million jobs so we cannot ignore a tsunami risk,” he told fellow panellists and the wider audience, which included representatives from Grenada, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

“Complacency puts us in real danger and we must raise the Caribbean’s voice by advocating for our members during this important global forum,” he added.

The event was held in advance of World Tsunami Awareness Day on 5 Nov. 2018. The secretary general noted that the region had experienced 11 tsunamis in the past, the most recent of which occurred in 2010 and six between 1902 and 1997.

He suggested that because there has been no “recent” impact on the region, tsunamis are not considered an imminent threat therefore, they are not given sufficient attention.

He called for an increase in tsunami awareness and sensitisation of the tourism sector and the wider Caribbean community, as well as support for training by regional institutions and countries to develop preparedness and response protocols.

“The CTO recognises that tsunami preparedness is critical, which includes well-established and tested response protocols which will ultimately reduce loss of life and economic damage. We also need to enhance collaboration with countries recently and frequently impacted by tsunami hazards in order to develop best practices.”

Riley highlighted several CTO members’ tsunami readiness initiatives, including Anguilla, the first English-speaking Caribbean island to be recognised as “tsunami ready” in September 2011 and has maintained certification status. Since then the British Virgin Islands and St. Kitts and Nevis have received similar recognition, all having established emergency operating centres, national tsunami plans, public outreach and alert systems, public service information programmes and tsunami preparedness and response protocols.

The high-level panel was organised by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) to discuss policies and practices to reduce tsunami risks in countries highly dependent on tourism revenue.

The meeting opened with a minute’s silence in memory of the 2,000 confirmed dead and 680 officially missing in the tsunami and earthquake which struck Indonesia on 28 Sept. 2018. The double disaster left almost 70,000 people homeless and 11,000 injured in the Indonesian cities of Palu and Donggala in Central Sulawesi.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog

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Antigua and Barbuda Announces Dates for 6th Annual Showcase Antigua Barbuda

JOHN’S, ANTIGUA (October 23, 2018) – The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association are excited to announce that the 6th Annual Showcase Antigua and Barbuda, will take place on June 19 and June 20 2019.

Antigua and Barbuda’s dedicated travel trade business-to-business event, ‘Showcase Antigua and Barbuda’ is aimed at increasing business from the destination’s main source markets in the US, Canada, UK, Europe, and the Caribbean.

CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C. James said: “Showcase Antigua Barbuda allows us to wow our travel trade partners, by introducing them to the amazing sights, sounds and tastes of Antigua and Barbuda over a whirlwind two days.”

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority in collaboration with the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association will target close to 100 tour operators and buyers from the overseas markets for travel to Antigua where they will experience the destination and conduct business with on-island suppliers ranging from accommodation providers, airlines, destination management companies and more.

The Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association Chairman, Alex de Brito said in addition to using Showcase Antigua Barbuda as an opportunity to thank our travel partners that “it is also to reassure them that we will continue to work on improving our service and protecting the beauty and tranquility of our twin island state, Antigua and Barbuda.”

A key feature of the 2019 Showcase Antigua Barbuda will be spotlighting the destination’s new hotel developments, and award-winning cuisine.

In 2019, Antigua and Barbuda will introduce The Hammock by Elite Island Resorts featuring 40 one-bedroom villas, and the Royalton by Sunwing. The Hodges Bay Resort and Spa – the newest five-star property will also be fully operational after opening this winter season.

Attendees can also expect to receive a taste of the destination’s award-winning gastronomy, ahead of the launch of the Antigua and Barbuda Restaurant Week.

To register your interest in Showcase Antigua Barbuda and be the first to receive updates on the event, email: [email protected] or contact your nearest Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority office.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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St. Kitts Meets with Top Executives from Carnival Corporation

Basseterre, St. Kitts (October 15, 2018) – On the heels of a record-setting 2017-2018 cruise season, Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris in conjunction with Minister of Tourism The Hon. Lindsay F.P. Grantmet with top executives from Carnival Corporation & plc to discuss further development of the partnership between the destination and the cruise line.

“It is a testament to the excellent relationship between Carnival and the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism together with the St. Kitts Tourism Authority that their highest level executives have taken the time out of their busy schedules to meet with us here on island,” said Minister Grant. “With the Carnival Fascination being the only vessel to make year-round calls to St Kitts, our partnership with Carnival is one of the key drivers behind our exceeding the million cruise passenger arrivals mark in the 2017-2018 season. We are grateful for Carnival’s contributions to the development of our cruise sector and we will continue working together closely moving forward.”

The Prime Minister and Minister Grant welcomed President of Carnival Corporation & plc, Arnold Donald; Sr. Vice President of Global Port and Destination Development, Giora Israel; Vice President of Global Port and Destination Development, Stefano Borzone; Vice President of Port and Destination Development Operations, David Candib; Vice President of Marine, Karl Austin, and Vice President of Global Ports and Caribbean Government Relations, Marie McKenzie.

“St. Kitts is a beautiful island with warm welcoming people and many unique attractions for our guests,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. It is a significant milestone for St. Kitts to reach one million guests as part of another record-setting cruise season.”

Led by the Prime Minister and Minister Grant, the St. Kitts delegation consisted of Cabinet Secretary, Josephine Huggins; Chairman of the Board of Directors of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Nicholas Menon; and the St. Kitts Tourism Authority Product Development Manager, Melnecia Marshall. They spoke with the Carnival team about progress being made on the construction of the second cruise pier at Port Zante, transportation sector standards, public infrastructure development and the identification of clear growth strategies and product enhancement plans to maintain the destination’s strong appeal to the cruise market. Future itineraries that include the destination as a port of call from Carnival Corporation were also discussed.

On July 16, 2018, St. Kitts exceeded one million cruise passenger arrivals for the first time in its history, the only destination in the OECS to do so in the 2017-2018 season. Having reached this millionth passenger arrivals milestone, St. Kitts is now considered by the cruise lines to be in the same marquee port status category as much larger destinations in the region.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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