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CTO’s New Secretary-General Shares Vision for Regional Tourism

CAYMAN ISLANDS (September 8, 2023) – Addressing a group of local, regional and international media during a live press briefing in the Cayman Islands yesterday, Dona Regis-Prosper, Secretary-General and CEO of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) presented some of her initial plans for leading the intergovernmental body that serves as the tourism development agency for 25 Caribbean countries and territories.

Regis-Prosper, who is St. Lucian by birth, was joined by Kenneth Bryan, Chairman of the CTO’s Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism, who also serves as Minister of Tourism & Ports of the Cayman Islands, and Rosa Harris, Chairman of the CTO’s Board of Directors and Director of Tourism for the Cayman Islands.

Acknowledging the strategic, multidimensional nature of the CEO’s responsibilities, Minister Bryan lauded Regis-Prosper for her “wealth of experience, a passion for tourism and a commitment to the Caribbean that aligns perfectly with our organization’s vision”.

Regis-Prosper has held prominent leadership roles in the public and private sectors within the Caribbean region. “Her qualified understanding of the challenges and opportunities we face positions her as an ideal leader to guide the organization into a prosperous future,” said Minister Bryan.

As Secretary-General, Regis-Prosper will be charged with providing strategic direction and leadership to the CTO staff, collaborating with more than two dozen member countries and territories, and working closely with partners and stakeholders to advance the organization’s mission.

In addition to re-imagining and transforming the organization, Director Harris noted that Regis-Prosper’s role also involves addressing a range of pressing issues facing the Caribbean’s tourism industry, including advocacy, research, airlift, sustainability, and resilience.

During the past week, Regis-Prosper was introduced to the focus areas that the organization’s members and partners have indicated are most important to them, including delivering membership benefits and value; generating greater tourism linkages between the industry and other economic sectors nationally, regionally, and globally; promoting multi-destination tourism as a collaborative strategy; climate change; crisis management; establishing tourism standards to ensure the region’s continued competitiveness and attractiveness; human resources capital and workforce management; and the promotion of the Caribbean’s diverse heritage and culture.

“I am deeply honored to step into the role of Secretary-General of the CTO. The Caribbean is a dynamic region with immense tourism potential. With the support of my Chairmanship and the CTO team, I am confident that we will implement the best strategy for leveraging our Caribbean brand for the benefit and greater good of the people of the Caribbean region,” stated Regis-Prosper, who added that she is committed to “collaborating closely with all our members” to grow the region’s tourism industry.

Before fielding questions from media on topics ranging from airport management and capacity to marketing and the sharing economy, Regis-Prosper pledged to have open ears for members’ concerns.

“My first order of business has been and will continue to be listening in the coming months. I intend to learn and be informed as much as possible about the challenges faced by each member and to develop workable solutions that will be beneficial nationally and regionally,” she assured.

Next up on the agenda for the new Secretary-General and her team is the returning State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC), the Caribbean’s premier forum for the presentation and exploration of the major issues impacting the development of the sector in the region, which will be held in the Turks and Caicos Islands, October 9-13, 2023.

Prior to the appointment of Regis-Prosper, Neil Walters, CTO’s Director of Finance and Resource Management, had been filling the position as Acting Secretary-General and CEO since 2019.

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), headquartered in Barbados, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency, comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories, including Dutch-, English- and French-speaking, as well as a range of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year-round, warm-weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

Among the benefits to its members, the organization provides specialized support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution, and research & information technology.

The CTO’s headquarters is located at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados BB 22026. Tel: (246) 427-5242; Email: CTObarbados@caribtourism.com.

For more information about the Caribbean Tourism Organization, visit www.OneCaribbean.org and follow CTO on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram to be part of the conversation.

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CTO Gears Up for SOTIC 2023 in Turks & Caicos Islands

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos (August 14, 2023) – Preparations for the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s much-anticipated State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) are well underway, with the program set to take place at The Shore Club Turks & Caicos on Providenciales from October 9-13, 2023.

CTO’s business meetings and destination media briefings will precede the official conference program, which features panel discussions spanning diverse themes – from tourism investment and financing to aviation competitiveness and the burgeoning film industry. CTO’s popular Caribbean Youth Congress also makes its return this year.

Neil Walters, CTO’s Acting Secretary General, anticipates a plethora of meaningful discussions and industry networking to unfold in Turks and Caicos. “SOTIC has traditionally been the CTO’s flagship event held in the Caribbean, and with its return this year under the leadership of our newly appointed Secretary General Dona Regis-Prosper, we are confident the forum will set the stage for sharpening our industry’s collective vision to become even stronger and more effective in positioning the Caribbean as the world’s leading destination for leisure as well as business travel.”

Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands, shared her pride in hosting the return of SOTIC after a hiatus of five years, stating, “The selection of Turks and Caicos reflects our dedication to hospitality and excellence. As the first major event being held under our new destination marketing and management organization, SOTIC is a significant opportunity for us to collectively shape the narrative of our region’s growth in a post-COVID environment.”

“As Minister of Tourism and Vice Chair of the group of British Overseas countries and territories within the Caribbean Tourism Organization, your presence at SOTIC 2023 holds immense importance,” said Minister Connolly, as she extended a heartfelt invitation to delegates.

Minister Connolly looks forward to showcasing the captivating beauty of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Territory’s dedication to sustainable tourism development. She underscored the potent impact of coordinated action and regional collaboration that conveys a strong message of unity to stakeholders within and beyond the region’s borders.

For further details as the event draws near, visit https://sotic.onecaribbean.org.
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About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which is headquartered in Barbados, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish-speaking, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year-round, warm weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean. Among the benefits to its members the organization provides specialised support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution and research & information technology.

The CTO’s Headquarters is located at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados BB 22026; Tel: (246) 427-5242; E-mail: CTObarbados@caribtourism.com.

For more information about the Caribbean Tourism Organization, visit www.OneCaribbean.org and follow CTO on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram to be part of the conversation.

Posted in: 2023 News, Blog, SOTIC

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CTO Joins Forces with CRTN/ITSA Network to Boost Tourism Research in the Caribbean

BARBADOS (August 1, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Caribbean region’s tourism development agency, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Caribbean Tourism Researchers Network (CTRN)/International Tourism Studies Association (ITSA), aimed at strengthening tourism research in the region.

The CTRN/ITSA is a network of tourism researchers under ITSA who are actively engaged in research on Caribbean tourism. Its primary aim is to enhance the tourism sector in the Caribbean through research.

The two organizations have agreed to cooperate on research initiatives and projects, the development of knowledge products, sharing critical research and knowledge, and capacity-building initiatives. Two projects have already been identified for execution under the agreement.

One is a capacity-building program geared towards sensitizing researchers, working with regional tourism bodies, on some of the latest techniques used to design and execute tourism research projects. The second is a research project focused on understanding and building sustainable and resilient Caribbean destination policies.

“The collaboration between the Caribbean Tourism Organization and CTRN/ITSA provides an immediate boost to one of our core areas, research, which serves as the foundation for all other organizational activities. This collaboration marks a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to strengthen and advance the tourism industry in the Caribbean region through evidence-based policy recommendations that contribute to the growth of a resilient and sustainable tourism industry, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the economic well-being of the Caribbean population. We believe that the expertise and insights of these academics from across the world will contribute immensely to the alignment of the priorities of our membership and deliver on our objectives,” said Neil Walters, CTO’s acting Secretary General.

“The recently signed Memorandum of Understanding of CRTN/ITSA with the Caribbean Tourism Organization is consistent with the vision and major goal of the International Tourism Studies Association. CTRN/ITSA and this MOU are model case studies of what ITSA wants to replicate in other world regions. It is a great example of the willingness to use knowledge exchange in tourism to improve the capacity and resilience of this important economic sector. CRTN/ITSA members and their colleagues around the globe stand ready to contribute to the successful implementation of this historic agreement,” commented Professor Alastair Morrison, Vice President of ITSA.

The arrangement is for an initial three-year period but can be extended by mutual agreement.

Tenisha Brown-Williams, ITSA Regional Vice President (Caribbean) and Chair of the CTRN/ITSA, stated that “the CTRN/ITSA aims to enhance tourism’s social and economic impact in the Caribbean by generating and disseminating high-quality useful research. We understand that our research should benefit industry stakeholders, tourism practitioners, policy-makers, destination planners, and the like in their understanding of critical Caribbean tourism issues and developing tourism policies, plans, and work programs. We are excited about this new partnership with the CTO and look forward to its positive impacts.”
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About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which is headquartered in Barbados, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish-speaking, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year-round, warm weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean. Among the benefits to its members the organization provides specialised support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution and research & information technology.

The CTO’s Headquarters is located at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados BB 22026; Tel: (246) 427-5242; E-mail: CTObarbados@caribtourism.com.

For more information about the Caribbean Tourism Organization, visit www.OneCaribbean.org and follow CTO on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram to be part of the conversation.

About the Caribbean Tourism Researchers Network (CTRN)/International Tourism Studies Association (ITSA)
The International Tourism Studies Association (ITSA) is uniquely devoted to scholarly exchange between researchers and practitioners focusing on the growth of tourism worldwide, especially in Asia. Founded in 2006 in Hangzhou, China, ITSA now has an office in London.

The organization is committed to developing a global tourism leadership forum that facilitates improvements in global hospitality and tourism. ITSA is unique among international associations of tourism scholars and practitioners. It has the mission to encourage interaction and cooperation between members in developing and developed countries.

The Caribbean Tourism Researchers Network (CTRN) is a subgroup of ITSA whose mission is to enhance the social and economic impact of tourism in the Caribbean through the generation and dissemination of high-quality useful research. The mailing address for the CTRN/ITSA is Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Unit (THSU) Department of Management Studies Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of the West Indies St. Augustine Campus Trinidad, West Indies; Tel: +1 868-662-2002 ext. 82621; E-mail: Tenisha.Brown@sta.uwi.edu

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St. Lucian Dona Regis-Prosper Named First Female Secretary-General and CEO of the Caribbean Tourism Organization

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (July 13, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the premier tourism development agency for 25 Caribbean countries and territories, has appointed Dona Regis-Prosper the new Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer. Beginning her assignment on September 1, 2023, Regis-Prosper, who hails from St. Lucia, is set to make history as the first woman to assume leadership of the intergovernmental body.

With an impressive career that spans more than 22 years, Regis-Prosper brings an unparalleled depth and breadth of knowledge and experience in the tourism industry to the CTO. She has lived and worked in multiple Caribbean destinations, and served as Director of Marketing and Product Development of the St. Lucia Air and Seaports Authority; Director of Business Development for Margaritaville Caribbean Group in Jamaica; CEO of the Tortola Pier Park in the British Virgin Islands; and General Manager of the Antigua Cruise Port where she is currently employed.

Chairman of the CTO, Kenneth Bryan, who is the Minister of Tourism and Ports of the Cayman Islands, welcomed Regis-Prosper to the regional body. “We are extremely pleased to have Dona Regis-Prosper come on board to lead the CTO. Her vast experience, strategic insight, and impressive track record in the tourism sector make her an exceptional choice to propel our organization into a new era,” he stated, adding that having more women in positions of influence enhances the efficiency of the region’s major economic earner and sends positive messages of encouragement and inspiration for women and girls across the Caribbean.

A dynamic and transformative leader who has built and sustained a strong network of professionals in both the public and private sector (working closely with regional government officials, tourism stakeholders, and industry professionals), Regis-Prosper emerged as the top choice from a pool of more than 60 highly qualified applicants. The rigorous selection process included multiple rounds of interviews and a comprehensive assessment related to addressing some of the most pressing issues faced by the regional tourism industry.

Chairman Bryan disclosed that throughout the selection process, ministers, commissioners and directors lauded Regis-Prosper’s transformational leadership style. “They found her to be innovative, forward-thinking, results-driven, and solution-oriented,” he said, noting that her perspective on managing the climate crisis was particularly well-received, illustrating her deep-seated passion for sustainability and her ability to develop practical solutions to critical industry issues.

Regis-Prosper takes over the organization’s leadership reins from Acting Secretary General and CEO Neil Walters, CTO’s Director of Finance and Resource Management, who has been filling the position following the retirement of Barbadian Hugh Riley in 2019. The other two Caribbean tourism professionals to serve in the region’s top tourism post include the late tourism stalwart Jean Holder and Vincent Vanderpool Wallace, former Bahamas Director General and Bahamas Minister of Tourism.

Of her new role, Regis-Prosper stated, “I am deeply honored to have been selected to serve as Secretary General of the CTO and am grateful for the trust and confidence the CTO Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism and the Board of Directors have placed in me. I eagerly look forward to working with our dedicated team and diverse stakeholders to promote the Caribbean tourism sector, champion sustainability, and continue to foster impactful relationships and deliver ROI for our members.”

With a Master of Business Administration degree, Certified Professional Marketer qualification, and significant experience in business development, strategy, marketing and sustainability, Regis-Prosper is well able to lead the Caribbean tourism sector into a bright and prosperous future, Chairman Bryan asserted.

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), headquartered in Barbados, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency, comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories, including Dutch-, English- and French-speaking, as well as a range of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year-round, warm-weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

Among the benefits to its members, the organization provides specialized support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution, and research & information technology.

The CTO’s headquarters is located at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados BB 22026; Tel: (246) 427-5242; Fax: (246) 429-3065; E-mail: CTObarbados@caribtourism.com.

For more information about the Caribbean Tourism Organization, visit www.OneCaribbean.org and follow CTO on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram to be part of the conversation.

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Collaboration critical during crisis – Caribbean tourism stakeholders

BARBADOS (July 6, 2023) – As the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season got off to a busy start, key stakeholders in the Caribbean tourism sector convened a virtual forum last week, placing a spotlight on the pivotal role of effective, strategic crisis communications when responding to, and recovering from, natural and manmade disasters.

During the forum, hosted by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the consensus was clear: collaboration across regional, national and community levels, paired with efficient, proactive communications, forms the backbone of successful crisis management and resilience in the tourism sector.

Neil Walters, Acting Secretary General of the intergovernmental CTO, noted that just three weeks into the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season the region had already witnessed three tropical storms, which forecasters signaled was an early and aggressive start to the hurricane season.

Walters told ministers, senior officials and private sector leaders participating in the webinar that, “Communication plays a vital role in managing crises, as it shapes perceptions, builds trust, and ensures that accurate and timely information reaches both internal and external audiences during times of crisis … (which) can mean the difference between chaos and order, despair and hope.” He further highlighted the importance of the CTO and CHTA collaboration, in working together to ensure the safety and well-being of visitors, industry professionals, and local communities.

Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic as “the world’s most devastating health crisis in over 100 years,” Nicola Madden-Greig, Director of marketing and sales for The Courtleigh Hospitality Group in Jamaica, and President of CHTA, which represents the private sector, asserted that partnership between the CTO and CHTA on disaster preparedness has been pivotal to navigate the various challenges that confront the Caribbean tourism sector. She noted the contributions of various partner organizations and surmised that maintaining the legacy of resilience and success as a region and destinations was tied to “working together at the regional, national and community levels.”

“Effective collaboration must be accompanied by effective communications, and in the age of multiple channels of communications, and when any of us with a cell phone and internet access can quickly report, accurately or not, on the status of a crisis, it is essential that we continue to build and implement sound communication plans to ensure that what is actually happening on the ground is reported in the most accurate way,” said Madden-Greig.

The virtual tourism forum, which focused on Crisis Communications and Best Practices for Hazards Response and Recovery, was the second in a series, jointly organized by the CTO and CHTA, as part of efforts to support disaster preparedness, sensitization and capacity building for the tourism sector.

Bevan Springer, president of Marketplace Excellence (MPE) who moderated the session, noted that timely, accurate press releases and updates are necessary, but it is equally important to ensure the narrative is from a Caribbean perspective, thereby framing the destination’s future agenda. “Every crisis prepares us to deal with the next crisis, and learning from one crisis to another is something that is critically important,” he declared.

Springer, who is also founder and president of the Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx), recommended developing post-crisis marketing plans to reboot and recover, such as the one MPE and the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism instituted after the twin “Irmaria” storms in 2017 to help get the Territory back on the map and into the marketplace by partnering with airlines, travel advisors and other strategic partners.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Trevor Moss, general manager of travel compliance for the Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation for The Bahamas. He outlined the integrated communication and cooperative system used by his country to deal with crises: “We work as one voice, one response with many moving parts, ensuring the safety of lives throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas by maintaining a structured method of response with clear communications prior (to), during, and after major incidents.”

Speaking about public relations initiatives for recovery in the British Virgin Islands after 2017’s twin storms, Lauren Kaufman, senior vice president and director of operations at MMGY NJF, asserted there were two types of crises: dangerous situations such as hurricanes, and reputational crises, which tend to last for months beyond some of the disasters comprising dangerous situations. For both situations, she recommended a robust media relations program. She encouraged stakeholders to be proactive by quickly getting messages out and securing control of the narrative.

Wrapping up the session, Lelei LeLaulu, a communications advisor to Marketplace Excellence, stressed the importance of first finding out what affected communities need to ensure delivery of appropriate aid in the aftermath of a disaster. He recommended a fundraising web page or portal and highlighted the need for regular updates on the status of recovery, as well as reporting to donors on how their resources were used.

The forum was designed to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, lessons learnt and experiences, with the aim of fostering a culture of tourism sector resilience.

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), headquartered in Barbados, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency, comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories, including Dutch-, English- and French-speaking, as well as a range of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year-round, warm-weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

Among the benefits to its members, the organization provides specialized support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution, and research & information technology.

The CTO’s headquarters is located at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados BB 22026; Tel: (246) 427-5242; Fax: (246) 429-3065; E-mail: CTObarbados@caribtourism.com.

For more information about the Caribbean Tourism Organization, visit www.OneCaribbean.org and follow CTO on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram to be part of the conversation.

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