CTO’s Regional Tourism Youth Congress Resumes

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (August 25, 2022) – The Regional Tourism Youth Congress, organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Ministry and Department of Tourism, will make a return following a two-year break due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, when it is staged in the Cayman Islands this September.

To date, 11 countries have confirmed their participation for the 18th edition of the Youth Congress, which is scheduled for September 15, as part of the CTO events and Caribbean Aviation Day from September 12-15. Turks & Caicos, the winner of the last Youth Congress staged in Antigua and Barbuda in 2019, is set to chair this year’s Congress.

After two years of inactivity, there is already great enthusiasm surrounding this year’s Youth Congress, and with the tourism sector steadily rebounding, the timing of the event could not be more ideal.

“The Caribbean Tourism Organization is thrilled about the return of the Regional Tourism Youth Congress and despite the break, we as organisers are already envisioning a successful delivery of the event,” said Sharon Banfield-Bovell, CTO’s Director of Resource Mobilization and Development.

“Over the years, the Regional Tourism Youth Congress has been a fundamental part of the region’s tourism development landscape, helping to shape future industry leaders. Therefore, its resumption this year is of special importance, particularly for the region’s young people who annually look forward to participating in this forum and using its platform to incite and inspire change, through their presentations on issues relevant to the growth and sustainability of the tourism sector. CTO is therefore grateful to its member countries and partners for their support and for making another Tourism Youth Congress a reality.”

Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, The ​Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Nevis, St Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Tobago and Turks and Caicos will join the Cayman Islands as the countries confirmed for this year’s event.

“I am excited to be hosting the Regional Tourism Youth Congress as the event reinforces the Cayman Islands Government’s commitment to the development of the next generation of tourism leaders,” said Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister of Tourism and Transport (Cayman Islands).

“The past two years have not only affected tourism, they have also had an unmistakable impact on the youth, especially in areas of education and employment. It is therefore imperative that we come together to ensure the continued growth of the future men and women who will ultimately work to improve our collective tourism products,” Minister Bryan added.

The first Regional Tourism Youth Congress was staged in Barbados in the year 2000, and was conceived with the objective of stimulating a greater awareness among the region’s young people about the tourism sector and its importance. Participants are between the ages of 14-17 and assume the role of Junior Ministers/Commissioners of Tourism, representing their respective CTO member country.

CTO Business Meetings and Caribbean Aviation Day, mark the first major in-person gathering for the CTO since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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IATA Caribbean Aviation Day to Host Esteemed Regional Experts

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (15 August 2022) – What do an economist, a former NASA researcher, a Vice President of a regional aviation association and a veteran journalist and broadcaster have in common? They will all be attending the upcoming International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) 4th Caribbean Aviation Day held in the Cayman Islands this September.

Economist and Leading Advisor on the Caribbean, Marla Dukharan, professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Dr. John-Paul Clarke, Regional Vice President for the Americas, Peter Cerdá and Managing Director of the Jamaica Observer, Julian Rogers will join Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister for Tourism and Transport along with other senior members of various Caribbean governments at the highly anticipated event.

Ms. Dukharan and Mr. Rogers will be acting as moderators for discussions on the topics “Transforming Regional connectivity and the Role of the Private Sector in Financing Intra-Regional Travel” and “Multi-Destination Tourism” respectively.

During his career, Dr. John-Paul Clarke has consulted for airlines, airports, original equipment manufacturers, and IT solution providers. He is a member of the NASA Advisory Council and the current Deputy Chair for the Cayman Airways Board of Directors. Dr. Clarke is slated to speak on the panel discussing the “Challenges and Priorities for Air Transport in the Caribbean”.

Caribbean Aviation Day is set for Wednesday 14th of September and is one of the activities surrounding the week of events which also includes the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Council of Members meeting, Youth Congress and Destination Briefings. These events will be hosted by Hon. Kenneth Bryan, the Minister of Tourism and Transport who will address conference goers as the Keynote Speaker.

“I am delighted to announce that the Cayman Islands will play host to some of the most esteemed experts in the Caribbean and Americas for this conference, like Dr. Clarke and Ms. Dukaran,” said Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister of Tourism and Transport.

“It is an honour to be among some of the most respected industry influencers and to offer the keynote address on behalf of the people of these islands. I look forward to welcoming my colleagues and drawing information from the wealth of knowledge which will be presented over the week of events,” he added.

The day’s activities consist of Panel discussions, Fireside chats and a Ministerial Roundtable discussion on “Maximising the Social and Economic value of Aviation in the Caribbean”. The Ministerial
Roundtable will feature the Hon. Christopher Saunders, Deputy Premier (Cayman Islands), the Hon. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, (Bahamas), the Hon. Denise Charles, Minister for Tourism, (Dominica) and Hon. Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism (Belize).

Peter Cerdá, IATA Regional Vice President in the Americas leads a multinational team of professionals who proactively pursue IATA’s industry priorities with governmental authorities and industry stakeholders to make the air transport industry safer, more secure, efficient and profitable.

“This conference aims to bring together the most connected professionals and government ministers in our region to discuss issues the aviation and tourism travel industries currently face. I am hopeful that we will come away with new ideas, strengthened alliances and with the best solutions which benefit the region as a whole,” said Mr. Cerdá.

More than a dozen accredited journalists from the UK, US, Canada, and the Caribbean have been invited to attend the week of activities. They will join local media in covering the CTO Destination Briefings presented by Ministers of Tourism from the region and Caribbean Aviation Day panel discussions.

“This event arrives at a pivotal juncture for the Caribbean, especially as the region confronts the challenges of air travel and the sustainability of the tourism sector, in the wake of the last two years,” said CTO’s Acting Secretary General, Neil Walters.

“A gathering of minds at this high level augurs well for the sector and represents a major step in the right direction towards solving these challenges,” added Mr. Walters.

The Cayman Islands Government together with the Caribbean Tourism Organization, and IATA look forward to welcoming government officials and professionals from the tourism and transport industries to the 4th Caribbean Aviation Day.

This event is being held at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and the IATA Caribbean Aviation Day is open to the public. Attendee registration is US$150 with a discounted resident rate of only US$50. Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

To learn more about this important week of events and to register, log on to https://www.iata.org/en/about/worldwide/americas/regional-events/Caribbean-aviation-day/.

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Note to Editors
The IATA Caribbean Aviation Day’s full agenda and speaker bios can be found here https://events.bizzabo.com/CaribbeanAD/agenda

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CTO Launches Integral CBT Online Course

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (August 15, 2022) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization has formally launched its Community-Based Tourism (CBT) Online Course, aimed at strengthening the regional sector through a broadening of the knowledge base and improvement of quality standards.

The Course, developed with the support of UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, was adapted from the Community-Based Tourism Enterprise Handbook, produced with financing from the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF).

Interactive and user-friendly, the Course seeks to assist tourism stakeholders and the business community create and expand their community-based tourism product through practical information and guidelines provided.

It will be hosted through the Caribbean Tourism Institute – the CTO’s online learning platform – and comprises eight micro modules delivered via animated lectures, activity worksheets, case studies, videos and knowledge-test assessments.

CTO’s Acting Secretary General, Neil Walters, said the formulation of the Course was consistent with the organization’s development mandate, a feature of which was the creation of capacity-building tools and delivery of education and training programmes.

“The ability to deliver opportunities for training and in particular, via online learning has become critically important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Walters said.

“This is of strategic importance to the CTO in seeking to ensure that our programmes can be accessed by the widest possible audience of tourism stakeholders across the region.

“CTO also recognizes the value of CBT and the potential it holds to expand the benefits of tourism more directly to local communities and micro, small and medium tourism enterprises.”

Course Modules include Understanding Community-Based Tourism, Planning your CBT Business, Understanding your Markets, Developing your Product, Pricing your Product, Marketing your Product, Developing Financial Management Skills and Health, Safety and Service Standards and Guidelines for CBT.

The Health, Safety and Service Standards and Guidelines chapter, also developed through support from the UNDP, was designed as a guide for the safe delivery of community-based tourism experiences, which has taken on greater significance in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It outlines trends impacting the tourism sector and community-based tourism in particular while highlighting regional and international best practices related to health, safety and service, and providing recommendations consistent with international standards.

“The current tourism value chain is neither sustainable nor inclusive. Efforts must shift from the traditional ‘three S’s’ – sun, sand and sea – to social inclusion, sustainability, and smart destinations and businesses and that, of course, includes Community Based Tourism (CBT),” said Ugo Blanco, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

“So, knowing the excellent work that the CTO and Compete Caribbean had already done on CBT, for us it felt natural to partner with the CTO. It is hoped that through the new online course, better knowledge and understanding of CBT is spread throughout the region.”

Wayne Elliott, Coordinator of Innovation and Productivity in Caribbean Firms and Clusters at CCPF, described community-based tourism as “a powerful channel for sustainable and inclusive economic development in the Caribbean”, indicating that this was in alignment with CCPF’s mandate.

CBT enables greater market opportunities for a broad base of local entrepreneurs which in turn create employment opportunities,” Elliott said.

“Moreover, CBT represents an opportunity for regional tourism stakeholders to further diversify and to continue to develop their tourism product offering in a unique and value-added way.

“I wish to congratulate CTO for continuing to advance its work to facilitate and guide the development of community-based tourism in the Caribbean.”

For further information on the CBT Online Course and the Health, Safety and Service Standards and Guidelines chapter please see links: https://tinyurl.com/ctoctionline and https://tinyurl.com/cbthealth.

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CTO STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF MR. WARREN SOLOMON

 

It is with great sadness that the Caribbean Tourism Organization has learned of the passing of Warren Solomon, a long-time friend of the organization and champion of tourism across the Caribbean.

Warren enjoyed a long and stellar career in tourism, spanning product development, marketing, hospitality, and sales, which made his contribution to the regional sector as far-reaching as it was influential.

He served with distinction in various management positions at tourism entities across the region, most recently as Director of the Montserrat Tourism Division and prior to this as Director of Tourism at the Tobago House of Assembly, Vice President & Director of Tourism at the Tourism & Industrial Development Company of Trinidad & Tobago, and Marketing Manager at the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism.

Warren also made an invaluable contribution as a Board member of the CTO, his deep insight, keen acumen, and sincere commitment helping to strengthen the organization. His love of the Caribbean and desire for its sustainable growth through tourism and related means were unmatched, making him a unique asset to the region.

Warren was truly a standard-bearer for the regional tourism sector and will be sorely missed.

On behalf of the CTO Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism, the CTO Board of Directors and the staff at the CTO Secretariat, we wish to convey sincere condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.

May he rest in peace.

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Record Number of Caribbean Nationals Receive 2022 Tourism Scholarships From Regional Charity

SOUTH ORANGE, New Jersey (2 August 2022) – The collective dreams of a record number of Caribbean students who are pursuing further education in tourism and related subjects are closer to becoming a reality with financial support from the region’s premier tourism education charity.

Twelve applicants from ten Caribbean countries have been offered scholarships and study grants from the CTO Scholarship Foundation for the 2022/23 academic year, after new donors joined existing sponsors in responding to the foundation’s plea for funding.

“We are extremely heartened by the commitment of our donors and sponsors to the development of the Caribbean’s tourism human resources and by extension the region’s tourism and hospitality sector,” says Jacqueline Johnson, the chairman of the CTO Scholarship Foundation board. “To step forward as they’ve done in these difficult times underlines their dedication to investing in the Caribbean’s future.”

After awarding just two scholarships last year due to a lack of funding, the foundation celebrated a number of firsts this year. For the first time ever, Blue Group Media, a Miami-based independent advertising sales company that represents national and global media brands, has come on board as a sponsor and is funding two scholarships. In addition, through the fundraising efforts of Jonathan Morgan, the son of the late Bonita Morgan, the former Caribbean Tourism Organization human resources director, three students will receive funding through the Bonita Morgan Memorial Scholarship.

It’s the first time since this scholarship was introduced in 2019 that the foundation is awarding more than one such scholarship. Among the three recipients is Mykerline Stéphane Brice of Haiti, who will pursue an advanced diploma in hospitality and tourism management cooperation at the  Toronto School of Management in Canada. Brice is the first Haitian ever to apply for, or granted a scholarship in the foundation’s 25-year history.

“More than a scholarship, I consider it a demonstration of trust in my career development in the tourism field,” said Brice, who plans to keep working on meaningful tourism projects in her home country and contribute to the development of Caribbean tourism.

The following are the scholarship and grant recipients and their areas of study:

Study Grant 
Sharissa Lightbourne – Turks & Caicos Islands – Analytics Certificate Programme, Management Concepts, Atlanta, GA
Quinneka Smith – The Bahamas – Food and Beverage Management, Conegosta College, Canada
Roshane Smith – Jamaica – Flight Instruction/Pilot Training – Aeronautical School of the West Indies Ltd., Jamaica

Bonita Morgan Memorial Scholarship  
Keisha Alexander – Grenada – Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management, University of the Commonwealth Caribbean, Jamaica
Mykerline J. Stephane Brice – Haiti – Advanced Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Toronto School of Management, Canada
Adeline Raphael – Martinique – Disaster Risk Management, Florida International University, USA

Arley Sobers Memorial Scholarship     
Brent Piper – Trinidad & Tobago – BSc., Computer Science, Howard University, USA

Audrey Palmer Hawks Memorial Scholarship   
Nesa Constantine Beaubrun – Saint Lucia – Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Marketing, Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK
Tiffany Mohanlal – Trinidad & Tobago – MSc, Tourism Development and Management, UWI, Trinidad & Tobago

Thomas Greenan Scholarship
Koby Samuel – Antigua & Barbuda – Hospitality Management and Culinary, Monroe College, USA

Blue Group Media Scholarship 
Alexandra Dupigny – Dominica – BSc, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Dominica
Antonia Pierre-Hector – Dominica -BSc, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Dominica

About the CTO 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. For more information on the Foundation visit: CTO Foundation

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