CTO Launches Caribbean Community Tourism Network

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (28 July, 2021) – Tourism product development authorities in the region now have a resource from which to draw when developing their community-based tourism (CBT) programmes.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has launched the Caribbean Community Tourism Network (CCTN) to provide a platform to support the continued development of CBT in the Caribbean. The network will facilitate the exchange of best practices among CTO member countries and interested tourism development partners and help identify capacity-building needs as well as challenges and opportunities for CBT development.

“Community-based tourism offers an opportunity to bridge the social and economic gap of local communities, allows community members a path to sustainable livelihoods, and is a conduit for the active participation and empowerment of local people in the tourism,” said Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism specialist. “This network provides an avenue for CTO members to share knowledge, resources, and best practices to improve community tourism experiences and economic impact.”

Among the functions of the CCTN are the promotion and support of regional development strategies in CBT, providing input into, and recommending activities and actions with a view to enhancing the visibility and value of CBT as a regional tourism product, and the exchange of experiences on national and regional initiatives.

The network is one of the initiatives of the CTO, which has identified CBT as a regional tourism development strategy, and is seeking to optimise its role in  supporting local livelihoods, stimulating entrepreneurship  and community social and economic development, while also creating authentic experiences and unique product offerings for visitors.

Other initiatives include a toolkit for product development, produced in partnership with the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF). The toolkit includes a “how to” guide to assist communities and entrepreneurs develop profitable CBT experiences and enterprises, with information on product development, pricing, marketing and creating business plans. It also includes guidelines and templates to support experience design and product enhancement and a tool to measures communities’ capacity and CBT states of readiness.

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Corporate News

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British Airways Reintroduces Service to Saint Lucia from Heathrow

Castries, July 25, 2021- Saint Lucia has added another gateway to the destination with the reintroduction of service with British Airways out of London Heathrow (LHR) after more than 30 years. The Boeing 777 touched down on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at approximately 5:45 p.m. with a total capacity of 173, most of which are visitors.

Out of Gatwick (LGW), Saint Lucia already welcomes a weekly service with TUI and 4 flights per week with British Airways. The UK is typically Saint Lucia’s second-largest tourism market and thus far, year-to-date reflects 4% growth.

13 crewmembers led by Captain -Peter Williams joined Officials of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) to receive a commemorative plaque that depicts the iconic twin pitons, niche markets, and surprise welcome packages. Two lucky passengers were also gifted on arrival.

“This newly introduced weekly service from Heathrow comes at an opportune time when Saint Lucia is drumming up even more support for an already exciting summer, and the upcoming peak winter period. This also signals continued progress towards the full recovery of the tourism sector,” said Public Relations Manager- Geraine Georges.

The British Airways service from Heathrow will end on September 4, 2021, and discussions are already ongoing for resumption in the near future. The airline is also scheduled to increase airlift during the winter with daily flights from November out of Gatwick (LGW).

In creating greater demand for Saint Lucia, the SLTA will continue to welcome journalists and influencers to highlight the destination, experiences, and hidden gems.

The continued advancements towards additional targeted airlift into Saint Lucia is another step in the right direction towards the full rebound of the tourism economy.

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Anguilla Welcomes New American Airlines Service Starting December 11, 2021

The Valley, Anguilla, July 24, 2021:  The Hon. Minister of Tourism for Anguilla, Mr. Haydn Hughes has welcomed the announcement today by Juan Carlos Liscano, American Airlines’ Vice President of MIA Hub Operations, of new air service between Miami International Airport (MIA) and Anguilla’s Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA), starting on December 11, 2021.

“We are delighted that American Airlines will be inaugurating a twice-weekly, scheduled service to Anguilla this winter,” stated Minister Hughes.  “The introduction of direct service into Anguilla from the US mainland is a goal we have long been working towards, and we are thrilled that our efforts have now borne fruit.  This is a tremendous vote of confidence in our destination, as American Airlines has the equipment and the route network that will enable us to significantly increase our arrivals and further develop our tourism product,” Minister Hughes continued.

The direct flights will operate year-round, twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Flights will depart MIA at 10:50, arriving at AXA at 14:49.  The return flight will depart AXA at 15:40, arriving at MIA at 17:53. Flights will be available for sale starting on July 26, 2021.

“The introduction of these scheduled flights will be a game-changer for our tourism industry,” enthused ATB Chairman, Kenroy Herbert.  “Access is the most critical factor for any destination, and the Miami gateway provides excellent connectivity from the West Coast, so it opens up lucrative new markets for Anguilla.   This new service will create a host of business and leisure tourism opportunities for our island,” he concluded.

For information on Anguilla please visit the official website of the Anguilla Tourist Board: www.IvisitAnguilla.com; follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/AnguillaOfficial; Instagram: @Anguilla_Tourism; Twitter: @Anguilla_Trsm, Hashtag: #MyAnguilla.

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CTO Guardedly Optimistic about Summer Travel

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (20 July, 2020) –  With the 2021 summer season under way, there is increasing evidence in the marketplace that pent-up demand is roaring back much earlier and at a much quicker pace than forecasters had predicted. At the same time, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is encouraged by the data from our member countries, who have worked tirelessly to contain the coronavirus and reopen their economies.

Although on the surface, a 60 per cent decline in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the same period last year, may not seem encouraging, a closer examination would suggest that the Caribbean is beginning to reverse the slide which began at the end of March 2020.

This is being demonstrated by a decrease in the levels of decline which the Caribbean has been recording for the past fifteen months. The first quarter of 2020 was the last period of regular levels of travel, when 7.3 million international overnight visitors (tourist arrivals) visited the region. In January and February 2021, arrivals to the region declined by just over  71 per cent when compared to the same two months last year. However, the 16.5 per cent drop in March 2021 compared to March 2020 is an indication of a level of reversal of the trend of declining numbers of tourist arrivals.

The data collected from twelve destinations reporting tourist arrivals for April 2021 shows that each of these destinations registered growth, when compared to April 2020, when tourism activity was curtailed globally. Similarly, tourist arrivals bounced back in the destinations reporting data for May. It must be pointed out, however, that the number of stay-over visitors is still below the corresponding levels in 2019.

Recent statements made by key aviation players for whom the Caribbean is an important market, have been encouraging. During our recent series of online discussions, both the CEO of British Airways, Sean Doyle, and the VP of sales for the Caribbean at American Airlines, Christine Valls, spoke of the high levels of interest in travel to the region. In fact, Ms. Valls indicated that the Caribbean has been booming for American Airlines, with an average 60 per cent load factor by late May 2021, and that the airline planned to have more daily flights to the region this summer than it did in 2019. American Airlines told the CTO this week that it added five new routes to the Caribbean this summer, with a sixth to be added in November – and will serve 35 destinations in the Caribbean.

Based on these indicators, the CTO is guardedly optimistic about the prospects for summer travel, and for the rest of the year into 2022.

It is recognised that any optimism must be tempered by the fact that new COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in both the UK and the US, two of the Caribbean’s major source markets. These are signs that the virus remains a major threat which can quickly reverse any progress we have made.

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Corporate News

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Turks and Caicos Islands Travel Requirements

PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS (July 22, 2021) – The Turks and Caicos Islands announces an update to travel requirements to the destination as a part of TCI Assured, a quality assurance pre-travel program and portal, which will require all travelers to present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR, NAA, RNA or Antigen test result from a test taken within three days of travel, effective on July 28, 2021.

The date of the sample collection must be within three days (72 hours) of the travel date, which was reduced from the previous requirement of a test to be taken within five days of arrival, and a Test Date Calculator on the TCI Assured portal will assist travelers in determining when to take the test. Approved amendments to the Arriving Passengers Health Clearance Regulations also in effect on July 28 include the acceptance of professionally administered Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Tests (RT-PCR); Nucleic Acid Amplification tests (NAA); RNA or molecular tests; and Antigen tests for entry to the Turks and Caicos Islands. The test must be conducted by a medical laboratory with either of the following credentials: accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP); registered by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA); ISO 15189 certification. Previously, the destination was only accepting RT-PCR tests. Antibody tests and results from home-based test kits will not be accepted.

“We are proud to have safely welcomed travelers to our beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands over the past year and are updating travel requirements to ensure ongoing vigilance and in consideration of the efficacy and turnaround of available COVID-19 tests,” said Honorable Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands.  “More than 60 percent of the adult population in the Turks and Caicos Islands is fully vaccinated, making us one of the most inoculated countries in the world; combined with our updated TCI Assured program, we are confident in the overall wellbeing of our communities and visitors as travel to the destination continues to flourish.”

As part of TCI Assured, which has been in place for travelers since July 22, 2020, when the destination opened its borders to tourists, travelers must also have medical / travel insurance that covers medevac (insurance companies providing the prerequisite insurance will also be available on the portal), a completed health screening questionnaire, and certification that they have read and agreed to the privacy policy document.  These requirements must be complete and uploaded to the TCI Assured portal, which is available on the Turk and Caicos Islands Tourist Board website (www.turksandcaicostourism), in advance of their arrival.

The Turks and Caicos Islands has remained vigilant and consistent regarding its international traveler requirements, which are the same for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travelers. Because of this, the destination has received an Alert Level 1 from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  This represents a major milestone in the Turks and Caicos Islands’ vaccine campaign, which began in January 2021 and has resulted in more than 60 percent of the adult population being fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine—making it one of the most inoculated countries in the world.

The Turks and Caicos Islands—home to the “World’s Best Beach”—is a coveted five-star luxury vacation destination for leisure, business, and notable guests from around the globe.  With nine main islands and about 40 small islands and uninhabited cays, the destination is inherently safe for travel in this new paradigm of physical distancing, given its expansiveness, stunning outdoor environment, privacy, spacious resort accommodations, and unique portfolio of extraordinary private villas and private islands vacations. An extensive list of COVID-19 testing facilities across all Sister Islands can be found on the Tourist Board’s official website www.turksandcaicostourism.com.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board encourages travelers to consider the CDC’s Travel Health Notices and the WTTC’s Safe Travels vacation destinations for 2020 and 2021. The Islands’ award-winning hotels and resorts, private villas, restaurants and bars, and tour operators are open and / or are accepting bookings.

For more information on the Turks and Caicos Islands, call 1 (800) 241-0824 or visit www.turksandcaicostourism.com.  Follow the Turks and Caicos Islands on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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