CTO News

New Categories Added For Caribbean Travel Media Awards

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 5 March, 2018 –   Two new categories have been added to this year’s Caribbean Travel Media Awards to be presented by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) during Caribbean Week New York.

Both awards are for social media and are among changes for this year’s Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards programme.

This year the CTO introduces the Up the Social Ladder award for best social media campaign by a member country and the Look, I’m Going Social award for most outstanding social media coverage of an event or activity in, or about, a CTO member country by a journalist or influencer.

In addition, for the first time ever the awards will be presented at a dinner, after being a luncheon event from its inception.

“Social media has become an important tool in the coverage of tourism, and both our members and the media are increasingly using the various platforms to tell compelling Caribbean stories. Therefore, we believe now is the time to introduce these awards to make the categories of awards more reflective of the ways the public consumes information,” said Sylma Brown, the head of the CTO New York office, which organises Caribbean Week New York.

“The decision to make it an evening event came after feedback from our members, who felt this was one way of giving the awards programme the stature it deserves,” Ms. Brown added.

During the Caribbean Travel Industry Awards Dinner, the CTO will also present its Lifetime Achievement Award, the allied members’ Jerry, Allied and Special Recognition Awards will be presented, and Jamaica will hand out its Marcia Vickery and Marcella Martinez awards. Tickets are US$250 per person or US$2250 for a table of ten.

The following are the categories for this year’s Travel Media Awards to be presented to journalists from US and Caribbean-based media:

I Couldn’t Have Written It Better Myself

  • Best Feature Article in a US-based Consumer Newspaper

Been There, Wrote That

  • Best Feature Article in a US-based Consumer Magazine

Inner Circle King/Queen

  • Best Feature Article in a US-based Trade Publication

Oh Snap!

  • Best Photograph in Conjunction with a Feature Article

Golden Mic

  • Best Feature Broadcast

 Virtual Visitor Award

  • Best Feature in an Online publication not including blogs

Up the Social Ladder

  • Best Social Media Marketing Campaign by a CTO Member Country

Look, I’ve Gone Social

  • Most Outstanding Social Media coverage  of an event or Activity by a journalist or influencer

Me Too! I Rediscovered Home! 

  • Best Feature by a Diasporan Journalist in US or Caribbean Media

No Anansi Story!

  • Best Feature by a Caribbean-based  Journalist that appeared in Caribbean-based media

Oh My Word, I Blogged!

  • Best Caribbean Travel Blog Posting

The deadline for receiving entries is Friday 6 April at 11:59 Pacific Standard Time.

The blog award is given to the person voted as having written the best travel blog posting about the Caribbean or any CTO member country. The winner is decided by public vote.

Bloggers are asked to enter via the following link: https://ctobesttravelblog2018.pgtb.me/z5k1wp. Voting begins on Monday 9 April at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and ends on Friday 18 May at 11:59 p.m. PST.

All other entries must be submitted in the following formats via https://caribmediaawards.pgtb.me/dDmC8s.

Caribbean Week New York, which takes the sights, sounds, tastes, colours and attributes of the Caribbean to the vibrant American city, takes place from 2-8 June, 2018.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Week, Media Awards

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Pure Grenada Off To Great Start For 2018

St. George’s, Grenada – March 1, 2018 – With the final numbers tallied, destination Pure Grenada records total arrivals of 100,654 for January 2018, an increase of more than 30% over January 2017 (75,600).  In addition, all visitor categories reflected an increase including Stay over (13, 815) up by 13%, Cruise (82,797) up by 37% and Yachting (4,042) up by 43%.

CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority, Patricia Maher, stated that “We are delighted with the performance and everyone on the ground is enjoying the results of the hard work by all the Tourism stakeholders. The excitement with the opening of Silversands Grenada later this year is palpable as it is the first hotel development on Grand Anse Beach in over 25 years. Work is also progressing on the Kimpton, Kawana Bay, another hotel development on Grand Anse Beach, which will be open in 2019. We will grow our room stock by 32% in the next two years which will lead to increased capacity to almost 3,000 licensed and certified rooms by the Grenada Tourism Authority.”

To further support the destination’s developing tourism industry, the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Grenada Airports Authority (GAA) representatives attended Routes America 2018 from 13 – 15, February in Quito, Ecuador and met with 10 airlines to discuss expansion of service or new routes. The interest in Grenada is growing and with the 16% growth in arrivals from the US market (67,250) in 2017 over 2016 and US market share at an all-time high of 46%, this strong performance data piqued the interest of the US based airlines.

Building on this momentum, the marketing and sales team attended the New York Times Travel Show, CHTA Marketplace in Puerto Rico, Boston Globe Show and the Telegraph Travel Show in London in the first two months of the year. Virgin Atlantic in collaboration with Unilad Adventure launched a destination video on social media that shares the many reasons to visit Grenada, Spice of the Caribbean in 2018. With all this heightened activity, the GTA forecasts a 6% growth in total visitor arrivals performance for 2018 that will benefit all the citizens of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

About Grenada

The tri-island destination of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique is located in the southernmost region of the Caribbean near St. Vincent and the Grenadines and off the coast of Venezuela. Grenada is best known as the “Spice Island of the Caribbean” for its nutmeg and mace production, but the lush destination draws visitors for so much more. The new Pure Grenada experience beckons visitors to its 50 white- and black-sand beaches, 15 breathtaking waterfalls, countless hiking trails and more than 30 unforgettable dive sites, including the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean ‘Bianca C’ and the World’s First Underwater Sculpture Park. Grenada’s approach to hospitality is infused with a warm charm which is apparent from its luxury resorts to barefoot chic boutique hotels and villas. There are direct flights to Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport from the US, Caribbean and Canada, making the island accessible to visitors from around the world that wish to experience Pure Grenada.

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Martinique Participates To The First Edition of Tout-Monde Festival

NEW YORK, NY | February 28, 2018 – From March 1st to 4th, 2018, Martinique will participate to the first edition of Tout-Monde Festival, first Caribbean Contemporary Arts Festival organized by Cultural Services of the French Embassy, in close partnership with France Florida Foundation for the Arts.  The VIP pre-launch reception & press conference press was this Monday February 26th, 2018, with a presentation of Martinique and a networking event. A French Caribbean seminar will be organized on March 2nd with about 30 to 40 travel agents attending the event.

This cultural festival, under the patronage of Mrs. Christiane Taubira, Cultural Ambassador of the festival and former Minister of Justice of France, happening in Miami at the beginning of the Francophonie Month, is inspired by the concept introduced by Édouard Glissant which explores the relation between territories, cultures and individuals with multiples roots in one “whole world”. The Martinican philosopher, poet, and one of the most influential writers of the French Caribbean introduced the notion of the whole world as a network of interacting communities whose contacts result in constantly changing cultural formations.

This festival will give the opportunity to artists from the Caribbean, academics and institutions to gather and connect around that concept of Tout-Monde.

For this first edition, Martinique will be well represented with  8 artists invited: Patrick Chamoiseau, Josiane Antourel, Jean-François Boclé, Yna Boulanger, Robert Charlotte, Julien Creuzet, Shirley Rufin & Black Kalagan’s. SO.CI3.TY by Khris Burton and Vivre! by Maharaki will be projected and also, “Notebook of a return to my native land” by Aimé Césaire will be interpreted by Jacques Martial.

In total, 17 artists from the French Caribbean have been invited by Johanna Auguiac and Claire Tancons, two internationally renowned curators respectively from Martinique and Guadeloupe and Vanessa Selk, director and founder of the festival and Cultural Attaché of the French Embassy.

Artists from Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guyana will interact with 7 others from Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haïti, Puerto-Rico, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.

“It was quite evident for Martinique Tourism Authority to give its support to this Festival based on a concept introduced by one of the most famous and influential poet of the French Caribbean, Edouart Glissant” said Karine Mousseau, Tourism Commissioner.  Martinique is blessed with a strong and vibrant culture with people dedicated their life to it. From classic figures to the young generation, the Island of Flowers is also the Island of Arts and Literature; this is why Martinique is so Magnifique!


For more information about Tout-Monde Festival www.tout-monde-festival.com

For more information about Martinique www.us.martinique.org

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LEVE The Event “Eyes’ the Romance Travel Niche

Port of Spain, Trinidad –Monday February 27, 2017 – Leve the event, carded to take place on Sunday May 06, 2018 at Villa Being in Arnos Vale Tobago, targets the multi-billion romance market, which in spite of current hardships, continues to grow. Romance travel is one of the travel industry’s fastest-growing and most profitable year round niches. Fortunately, romance travel is about more than just weddings and honeymoons. Many romantic milestones are celebrated with trips abroad and involve group bookings and come with the increased possibility of future stays.

The 2017 IBIS World Report – Wedding Services – US Market Research, estimates that the wedding industry now accounts for over US $300 Billion (~TTD 2 Trillion) a year in global revenues. According to the 2016 Travel Report, the Caribbean is still the “it” spot for destination weddings. The idyllic island of Tobago is certainly poised to capitilse on this “love in the air” aura. With beautiful sunsets over strikingly romantic beaches, breathtaking landscapes, kaleidoscopic reefs, enticing cuisine and an outstanding cultural wealth, Tobago can effectively compete in the Caribbean romance market.

Leve 2018, organised by the Leve-Global Group, is the brain child of international tourism consultant Dr. Auliana Poon. Leve, a Caribbean fashion and lifestyle, aims to be a growth catalyst for sellers and promoters of weddings and honeymoons, bridal publications and websites as well as wedding planners and service providers in Trinidad and Tobago.


On May 06 local and international media, fashion patrons, culinary connoisseurs and Trinbagonians alike will get a taste of the romantic island paradise of Tobago like they have never had before at Leve 2018.

With its theme of “Love is in the Air, the objectives of Leve the event are as follows:-

  • To showcase talented local fashion designers, culinary practitioners, accessories producers and entertainers to an international audience.
  • To demonstrate that Tobago has all of the essential ingredients for truly exceptional wedding experiences – from horticulture, beverages and spirits, photography, to fashion, décor, event planning, catering services, and so much more – at a fraction of the cost they might pay in their home countries.
  • To generate local and international publicity for Tobago as a Romance Caribbean Destination.

Under the patronage of Dr Denise Tsoi-a-Fatt Angus, Presiding Officer of the Tobago House of Assembly, Leve 2018 will showcase, among other things:

  • The latest fashion trends from an eclectic mix of established and emerging designers including Caribbean couture and bridal wear designer Heather Jones, urban menswear designer Marlon George, urban chic fashion designer Dayle Angus of the House of Abeje Designer Clothing and hand painting textile designer Caffey Daniel
  • The creative artistry of Richard Young and Dominique La Roche
  • The mouth-watering and sensually tantalising culinary treats from Executive Chef Adrian Cumberbatch
  • The paintings of fine artist Kenwyn Crichlow and Tomley Roberts of Prestige Arts
  • The leather craft of Tobago’s foremost artisan Ted Arthur

According to Dr. Auliana Poon, Managing Director of Leve-Global, “Love is recession proof and there is no better place to fall in love and say “I do”, than in Tobago. Indeed, one of the largest travel information sites, TripSavvy, has stated that almost one-quarter (24%) of marriages take place at a destination outside their country of residence and 340,000 destination weddings take place per year. In fact, TripSavvy estimated that the destination wedding market accounts for US$16 billion per year with an average budget spend for the wedding being US$28,000. All of this amounts to an awesome business opportunity for those catering to this market. In fact, Leve-Global estimated that just 0.1% (one-tenth of a per cent) of the global wedding market could impact the Tobago economy – a TTD 2 Billion a year in revenue for an island of just over 60,000 persons”.

Dr. Auliana Poon goes on to explain that “Leve has a lot of potential to propel the island even further on the international scene, especially through the country’s fashion and culinary industry. We are so ecstatic to be partnering with the best talents in Trinidad and Tobago to expose our culture, cuisine and our way of life”.

The partners of Leve the event include the Ministry of Tourism, the Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Mt. Irvine Bay Resort, Pigeon Point Heritage Park, Daisy’s Weddings, Exotic Caribbean Mountain Pride Limited, Tobago Bridal Association, Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association, Caribbean Video and Television Production Company JCD & Associates and Marcellin’s Creations and Media Works.

February 28, 2018


For more information, contact:

Kevon Wilson, Senior Analyst                                                                          Phone:   (868) 676-6165

Leve-Global                                                                                                          Fax:        (868) 676-6093

8 Dove Drive, Pax Vale, Santa Cruz

Trinidad and Tobago, WEST INDIES


Leve-Global (formerly Tourism Intelligence International), founded by Dr. Auliana Poon, comprises the under-mentioned brands: –

  • Leve Analytics
  • Leve-The Event
  • Leve Academy
  • Villa Being Tobago, and
  • Uplift – the Platform for exceptional talent

With more than twenty-five (25) years of experience, operating in more than 100 countries around the world – from Australia, Angola, Argentina and Austria to Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, USA, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Leve-Global seek to uplift (Leve) people and planet in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and, indeed, the world at large.




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Line-Up Finalized for St. Kitts Music Festival 2018

Basseterre, St. Kitts (February 26, 2018) – The St. Kitts Tourism Authority pleased to announce the complete roster of musical artists who will be performing at the 22nd Annual St. Kitts Music Festival taking place June 27 – July 1, 2018.

“We are extremely pleased to have such an exciting and diverse range of artists confirmed to perform in this year’s St. Kitts Music Festival,” said the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce. “Each year, we strive to feature a variety of musical genres that appeal to both international and local audiences. This year continues that tradition, so we expect another dynamic event with a wealth of outstanding and memorable performances.”

The performers for each night are as follows-

Thursday, June 28

  • Soca Fusion: Nu Vybes & Small Axe
  • Spice
  • Destra
  • KES The Band
  • Nailah Blackman

Friday, June 29

  • Sizzla Kalonji
  • August Alsina
  • Wayne Wonder
  • Chackademus & Pliers
  • Dejout
  • Byron Messia

Saturday, June 30

  • Fetty Wap
  • Ms. Lauryn Hill
  • Patti LaBelle
  • Rhythm of the Beat



On the evening of Wednesday, June 27, the Music Festival will kick off with a welcome reception hosted at the Christophe Harbour Marina followed by an Escape Fete held at Salt Plage. Following the three nights of performances, the event will close with the White Sands white party at Carambola Beach Club on Sunday, July 1.

Now entering its 22st year, the St. Kitts Music Festival attracts both locals and visitors alike. It features a wide range of musical styles on the popular market, including R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Gospel and Contemporary music. Past artists have included such prominent acts as John Legend, Lionel Richie, Jason Derulo, The Goo Goo Dolls, Trey Songz, T-Pain, Michael Bolton, R. City, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Wyclef Jean, Ne-Yo, Air Supply, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Shaggy, Kelly Rowland, Tarrus Riley, Tessanne Chin, Toni Braxton, Sean Paul, Boyz II Men, King Konris, Stephen Marley, Maxi Priest, Beres Hammond, and Biggie Irie. For more information about the St. Kitts Music Festival, visit http://www.stkittsmusicfestival.net/ or the St. Kitts Music Festival’s Facebook page.

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Sealy: Record Year For Tourism, Air Arrivals Up 5%, Cruise Arrivals Up 12.9% For 2017

The Honourable Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism and International Transport has announced that Barbados enjoyed a record 5% increase in stay-over arrivals last year, an all-time high for the destination.

Over the course of 2017, the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) welcomed 663,441 visitor arrivals – 31,308 more than 2016. The Bridgetown Port Inc. (BPI) also observed tremendous growth, recording 818,752 cruise arrivals over the previous year’s 725,020, for a total increase of 12.9%. Of these 818,752 cruise arrivals, some 137,541 passengers stayed over in Barbados, above 2016’s total of 130,924.

“I am delighted by this news and what it says about Barbados’ tourism product,” said Sealy. “It is never easy as a mature tourism destination to maintain growth at these levels in the competitive business landscape in which we operate, but I am pleased that through strategic marketing efforts we have once again proven Barbados’ value as shown by the record number of arrivals at both the air and sea ports throughout 2017.”

The United Kingdom was once again the top producer of arrivals to Barbados with a 33.5% market share. Arrivals from this market were flat compared to 2016, totaling 222,322. The United States followed, contributing 28.4% of business with 188,970 arrivals for the year. Canada contributed 12.8% of the business, and recorded an increase of 7.9% or 85,209 arrivals.

Of special note is the United States, who, while being the second-highest producer of business, grew by a whopping 11.7% over 2016. The United States’ 2017 performance was the highest for that market in three decades – since contributing 175,093 arrivals in 1987.

Trinidad & Tobago, Other Europe, and Other Caribbean saw growth of 5.4%, 4.1% and 3.6% respectively, while Other Central & South America showed a slight growth with a 0.3% increase over 2016.

Sealy attributed the destination’s noteworthy performance to a number of strategic and integrated marketing initiatives which were deployed across Barbados’ top source markets. “I must commend our tourism teams both here and in our global offices, whose efforts were instrumental in us achieving this record 5% growth.”

Some of the marketing efforts Sealy referenced included:

New niche events

Continuing to position Barbados as a formidable player in sports tourism, two new events were created for the traditionally softer period of September – the Barbados Beach and Wellness Festival and the Barbados Cycling Festival. Receiving positive feedback and displaying strong potential for further development and accomplishment, Sealy announced that the BTMI will once again host the two events in 2018.

New air services

“One of the key components in achieving positive tourism performance is of course the accessibility of the destination to visitors around the world. Bearing this in mind we have worked to ensure that we are both maintaining our current airlift, while adding new, enticing services to our repertoire, for example the new Copa partnership which I announced last month,” Sealy said.

Barbados’ new partnership with Copa Airlines will see a twice weekly Barbados–Panama service commencing this July 17, and tickets are already on sale on the airline’s website. Late last year, the BTMI also joined with GAIA in welcoming Virgin Atlantic’s new London Heathrow twice-weekly service to Barbados which commenced December 12, 2017 and will run until February 24, 2018; and later the Thomas Cook new weekly flight from London Gatwick which commenced December 16, 2017 and will run until March 17, 2018.

Exciting new attractions and accommodations

“Considering the numerous new and increased services, we also saw it important to ensure that we had adequate and quality accommodations available to the additional arriving passengers,” Sealy said. “We therefore saw a number of hotels being refurbished and reopening just ahead of the Winter season, hotels such as Sea Breeze, Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Treasure Beach, The House and so on.”

Sealy also welcomed the new business that the recently opened Sandals Royal located on Maxwell Beach has already brought to Barbados.

Describing the island’s new attractions as “integral” in differentiating destination Barbados, Sealy said “I am happy to say that a number of new attractions have come on stream, attractions that will differentiate the product offering we have here in Barbados. There’s the Nikki Beach club that opened at Port Ferdinand, and of course in 2017 we christened the new Rihanna Drive, which has already garnered much international media attention following our ceremony last November. If you’ve been to Speightstown you’ll also see that there’s a buzz around the new restaurants that have opened there… but overall, there are a lot of positive new developments happening across the island.”

Community involvement

Sealy made the point that as tourism continues to boom for Barbados, it is important to continue to engage Barbadians, whom he described as the primary beneficiaries of the industry. “The i am tourism campaign launched last year by the BTPA is just one of the ways we’re involving the public in our business of tourism, starting as young as primary schools and continuing all the way up. The Rihanna Drive project was also one that went out into the community and involved residents of Westbury New Road in both the planning and then the execution of the event.”

International recognition

Throughout 2017, destination Barbados picked up several awards and accolades. In April, the World Economic Forum released its biennial Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, where Barbados received the highest score for Safety & Security in the Caribbean, and one of the highest scores for Health & Hygiene in the world.

In June, Barbados tourism was selected as a case study candidate by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), as a result of the success of the restructure and establishment of the BTMI and the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA). The other destinations chosen were Singapore, Barcelona, Capetown, London, Melbourne, Vienna, Vancouver and Hangzhou China.

Later, in July, Barbados beat out Aruba, Martinique and several other popular Southern Caribbean islands, to nab third place in Cruise Critic’s Top-Rated Southern Caribbean Cruise Destinations. In September, Barbados was voted above the Canary Islands, Egypt, Mexico, Tenerife and Thailand by travel agents to win the prestigious Star Winter Sun Destination 2017 award.

New opportunities for 2018

Looking ahead, Sealy said that “While we celebrate the numerous successes of last year, we are already full-steam ahead with our plans to make sure that 2018 is an equally promising year of growth for Barbados tourism. We have high hopes for our new airline partnerships, new hotel accommodations, new product development, and other new marketing activities in which we will be engaging across our source markets.”

One such opportunity Sealy revealed was that this year will see the commencement of the National Tourism Programme’s U.S. $20 million loan which he said will span five years and seeks to further develop tourism product marketing and airlift.

“We are also packaging 2018 as the Year of Culinary Experiences and you will therefore see us promoting a lot of the delicious and authentic dining experiences to be had on island, from flying fish to gourmet breadfruit bowls,” Sealy said. “And I am confident that with all we have in the works, we will once again be celebrating a record year come January 2019.”

The Year of Culinary Experiences began with the BTPA’s Sugar and Rum Season which is ongoing through April. Next on the calendar is the revamped Oistins Fish Festival over Easter weekend. Activities will continue throughout the year and more information can be found at https://www.visitbarbados.org/year-of-culinary-experiences.

Up next for the destination is the annual Connect Barbados B2B conference which will once again see tour operators travel to Barbados from around the world to experience and learn more about all the island has to offer. The conference is scheduled for May 9-12, 2018.

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