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CTO congratulates CARICOM on 50th anniversary

BARBADOS (July 4, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has extended well wishes to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.

“In celebrating this significant milestone, we acknowledge the exceptional leadership of visionaries such as Errol Barrow, Forbes Burnham, Michael Manley, Eric Williams, and many others who have paved the way for unity and progress within CARICOM,” stated Kenneth Bryan, CTO Chairman and Minister of Tourism and Ports of the Cayman Islands. He continued, “Their dedication and foresight have played a pivotal role in shaping the Caribbean region into what it is today.”

Chairman Bryan emphasized the CTO’s recognition of the immense value CARICOM brings to the region. “The collaborative efforts within CARICOM have significantly contributed to the growth and development of tourism, a vital industry for our economies. Together, we have worked towards sustainable tourism practices, enhancing visitor experiences, and promoting the unique cultural heritage of our member states,” he stated. He also affirmed the CTO’s commitment to supporting CARICOM’s continued progress and success, stating, “We stand ready to collaborate and create a brighter future for our region.”

Last month, Chairman Bryan was part of a special CARICOM flag-raising ceremony in New York City to commemorate the golden anniversary. The event was organized in collaboration with the Office of the Mayor and the CARICOM Consular Corps in New York.

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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Caribbean Week in New York Comeback a Success

NEW YORK (June 13, 2023) – Kenneth Bryan, Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), described the first post-pandemic Caribbean Week in New York as a success as public and private sector leaders and stakeholders addressed priority issues impacting the region during various meetings and activities.

The week’s events in New York comprised business meetings; an informative tourism marketing forum, during which speakers examined current travel trends and future projections for the region’s main economic driver; and a bustling Media Marketplace, where officials shared travel and tourism updates with the members of the working press.

Speaking at a press conference on the final day of Caribbean Week, Chairman Bryan, who also serves as the Minister of Tourism and Ports for the Cayman Islands, stated that the CTO was committed to continuing the development of research, knowledge, and information. This approach is intended to guide its members on “how best to be effective in the tourism industry, but also to help us market what we do as a region.”

A critical issue discussed during the ministerial meetings was the persistent problem of sargassum washing up on the region’s beaches, damaging foreshores and negatively impacting tourism. Suggesting the phenomenon was caused by global warming, Bryan stated that the CTO was endeavoring to identify strategies to manage the onslaught of the malodorous seaweed, such as implementing preventative measures or collecting the sargassum for positive uses.

Air connectivity was a significant point of discussion for the assembled tourism directors, ministers, and commissioners of tourism. Bryan acknowledged the challenges destinations are facing due to the high costs associated with airline operations, saying “There’s no easy solution.” In addition to dialogue with the World Bank, CARICOM and the Caribbean Development Bank, studies are underway to explore solutions for financing increased connectivity in the short- and medium-term.

Chairman Bryan revealed that destinations with their own airlines, such as the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas, “are trying to work on ways of helping our brothers and sisters with connectivity.”

During the meeting, the CTO officially welcomed Bermuda back as its 25th member. Chairman Bryan expressed his ambition to increase the membership to 30. The CTO recently celebrated the U.S. Virgin Islands’ return to its fold.

Discussing the organization’s financial condition, Bryan reported improvement as member countries and territories continued to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Many destinations, he noted, were performing better than they were in 2019 with average daily rates “through the roof”. “So our finances are back (on stream),” he said, enabling the organization to restructure and adapt its marketing strategies to the evolving landscape.

“Marketing today is totally different than it was even five years ago,” Bryan asserted, citing strategies such as leveraging influencer marketing and using artificial intelligence to maximize arrivals and revenue.

Bryan disclosed that the CTO is also exploring ways to augment revenue through data sharing and data research. Furthermore, progress has been made in identifying a candidate to fill the position of Secretary General and the Chairman said he anticipates an announcement in the near future.

During the week, some member countries hosted independent events and gatherings with strategic partners, travel trade stakeholders and members of their diasporas, leveraging their presence in The Big Apple to strengthen those critical relationships.

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.

Posted in: 2023 News, Blog, Caribbean Week, Corporate News

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CTO Chairman urges action on disaster preparedness and climate resilience

BARBADOS (June 4, 2023) – Kenneth Bryan, chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), speaking to senior tourism and government officials, scientists and members of the media from around the region meeting last week to address issues of hurricane preparedness and climate resilience, stated that hurricanes and climate-related hazards threaten the region’s development and its tourism sector, and preparation and mitigation are of paramount importance.

He asserted that as a counterbalance to life in one of the most desirable travel destinations in the world, “the price that we pay for living in the beautiful Caribbean is that we are faced with a variety of weather-related threats that can have hugely detrimental effects on human life, property, livelihoods, businesses, investment and the environment.”

Minister Bryan encouraged the Caribbean, and by extension the regional tourism sector, to confront the significant effects posed by global climate change and its related impacts, such as dry spells and droughts, which impact the ability to provide adequate water resources; heat waves that have health implications for tourism employees and visitors alike; and sea level rise, which is accelerating beach erosion and increasing the vulnerability of tourism facilities, many of which are located in low-lying coastal areas.

Additionally, he asserted that increasing sea surface temperatures have contributed to coral bleaching and the eventual mortality of this valuable natural resource, which he noted is not only a key tourist attraction, but also serves as essential nurseries for declining fish stocks.

Chairman Bryan, who is Minister of Tourism and Ports for the Cayman Islands, was addressing a virtual CTO Forum, the first in a series on disaster preparedness and climate resilience, as part of preparedness activities for the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The CTO Forum gathered experts from the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to address the 2023 seasonal forecast and share mitigation and preparedness strategies. Best practices for hazard response and recovery, which are equally important, will be covered in the next forum.

In the Caribbean context, natural hazard risk management and building resilience to climate change, according to Chairman Bryan, draw on the same intervention methodologies, predicated on safeguarding lives, livelihoods, property and investments.

Even as the region navigates through the vestiges of COVID-19, the development of a sustainable tourism industry, stated Chairman Bryan, “requires a multi-pronged approach that must include the formulation of adequate policy safeguards.”

The head of the intergovernmental agency stated that success “calls for both government and the private sector to work collaboratively in the development of plans and strategies to reduce risk and vulnerability.”

Even more important, he urged a proactive approach to implement the needed actions to increase the resilience of destinations and “by extension, our tourism sector through actions such as infrastructure improvements; investments in early warning systems; engaging in joint advocacy; effective communication and media management before and after times of crisis; and education and awareness for visitors and residents alike, all underpinned by robust digital technology and information communication systems.”

He observed that tourism is a powerful economic engine, which fuels the region’s economies, drives new businesses and investments, provides linkages with other economic sectors, and generates the tax revenues essential to the building of infrastructure and government services.

Given this foundational reality, Bryan urged the participants to be proactive and rigorous in undertaking the necessary actions to enable long-term tourism resilience.

The CTO chairman called on the region to renew its commitment and responsibility to safeguard people and visitors within the region, the planet, properties and infrastructure investments, “which will ensure that this Caribbean paradise that we all call home remains globally competitive, and maintains its appeal as a safe destination to live, visit and invest in.”

The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be “near normal”. Experts suggest that there will be 12 to 17 named storms and five to nine hurricanes this year, with one to four major hurricanes.

To review the webinar, visit https://youtu.be/uJxsGVDt-eE.

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CTO, CBU Forge Partnership to Showcase Caribbean Week in New York

NEW YORK (May 29, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) have announced a joint partnership, which will have as its first action amplification of the coverage of the highly anticipated Caribbean Week in New York, scheduled to take place from June 5 to 8, 2023.

This strategic collaboration between the CTO and CBU aims to create a platform for showcasing the latest developments and trends in the Caribbean’s vital tourism industry, reaching regional and international audiences through content sharing and distribution.

Under the agreement, the collaborative will leverage CBU’s extensive media broadcast and digital network spanning 20 countries to disseminate tourism updates and interviews with key stakeholders, including ministers, commissioners, directors of tourism, and other participants during the week’s activities.

“By providing insights into the initiatives led by Caribbean tourism leaders, this partnership will offer viewers within and beyond the region a comprehensive understanding of the ongoing efforts to revive and strengthen the Caribbean’s tourism industry,” said Neil Walters, Acting Secretary General of the CTO.

Dr. Claire Grant, President of the CBU, expressed her enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating, “This partnership allows us to showcase the rich diversity and allure of the Caribbean to our vast audiences. We are thrilled to work alongside the CTO to promote the region’s tourism industry and foster engagement with the media.”

Caribbean Week in New York, organized under the auspices of the CTO Foundation, will be an exceptional occasion to highlight the vibrant Caribbean culture, encourage networking within the tourism industry, and promote thought leadership. The event will feature a dynamic lineup of events and business meetings, including sessions with the CTO Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and Council of Ministers and Commissioners. These discussions will center around critical issues shaping the direction and growth of Caribbean tourism, facilitating robust and strategic dialogue.

Throughout the week, attendees can look forward to a Welcome Cocktail Reception hosted by CTO Allied Members, and a Tourism Industry Marketing Conference to explore the latest trends in destination growth.

The CTO will also host a press breakfast and the popular Media Marketplace, enabling Caribbean countries to engage with close to 50 trade, consumer, and diaspora media.

Funds raised during the week will contribute to scholarships and grants for Caribbean students in the region and the diaspora.

More than 20 CTO member countries and territories will be in attendance, demonstrating their collective commitment to rebuilding the region’s largest source market.

For more information about Caribbean Week in New York, please visit caribbeanweek.com

About the Caribbean Broadcasting Union

The Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) is a not-for-profit association of public service and commercial broadcasters in the Caribbean, reaching over 4.8 million people in the region. As a regional institution, it facilitates discussion and analysis that assist in policy formulation on major integration issues. For more information, visit www.caribroadcastunion.org.

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Henry Harteveldt to Deliver Keynote Address at Caribbean Week, New York

NEW YORK (May 19, 2023) – Renowned travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt will keynote the highly anticipated Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Tourism Industry Marketing Conference, scheduled to take place during Caribbean Week in New York from June 5-8, 2023.

Harteveldt, a widely respected travel industry analyst and founder of Atmosphere Research Group, an independent and unbiased travel industry strategic research and advisory firm, will keynote the conference on “A Changed Traveler; A Changed Airline Industry: Understanding Both”. With his extensive knowledge and expertise, Harteveldt will provide valuable insights into the shifting landscape of traveler behaviors and the evolving airline industry.

The theme of the marketing conference, to be held on Wednesday, June 7 at the Martinique New York on Broadway in midtown Manhattan, is “Tourism Industry Resurgence in a Whole New World”.

From capitalizing on changing dynamics and building awareness in new markets, this conference, held under the auspices of the CTO Foundation, offers valuable insights into current industry trends with discussions covering destination performance, leading strategies, the impact of artificial intelligence, and Caribbean tourism success stories.

Following the keynote, a panel discussion will examine “Capitalizing on the Changing Dynamics of Today’s Traveler”, and will emphasize the importance of an integrated approach that aligns marketing, product development, and technology to enhance the visitor experience. Panelists include moderator Susan Black, CEO of Susan Black Associates LLC; Danny Cohanpour, CEO of Trove Tourism Development Advisors; and Sindy Diab, Vice President of Travel Performance Data at MMGY.

The panel discussion entitled “Building Awareness and Driving Growth in New Markets” will explore the opportunities presented by market expansion and diversification in the Caribbean. Sarah Glover, Vice President of News & Civic Dialogue at WHYY News; Dawit Habtemarian, Global Tourism Reporter at Skift; and Henry Zamarripa, Latin America and Emerging Markets Executive, will shed light on attracting visitors from the Gulf states, Latin America, and the African American market. Melissa Noel, an award-winning, New York-based Caribbean-American reporter and media entrepreneur, will moderate the session.

The final panel on “The Winning Formula: Success Stories from the Caribbean” will highlight the remarkable post-pandemic recovery of the Caribbean tourism industry. Tourism ministers who will drive the discussion include CTO Chairman Kenneth Bryan, Minister of Tourism and Ports for the Cayman Islands; St. Lucia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, Ernest Hilaire; Joseph Boschulte, Commissioner of Tourism of the United States Virgin Islands; Ruisandro Cijntje, Minister of Economic Development of Curaçao; and Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism of the Turks & Caicos Islands. John Peters, Founder of Strategic Partnership Advisors, will moderate this panel discussion.

Peters will also deliver a feature address, providing an insightful exploration of post-pandemic travel trends, with a focus on the potential impact of artificial intelligence on future trends.

Caribbean Week’s Tourism Industry Marketing Conference promises to be a pivotal event for industry professionals seeking to navigate the evolving landscape of travel and tourism.

Funds raised during Caribbean Week will go towards scholarships and grants for Caribbean students in the region and the diaspora.

Caribbean Week in New York sponsors include Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation; Cayman Islands Department of Tourism; interCaribbean Airways; Jamaica Tourist Board; Tobago Tourism Agency Limited; and United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism.

2023 partners include the Caribbean Broadcasting Union, MMGY, Strategic Partnership Advisors, Susan Black Associates LLC, and Trove Tourism Development Advisors.

For more information about Caribbean Week 2023, please visit caribbeanweek.com.

 

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