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CTO Foundation Expands Programme with Industry-Specific Scholarships for Caribbean Nationals

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (25 Feb. 2019) – In an effort to provide more opportunities for Caribbean nationals pursuing higher education and careers in the tourism industry, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Scholarship Foundation has enhanced and expanded its programme.

With the support of partners in the private sector, the foundation is this year introducing scholarships of up to $5000 in public relations and communications; tourism education or human resources development; hotel, resort, or villa development, design and/or planning; and aviation or air transport technologies. In addition, the Arley Sobers Memorial Scholarship for those seeking to enhance their skills in tourism research or statistics is being doubled from US$2500 to $5000, while a master’s degree scholarship of no less than US$5,000 is being offered for studies in tourism-related disciplines, including language, agriculture, fisheries, horticulture, event management, interior design, medical tourism, architecture, sports, culture and heritage, environmental protection and preservation.

The foundation is also offering a US$5000 scholarship to Caribbean nationals interested in pursuing a first degree in tourism management or marketing, as well as study grants of US$2500 to those seeking to improve their skills in any tourism-related field of study that will enhance the development of a sustainable tourism industry and boost service excellence in the region.

“By expanding the programme to include financial support for study in this wide range of tourism-related subjects, the CTO Scholarship Foundation seeks to meet its objective of ensuring that the brightest and the best are attracted to careers in the tourism sector or in areas that impact tourism, thereby helping to build a Caribbean tourism industry that is globally competitive and sustainable,” says Jacqueline Johnson, the foundation’s chairman. “The foundation is profoundly thankful to our partners who have come on board to make these industry specific scholarships possible, and we look forward to welcoming other partners in the future.”

The private sector partners financing various scholarships include Zelman Style Interiors which is funding the hotel, resort, or villa rental scholarship, and Delta Air Lines which funds the aviation and air transport technologies scholarship.

The full list of scholarships and grants, along with criteria for qualification, can be found at https://bit.ly/2JhVfO3. Applications are currently being accepted and the deadline for submitting entries is Friday, 19 April 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. All applications must be submitted online at https://bit.ly/2VeNQUX. Applications will not be accepted via mail, email or fax. The foundation selects individuals who demonstrate high levels of achievement and leadership both within and outside the classroom and who express a strong interest in making a positive contribution to Caribbean tourism.

Individuals who wish to make a contribution to the CTO Foundation can do so via its GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/cto-scholarship-foundation.

The CTO Foundation is a 501 (C)(3) entity established in 1997 with the aim of training and developing future leaders for the Caribbean tourism industry by funding studies in tourism and tourism-related subjects, hospitality and language. Since its inception, the foundation has raised over US$1 million in scholarship funds and has provided over 280 grants and scholarships.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Scholarship Foundation

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Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua Voted Best Caribbean Attraction

St. John’s, Antigua (February 22, 2019) – Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua and Barbuda, has been voted Best Attraction in the Caribbean. Nelson’s Dockyard, the only continuously working Georgian naval dockyard in the world, topped the category in the annual 10Best Readers’ Choice Award, as voted by USA TODAY readers.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016, Nelson’s Dockyard, which was nominated by a panel of Caribbean travel experts, is still used today as a working dockyard for numerous yachts and ships. Fully restored to its original splendor, the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century buildings of the Dockyard house modern amenities such as shops, hotels, and marina businesses. Outside the dockyard, historic forts dot the landscape of the park accessible by hiking trails which allow visitors to enjoy the park’s scenic and natural beauty.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism & Investment, Hon. Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez has high praises for the park’s staff. “We have a remarkable team at the Nelson’s Dockyard and other National Parks, that bring our intriguing heritage and rich cultural traditions alive. It is our hope that visitors to the island will experience this award-winning attraction and tour with our hospitable guides other fascinating sites such as the recently restored Clarence House, built for King William IV and visited by members of the royal family, inclusive of Princess Margaret and Prince Harry in recent years; alongside Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre, Shirley’s Heights, and Betty’s Hope,” notes Hernandez.

According to Chief Executive Officer of The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C. James, this latest accolade is welcomed and underscores the attractiveness of our island to visitors. “While we may be best known for our 365 beaches and breathtaking views, Antigua has a variety of attractions which makes it a most sought-after destination for visitors looking for relaxation, fun and great adventure. We need to extend a tremendous thank you to the scores of individuals those at home and abroad who showed their appreciation for the Nelson’s Dockyard and the work of the National Parks Authority, by voting the park into the number one spot.”

The Nelson’s Dockyard is the home to annual world-renowned events such as the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the RORC Caribbean 600, the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, Antigua Sailing Week, the Antigua Charter Yacht Show and a host of other events for sailors and families. The Dockyard also hosts a weekly Seafood Friday, popular amongst visitors and residents.

Antigua enjoyed a number of other top ten finishes: Among them, Catherine’s Café, third in the Best Beach Bar; and Curtain Bluff, sixth in the category Best Resort. Antigua was also voted 6th in Best Island for Romance category while Dickenson Bay and Deep Bay, were seventh and eighth respectively in the Best Beach category.

Find more information on Antigua and Barbuda at www.visitantiguabarbuda.com

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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St. Maarten’s Airport Nominated for PrivateFly’s “Most Scenic Airport Landing” for 2019

NEW YORK, NY (February 15, 2019) – Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) has been shortlisted for PrivateFly’s 2019 “Most Scenic Airport Landings” poll. An independent panel of travel industry experts and influencers curated this year’s shortlist of 32 airports from across the globe. The ultimate top 10 is to be voted on by the general public. Voting is currently open online and concludes on February 28. This is not the first time St. Maarten’s renowned airport has been nominated for the honor, having been included in the top 10 list every year since 2010.

“We would like to thank PrivateFly’s esteemed panel for acknowledging our airport’s stunning views once again this year,” stated the Director of Tourism of St. Maarten Ms. May-Ling Chun. “We thank those who vote for Princess Juliana International Airport in advance and hope to be featured on this prestigious list again this year.”

SXM Airport is world-renowned for its exciting plane takeoffs and landings, which take place just above the heads of beachgoers at Maho Beach. Voting can be done via PrivateFly’s website.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Caribbean Tourism on the Upswing

~ CTO projects 6-7 per cent growth in 2019 following better-than-predicted performance last year ~

CTO’s director of research (ag) Ryan Skeete addresses this morning’s news conference

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (13 Feb. 2019) – The Caribbean tourism sector is projected to record strong growth in 2019 on the heels of a stronger-than-expected performance last year.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the authority on regional tourism statistics and performance, is forecasting 6-7 per cent growth this year, continuing an upward trend which began last September.

“We are projecting that tourist arrivals will increase by between six and seven per cent in 2019, as the damaged infrastructure in the hurricane-impacted destinations returns to capacity. Similarly, cruise arrivals should expand by a further four per cent to five per cent,” Ryan Skeete the CTO’s acting director of research revealed at the Caribbean Tourism Performance Review news conference at the CTO’s headquarters this morning.

Skeete did caution of possible “significant headwinds to navigate”, including the outcome of the Brexit negotiations in the UK, the on-going trade war between the United States and China and potential extreme weather events in the destinations and marketplaces.

Still, he said, with global demand for international travel expected to remain strong, underpinned by healthy economic activity, and with improved air connectivity helping to boost arrivals, the outlook for Caribbean tourism in 2019 was cautiously optimistic.

The CTO research director revealed that a robust 9.8 per cent growth during the September to December period last year, led to a stronger-than-projected performance. It was a significant turnaround from the previous eight months of decline.

“Even the destinations that were severely impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, despite registering overall double-digit declines last year, experienced a significant turnaround during the last four months, registering triple-digit increases during this period,” Skeete told the briefing, which was streamed ‘live’ to an international audience.

The 29.9 million tourist visits in 2018 represented the second highest number of visitors to the Caribbean on record, surpassed only by the 30.6 million who visited in 2017. And while this represented a 2.3 per cent decline overall, it was better that the anticipated three per cent to four per cent fall-off.

“With a strong performance during the last four months of 2018, including a robust showing by countries impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, the evidence suggests that Caribbean tourism is on the upswing,” Skeete declared.

According to information compiled from CTO member countries, Canada was the strongest performing market – its 3.9 million visits represented a 5.7 per cent rise. The intra-Caribbean market had its best performance ever, reaching two million visitors, while South America produced 1.9 million tourist visits, representing a 3.6 per cent increase. Arrivals from Europe grew by a modest 1.3 per cent, with UK arrivals remaining flat at an estimated 1.3 million.

However, the United States, which remains the region’s leading market, was down, with the 13.9 million American tourist visits representing a 6.3 per cent fall. This was due mainly to steep declines in arrivals to popular destinations impacted by the hurricanes, such as Puerto Rico, which was down by 45.6 per cent, and St. Maarten, which fell by 79 per cent.

This notwithstanding, there was a healthy 28 per cent rise in arrivals from the US in the fourth quarter, reflecting the strong turnaround during this period.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Port St. Maarten Reports Over 1.5 Million Cruise Passengers in 2018

New York (February 6, 2019) – Port St. Maarten welcomed a total of 1,597,101 cruise passengers on 489 cruise calls in 2018, reflecting a 29% increase in visitor arrivals year-over-year. The acclaimed cruise port saw a 30.3% increase from May through July, when cruise visitations to the island are typically a bit slower.

“St. Maarten’s cruise port has always been one of the best in the Caribbean. These arrival numbers don’t only reflect that fact, but also highlight how quickly the island has bounced back,” said the Director of Tourism of St. Maarten Ms. May-Ling Chun.

The latter half of 2018 also brought about the return to pre-Irma cruise arrival numbers. Port St. Maarten welcomed 646,431 passengers from September to December, indicating a 17.87% increase in arrivals from the same time period in 2016, a full year before Hurricane Irma.

“St. Maarten as a tourism product is set to come back even stronger and better than ever,” stated Stuart Johnson, St. Maarten’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport, and Telecommunication. “We look forward to continuing to welcome cruise passengers back to our shores with classic St. Maarten warmth and hospitality throughout 2019.”

Though 2017–2018 numbers year over year showcase a positive path of progression for Port St. Maarten, 2017 was generally a slower year for the port as it was not operational for the months of October and November.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Grenada’s Tourism Sector Soars with Increased Airlift and New Development

St. George’s, Grenada W.I. – February 4, 2019 – Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean, recorded more than 500,000 visitor arrivals in 2018, a historic number that proves the three-island destination’s tourism industry is “one-to-watch” for 2019 and beyond. To match the growing demand, each section of the island can now be explored as tours and experiences are taking visitors to lesser known and untouched corners. In addition, restaurants across the island are using locally-sourced ingredients, providing increased opportunities for local farmers and business owners to thrive. For fans of the island and eager newcomers looking to discover this Caribbean gem, here are the latest news and developments from Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique:


Grenada saw an increase in visitor arrivals across the board with total visitor arrivals (528,077) growing by 12.9 percent year-on-year. The stayover arrivals (160,970) grew by 9.97 percent with the largest growth year-on-year from Canada (17,364) at 19 percent. The United States (75,577) saw a 12 percent growth and the Caribbean (28,990), a 7 percent growth. The cruising sector (342,826) saw arrivals grow by 14.49 percent and the yachting sector (24,281) grew by 10.82 percent.


American Airlines added an additional flight on Saturdays from Miami International Airport in December 2018, which ends service March 30, 2019.

Sunwing launched 22 flights from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Grenada in December 2018 with service ending April 21, 2019. Packages with Sunwing include return airfare and airport transfers, accommodations at Starfish Resort Grenada or Coyaba Beach Resort, and the services of a Sunwing representative.

Air Canada added a third weekly flight in December 2018 from Toronto Pearson International Airport, which is offered every Tuesday. The service ends on March 26, 2019.


Calabash Luxury Boutique Resort has renovated its Beach Club restaurant to expose interiors to panoramic views of the beach and bay with new lounge furniture for a fresh, new look.

Green Roof Inn, located in Carriacou, has a new sea-front yoga pavilion as well as a newly constructed dinghy dock that allows guests to take water taxis to Sandy Island or Tobago Cays. The hotel also has a massage parlor with an on-site wellness ambassador, Kenya Lewis. La Playa Beach Bar & Bistro has live music every Saturday on the beach in Hillsborough and grilled lobster with a bonfire on special evenings.

Kimpton Kawana Bay Resort on Grand Anse Beach will open in two phases with plans for 92 rooms and suites as well as all amenities and services to be open in 2020 and an additional 120 to open by 2021.

Mount Hartman Bay Estate will open to the public at the end of January 2019 as a 16-bedroom private resort with three swimming pools, a 185-foot private dock, a large hot tub and a pool. Groups can book online between four to sixteen bedrooms with a full staff and meal plan as well as use of two on-site boats.

Royalton Grenada has announced its opening slated for December 2019 with 300 rooms, eight restaurants, a world class spa and a health and wellness program. Formerly The Grenadian by Rex Resorts, Royalton Grenada will renovate the entire property and will also include the option for guests to upgrade to butler service.

Secret Harbour Boutique Hotel, Restaurant & Marina has gone through a renovation to its 20 cottages focusing on a more chic and modern design. Each cottage offers a stunning ocean view, balcony, living room, fully equipped kitchen, and king size bed. The on-site restaurant also underwent an upgrade with new furniture and décor, and is now named Sel et Poivre, with a newly appointed chef, Chef Bruno Deligne, from France. The restaurant serves French cuisine with local products and an ever-changing menu depending on fresh catches and seasonal offerings.

Silversands Grenada opened its doors on December 1. Its 43 suites and nine residential villas are situated on Grand Anse Beach and feature a minimalist design. Two dining venues, The Grenadian Grill and Asiatique, source local ingredients and spices as well as fresh catches. Guests can enjoy cooking classes at Asiatique to learn about Grenada’s local ingredients. A cigar and rum bar, Puro, overlooks the resort’s 100-meter long pool and entices guests to lounge while enjoying a rare rum and Cuban cigar. The Spa by Silversands is a unique sanctuary with four treatment rooms, a sauna, hammam and fitness center anchored around a private swimming pool and cabanas.

True Blue Bay Boutique Resort will open Grenada’s first environmentally friendly hotel rooms in February 2019, which will be 22 self-sustainable rooms with solar-heated water and ethically sourced wood for furniture wherever possible. Additionally, there will be three wheelchair accessible rooms as well as balconies with a view of the garden or bay.


Calabash Luxury Boutique Resort was named Grenada’s Leading Boutique Hotel in the 2018 World Travel Awards. The hotel was also ranked number six in the top 25 luxury hotels in the Caribbean in the 2018 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards and most recently as No.1 Luxury Hotel in the Caribbean by TripAdvisor UK for 2019. Additionally, it was named No. 2 in the Top 25 Hotels – Caribbean by TripAdvisor UK for 2019. The luxury boutique resort was also invited to join the prestigious American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program in September 2018.

Sandals Grenada received three accolades from the 2018 World Travel Awards, which were the World’s Leading All Inclusive Resort, Caribbean’s Leading Luxury All Inclusive Resort and Grenada’s Leading Resort. Additionally the resort was named number 10 in the Top Caribbean Resorts category in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards.

Spice Island Beach Resort retained the coveted AAA Five Diamond rating for its third consecutive year and was named among the top three “Best Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean,” in a new ranking by Fodor’s Travel and number four in the top 25 luxury hotels in the Caribbean in the 2018 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards. The resort was also named number 11 in the Top Caribbean Resorts category in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards. In addition, the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences also recognized the resort with a six star diamond award for the fifth year.


Camper & Nicholson Port Louis Marina is adding 90 plus docks, to its current 160 docks, by August 2019. The new docks will accommodate boats between 12 and 22 meters.


Hidden Treasures, a niche hiking tour company, has added new tours to its offerings that range from low to high intensity hiking. A completely customizable experience, the tours take hikers through beaches, waterfalls, farms, remote villages and rum distilleries while adhering to sustainable practices. The company is owned and operated by Simon Green, who is a hiking enthusiast and guide with more than 30 years of experience.

A new hiking tour company, Wondering Soles, aims to take visitors off the beaten path and away from the more well-known attractions to provide an immersive experience within Grenada’s natural environment. Starting at US $40 per person, each hike goes through a pre-selected route whether to waterfalls, up mountains, along the coast or down the river.


Opened November 2018, Spice Affair, located on Lance Aux Epines, is a fusion restaurant of Indian, Oriental, European and American Cuisine with the best flavors and spices. Notable dishes include the Butter Chicken “Loaded with Love” and the Dum Chicken Biryani with broiled saffron strands. Open for dinner every night, its hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Reservations are highly recommended.

Opening Feb. 3, 2019, Pier 57 is an event space fit for large events such as weddings and concerts.  Located just two miles north of the town of St. George’s, the space is on the Western Main Road and situated by the water’s edge.

One of the island’s popular eateries, Aquarium Restaurant underwent a complete refurbishment November 2018 which included a larger bar, new furniture, new lighting fixtures and open-concept kitchen. In the coming months, a new upstairs area with a bar, gazebo and private area will be added.

For more information, visit www.puregrenada.com.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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