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CTO Announces Finalists for Canada Travel Media Awards

TORONTO, Canada (24 July, 2019) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has announced the finalists for its annual media awards competition for the Canadian market. Canadian journalists will be recognised during the Media Day luncheon on 22 August at the Boulevard Club (1491 Lake Shore Blvd. West, Toronto).

Hosted by award-winning journalist Dwight Drummond, the awards luncheon honours journalists who have produced Caribbean stories for Canadian and other media outlets.

Following are the Caribbean Media Awards finalists for each category:

I Couldn’t Have Written It Better Myself: Best Feature in a Consumer Newspaper

  • Melanie Reffes: “Caribbean Cruise Ports: What to do When You Get There” – The Suburban
  • Pamela Fieber: “Much to Sip and Savour High Up in the Blue Mountains” – Calgary Herald
  • Erin MacLeod: “In Post-Carnival Trinidad, the Party Never Really Ends” – The New York Times

Been There, Wrote That: Best Feature in a Consumer Magazine

  • Mark Stevens: “Looking for Jerk in All the Right Places” – All At Sea
  • Josephine Matyas: “The Soul Cleansing Beauty of Dominica” –  Luxe
  • Wayne Curtis: “Rum for It” – En Route

Inner Circle King/Queen: Best Feature in a Trade Publication

  • Mark Stevens: “Saint Lucia: Inspiration Island” – Caribbean Business & Travel
  • Martha Chapman: “Inside the Real Barbados” – Open Jaw
  • Anita Draycott: “Liming Bajan Style” –  Travel Industry Today

Virtual Visitor Award: Best Online Feature

  • Josephine Matyas: “Cruising the British Virgin Islands”  – Dreamscapes
  • Jennifer Merrick: “Montego Bay – Relearning the Art of Doing Nothing” – Modern Mississauga
  • Bianca Bujan: “How to Eat Like a Bajan” – BC Living

Oh Snap! Best Photograph Accompanying a Story

  • Jennifer Merrick: “Bob Marley’s Jamaica”  –  Buffalo Spree
  • Sharon Matthews-Stevens: “An Abacos Adventure” –  Canadian Yachting
  • Ann Ruppenstein: “Discovering Another Side of Jamaica” –  Travel Courier

Oh My Word, I Blogged!: Best Blog Posting

  • Tamara Elliott: “Belize’s ATM Cave Tour: Where Adventure Meets Mayan Sacrifices” – Globe Guide
  • Marilyn Préfontaine: “Douce Martinique: l’île aux mille couleurs” – Marginale et heureuse
  • Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil: “ Green Grotto Caves –  The Natural Beauty of Runaway Bay” – The PlanetD.com

Me Too! I Rediscovered Home! Best Feature by a Diasporan Journalist in Diaspora Media

  • Michael Van Cooten: “Soca Royalty”  –  Pride News
  • Parm Palmer: “Things to do in Grenada” – The Planet D
  • Simone Jennifer Smith: “How Much Can You Fit into One Day? – The Journey Through Kingston, Jamaica!” – Toronto Caribbean Newspaper

Look, I’ve Gone Social: Best Social Media Coverage of an Event or Activity

  • Kael Rebick: “Fam Trip to St. Vincent and the Grenadines”
  • Diana Becevello: “A Catamaran Trip to Turks and Caicos Islands”

I Have Influence: Best Executed Influencer Campaign That Delivered Results Based On Agreed Objectives

  • Monika Koehler: “#LoveBarbadosFood”

CTO assembled a panel of expert media and travel industry judges to review submissions and determine the award winners, led by head judge Tim Doyle:

  • Tim Doyle is coordinator of journalism programmes at Centennial College, including the school’s innovative postgraduate programme in contemporary journalism that was introduced in 2018. Doyle worked for more than 20 years in print journalism before moving to digital in 1999 as founding executive producer of hockey website, Faceoff.com. Later, with Canwest and Postmedia, he held a number of senior roles including founding editor-in-chief of the Canada.com network and vice president and editor-in-chief New Media. Doyle joined the faculty at Centennial in 2014 and teaches in the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and in the school’s joint programme with the University of Toronto Scarborough.
  • Kattrin Duncan has more than 15 years on Destination Ontario’s media relations team and has been a trusted partner to journalists, editors and the travel PR industry across the globe. Duncan is always eager to pitch interesting Ontario story ideas or assist media with finding compelling content.
  • Anna Hobbs turned to travelling – across Canada and around the world –writing about her experiences after a fulfilling 25-year stint on the editorial staff at Canadian Living.
  • Josh Kahn is a well-respected tourism industry consultant and public relations specialist at award-winning boutique agency KTCpr as well as immediate past chairman for the prestigious New York Chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
  • Sandra Kitchen, following a 20 year career with Sunquest Vacations, established Worldly Marketing Strategies in 2001. With a focus towards the entrepreneurial tourism and publishing industries, Kitchen has been associated with Dreamscapes Travel and Lifestyle Magazine as publisher from 2001 to 2011, and is currently associate publisher.

About Dwight Drummond:

Dwight Drummond is an award-winning journalist and the host on CBC Toronto News at Six, which airs weeknights on CBC television. Drummond has been a reporter and news anchor for over two decades. With Drummond at the helm, CBC Toronto News is yet again nominated for Best Local Newscast at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards (CSA). Dwight is also nominated for Best Local Anchor. In 2015, Drummond and CBC Toronto News at Six were recognised as Canada’s best local newscast. As a reporter, Drummond was known for his exclusives –  he broke local stories that went national, and has reported internationally. Drummond has also received a number of awards for his police reporting and commendations for his community work. He is a recipient of the Men of Excellence Award, the Distinguished Men of Honour Award and the African Canadian Achievement Award for Excellence in Media.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Media Awards

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CTO Mourns Loss of Marie Walker, Long-Time Tourism Colleague & Friend of the Caribbean

NEW YORK, NY (July 15, 2019) – Executives and staff of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) are mourning the loss of Marie Walker, a long-time Jamaica-born tourism colleague and friend who dedicated her time to the betterment of the Caribbean region.

“Marie Walker was a passionate tourism regionalist who never missed an opportunity to serve on a CTO committee, most recently at the Caribbean Week debriefing meeting two weeks ago,” said Sylma Brown, director of CTO-USA, Inc. “She shared her expertise freely and supported destination colleagues without hesitation. She exuded with warmth, energy and authenticity. The Caribbean and our small community of National Tourist Offices (NTOs) and allied members in the U.S. has lost a champion. Marie will be missed by all who knew and loved her,” Brown added.

Walker worked in the Caribbean tourism industry for 40 years, most recently as the principal of Turnstyle Marketing where she worked closely with Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Lucia. She served as a director of the Anguilla Tourist Board and vice president of sales and marketing with Antigua and Barbuda.

Walker began her career with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in the Kingston headquarters and later in JTB’s New York office where she worked her way up to become advertising relations manager. She was instrumental in growing business for Jamaica with the award-winning One Love advertising campaign and was an early innovator by engaging Jamaicans living abroad before the Caribbean Diaspora was established as a viable market.

Walker was the founder of the popular Jerk to Go restaurants in New York City and was planning the company’s expansion across the U.S.

She previously sat on the board of the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies and has served on several CTO committees including the committee for the CTO’s Governments of the Caribbean State Ball.

Walker is survived by her husband, New York Supreme Court Justice Sam Walker, her parents Sadie and Clinton Deeble, her sister Jackie Vickers, nieces Nicola and Celine and other relatives and friends. A celebration of life ceremony is being planned for New York and Florida.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog

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Caribbean Pushes for Inclusive Tourism Development

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (3 July 2019) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is creating a plan for the systematic development of community-based tourism as a viable niche and will present the details during the upcoming Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development.

The event, otherwise known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (#STC2019), is scheduled for 26-29 Aug. 2019 at the Beachcombers Hotel in St. Vincent and is organised by CTO in partnership with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA).

At a general session titled “Community-based Tourism Driving Tourism Innovations and Experiences” scheduled 11:30 a.m. on 27 August, delegates will be presented with robust market research that encapsulates visitors’ willingness to pay for innovative tourism experiences across the Caribbean. The session will also delve into how community tourism supports product diversification and differentiation and can enhance community participation in tourism, with the ultimate benefit being the creation of a distinctive and responsible tourism brand.

CTO has worked with regional partner the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF) – a development programme that focuses on innovative and practical solutions that stimulate economic growth, productivity and competitiveness – to develop the market research.

Session presenters include a Compete Caribbean representative who will address the need for cooperation in tourism to ensure local enterprises, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises, are integrated in the tourism value chain. Judy Karwacki, president of Small Planet Consulting, and a community-based tourism development specialist,  will introduce a community-based tourism toolkit commissioned by the CTO.

Under the theme “Keeping the Right Balance: Tourism Development in an Era of Diversification,” industry experts participating in #STC2019 will address the urgent need for a transformational, disruptive, and regenerative tourism product to meet ever-rising challenges. The full conference programme can be viewed via https://www.caribbeanstc.com/program/

St Vincent and the Grenadines will host STC amidst an intensified national thrust towards a greener, more climate-resilient destination, including the construction of a geothermal plant on St. Vincent to complement the country’s hydro and solar energy capacity and the restoration of the Ashton Lagoon in Union Island.

To register for the conference, visit https://www.caribbeanstc.com/register. Rates are available for general delegates including CTO members and non-members, St. Vincent & the Grenadines residents, travel agents and students (both local and international rates).

Sponsorships are available for the conference and can be viewed via: https://www.caribbeanstc.com/sponsor. Contact Sylma Brown Bramble at 212-635-9530 or sbrown@caribtourism.com for additional information.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, STC

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Revamped Caribbean Education Charity Has New Name

NEW YORK, NY (20 June 2019) – Having this year expanded the areas of study for which it would provide financial support, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s education charity now has a new name.

The CTO Foundation, launched in 1989 to assist Caribbean nationals pursuing further studies in tourism/hospitality and language, is now officially the CTO Scholarship Foundation.

“We renamed the foundation to clarify its purpose in the public eye so that everyone will understand that the goal of the foundation is to provide scholarships to Caribbean nationals who are seeking to advance themselves in the various fields associated with tourism in the Caribbean,” said Sylma Brown, director of CTO USA Inc and the foundation’s treasurer.

The CTO Scholarship Foundation is a 501(C)3 approved charity in the United States and “we wanted to ensure that potential donors knew that contributions are tax deductible under U.S. IRS laws,” Brown added.

The CTO Scholarship Foundation has the expressed 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 generated over US$1 million in scholarship funds and has provided over 280 grants and scholarships. The money spent thus far has been raised from various fundraising efforts and through the very generous support of a few major corporations.

All money generated through fundraising is used for scholarships. The foundation is managed by a board of directors, comprising private and public sector individuals, who dedicate their time and talent to support and guide the charity’s efforts.

“We have been providing study grants and scholarships for more than 20 years and are very proud that the CTO Scholarship Foundation has made a difference in the lives of many Caribbean youth and working professionals and their respective families,” said Jacqueline Johnson, CTC, chairperson of the CTO Scholarship Foundation and president of Global Bridal Group.

“As we further the education of Caribbean nationals in the tourism industry we equip them to lead their countries to greater prosperity in the future as tourism is the leading driver of foreign exchange in the region,” Johnson said, adding: “There is nothing more important that one can do today than prepare for tomorrow.”

In order to provide more opportunities for Caribbean nationals pursuing higher education and careers in the tourism industry, the foundation enhanced and expanded its programme earlier this year by introducing scholarships of up to $5000 in public relations and communications; tourism education and human resources development; hotel, resort, and villa development, design and planning; and aviation and air transport technologies. A master’s degree scholarship of no less than US$5,000 is also 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, while study grants of US$2500 are being offered to those seeking to improve their skills in any tourism-related field of study.

Individuals who wish to make a contribution to the CTO Scholarship Foundation can do so via its GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/cto-scholarship-foundation.   Interested corporations should contact Sylma Brown at CTO directly: Tel: (212) 635-9530; E-mail: CTOny@caribtourism.com.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News, Scholarship Foundation

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The Caribbean Records Robust Growth in the First Quarter of 2019

NEW YORK, NY(6 June, 2019) – Spurred on by a 24 per cent rise in arrivals from the United States, the Caribbean recorded a healthy 12 per cent increase in tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2019, according to statistics compiled by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). In updating the media on the region’s performance at a news conference this morning hosted at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel as part of Caribbean Week New York (#CWNY2019), CTO chairman Dominic Fedee revealed that between January and March this year there were 9.1 million international tourist trips to the region, up by 970,000 over the corresponding period last year.

The arrivals boom extended to the cruise sector as well, with a record 10.7 million cruise passengers visits, an increase of 9.9 per cent or 900,000 more cruise arrivals when compared to the same period in 2018.

Due to its bullish economy, high consumer confidence and the strength of the U.S. dollar against global currencies, the United States was the strongest performing market during the first quarter, with 4.5 million tourist visits, while Canada’s 1.5 million tourist visits to the Caribbean represented a strong four per cent rise.

On the other hand, the performance of the European market was less encouraging, with arrivals up marginally by 0.6 per cent. Of the 1.6 million tourist arrivals from Europe during the first quarter, 300,000 came from the United Kingdom (up 0.1 per cent), while arrivals from Germany fell by 8.1 per cent to 200,000 tourist visits. The Caribbean (up 1.8 per cent) and Latin American (up 1.6 per cent) markets also recorded growth, although at a much slower pace that the major markets.

The overall healthy growth in both stayover and cruise visits, coupled with a 1.4 per cent rise in available airline seats during first quarter of 2019, bringing to 12.4 million the number of international seats attracted to the region during the period, the CTO is bullish in its forecast for the year, predicting an eight per cent to nine per cent increase in tourist arrivals, along with 5.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent growth in cruise arrivals.

“Overall, a statistical analysis of the first quarter gives us much to celebrate as substantial numbers indicate healthy economic conditions in key source markets and a strong resurgence of tourism in destinations impacted by the 2017 hurricanes,” Fedee told the news conference.

Visit www.OneCaribbean.org more information on the performance of the region.

About Caribbean Week New York:

Caribbean Week New York is the largest regional tourism activity in the New York area. Artistes, performers, celebrity chefs, the Diaspora, investors and other strategic partners join government officials and the media for a week of festivities designed to raise awareness of the Caribbean’s diverse tourism industry and provide opportunities for member destinations to promote their individual products and services, participate in meetings, seminars and other business development activities to further enhance the Caribbean brand, and provide updates and critical support to travel agents and the media who influence key travel demographics.

Caribbean Week is supported by: Academy Engraving, American Express, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bedessee Sports, The British Virgin Islands, Bloomingdale’s, Blue Waters, Calabash Cove Resort & Spa, Cayman Islands, Cititech Solutions, Coyaba Beach Resort, Cool Tech Air Conditioning and Refrigeration LLC, Delta Airlines, Dominica, Doctor’s Cave, Four Season Resort Nevis, Grenada, Jamaica, James Beard Foundation, JetBlue, Lightspeed Reservation system, Martinique, Ocean Terrace Inn, Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Sandals, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Saint Lucia, The Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, Travel+Leisure, Williams-Sonoma.

To participate in, or sponsor any Caribbean Week New York event, visit www.caribbeanweek.com; email Caribbeanweek@caribbeanweek.com or call (212) 636-9350.

CTO members receive special concessions when they participate in Caribbean Week New York. To find out more about membership visit http://bit.ly/alliedmembers or email membership@caribtourism.com.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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