CTO News

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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Royal Schiphol Group on Familiarization Visit to SXM Airport

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten (Sunday, February 03, 2019) – Top officials of the Royal Schiphol Group arrived at the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), on Monday January 28, 2019 for a familiarization visit. The Royal Schiphol Group is the owner and operator of the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Rotterdam, The Hague Airport and Lelystad Airport. The group also holds the majority stake in Eindhoven Airport.

Chief Executive Officer, Brian Mingo and Chief Operating Officer, Michel Hyman, of the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), Managing Board, gave the Director of Schiphol International Airport, Roel Hellemons and Chief Financial Officer of the Royal Schiphol Group, Jabine van der Meijs, a tour of the airport facilities. Also participating in the tour was a delegation that included the newly-appointed Director of the Recovery Trust Fund, Claret Connor, and members of the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Affairs, BZK.

The walk-through tour offered an internal look at the Departure and Arrival halls (the “Package One – Temporary Operations”), on the ground floor of the terminal building. The delegation also received a close-up look at the ongoing roof works and the installation of the riverclack sheets, as part of the Phase two of the Roofing Project. The delegation was also briefed about the upcoming Phase Two remediation of the former Departure Hall in the upper level area of the terminal building. They were given an exclusive tour of the area, whereby members of the Project Management Team were made available to answer questions about the planning development.

The Royal Schiphol Group delegation noted in their first impression that the overall frame and structure of the terminal building was still intact. The duo remarked that SXM Airport made use of the correct avenues to accommodate the existing traffic flow. “Our visit to St. Maarten and the walkthrough tour of the airport terminal, have been very useful for us. We experienced a warm welcome from the entire airport team but also saw the huge damage that hurricane Irma has caused to a very beautiful and modern terminal building. We were impressed by the creative temporary solutions that the airport team has managed to find to facilitate the Departure and Arrival processes. We also realize that a lot needs to be done to get the whole terminal back into operation. We would very much like to support the airport management team with this big task where necessary and possible, by bringing the expertise we have as an experienced international airport operator,” stated the Director of Schiphol International Airport, Roel Hellemons.

“The purpose of the visit was to introduce Schiphol to PJIAE and our shareholders and to give them a tour of the situation of our airport. To have the Royal Schiphol Group assist the Princess Juliana International Airport and St. Maarten to restore its airport will become the next steps,” stated Brian Mingo. “When we merge our 75 years of experience with the resources from the Royal Schiphol Group who has over 175 years of experience, the Princess Juliana International Airport can only benefit from this collaborative effort. Schiphol also manages the Reina Beatrix International Airport in Oranjestad, Aruba, John F. Kennedy International Airport and other international airports.”

The engagement with SXM Airport at first will be a review of the organization and the current “Package One – Temporary Operations” of the terminal building. The safety and quality aspects will be reviewed to ensure continuity and quality of the existing operations.

“After sixteen (16) months following hurricanes Irma and Maria, SXM Airport still has a long way to go, to reconstruct its existing terminal building. Funding and the actual project planning are yet to be completed but are essential for a successful result. Schiphol will also play an important role in the reconstruction phase,” Mingo concluded.

The Royal Schiphol Group manages approximately 2000 employees in a variety of specialized fields. The company is also known for its award-winning “Airport City” concept which encompasses real estate, logistics and airport concessions within the airport area.


Contact: Audrey St. Luce-Jack; Corporate Communications Specialist; +1 (721) 520-3764; [email protected]

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Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Launches New Interactive Website

CASTRIES, Tuesday, February 5, 2019- The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) has launched its new website www.stlucia.org.  The new site, which features a fusion of video and images, captures iconic sites around the island.

The website ensures that the SLTA remains relevant and at the cutting edge of our technology. It includes new features such as a more user-friendly interface and simplified search capabilities.  Visitors to the site will now be able to search for tourism operators, activities and accommodations by classification and location. Additionally, viewers will be able to sort and search our in-depth Soleil Summer Festivals calendar of events.

The SLTA anticipates that the upgrades made and new features added to the website will drive more traffic to its homepage over the course of 2019.

Acting Chief Executive Officer at the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Mrs. Tiffany Howard said; “With many travelers researching and planning for their vacations online, the new website will substantially improve our internet visibility. The site will also assist the SLTA with marketing and promotional efforts in the foreign markets. As the World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination our romance offerings are also prominently featured on the site.”

Over the next few weeks, the SLTA will continue to develop the site with exciting new features, including viewing in other languages and adding more information and content.

The SLTA is the official destination marketing and promotion organization for Saint Lucia and proudly represents markets that include the USA, UK, Canada, France, Germany, The French Antilles and the Eastern Caribbean.

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1-800-456-3984, or 1-888 4STLUCIA or visit http://stlucia.org/.

About Saint Lucia

One of the Windward Islands of the West Indies’ Lesser Antilles, Saint Lucia (pronounced Saint LOO-sha) is nestled halfway down the Eastern Caribbean archipelago. The “Helen of the West Indies,” Saint Lucia is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a tropical rainforest and one of the world’s few drive-in volcanoes.

Culturally rich offerings include the bustling marketplace in the capital of Castries, quaint fishing villages along the coastline, and the annual Soleil Saint Lucia Summer Festival. Saint Lucia’s wide range of accommodations includes world-class five-star resorts, all-inclusive resorts, intimate inns and value-oriented properties. Saint Lucia is also home to world class cruise and yachting facilities. The island is continually recognized as one of the leading Wedding and honeymoon destinations worldwide.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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CaribbeanEvents.com and LIAT Form Partnership

CASTRIES, SAINT LUCIA (February 5, 2019) – Caribbeanevents.com, the recently launched website featuring events and festivals scheduled throughout the Caribbean is happy to announce their partnership with LIAT, the Caribbean airline and the region’s leading carrier serving 15 destinations. This partnership is timely as the calendar of Caribbean events and festivals have grown significantly and CTO has declared 2019 as the Year of Festivals. The goal of this partnership is to increase awareness of these exciting and must-attend events and festivals and bolster intraregional travel.

The Caribbean offers some of the best events and festivals throughout the year, for every taste and

Caribbeanevents.com is the place to find information as the site features over 200 events taking place across the region. This intuitive, easy-to-use calendar provides information for travelers interested in culinary, cultural, musical, yachting, sporting, and other events, with the ability to search by date, island, and event type.

With new information added daily, Caribbeanevents.com includes upcoming events such as Mas Domnik January 12th – March 9th, in Dominica; BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival March 25th – 31st, in the BVI; and the Saint Lucia Jazz May 5th – 12th, in Saint Lucia.

“The Caribbean is rich in history, culture and surrounded by a playground of water, all of which inspire the many of the events and festivals. Whether its carnivals, world-class music, sports, or food, these festivals and events also have a way of bringing people together and so we want to ensure that travelers around the world know about these experiences, offering many more reasons to visit the region,” said Nerdin St. Rose founder of Caribbeanevents.com. “We would also like to see more regional travelers coming to the various events and festivals, and with LIAT’s network, it is easy to island hop and enjoy an eventful life,” she added.

Head of Sales & Marketing, LIAT Egbert Riley noted that with over 490 flights per week, the airline will be able to ensure travelers have access to the best events across the region.  “With our modern ATR fleet and excellent on-time performance, LIAT is happy to ensure visitors can get to events across the region.”  Riley praised the partnership with Caribbeanevents.com as it will give LIAT’s visitors access to information on the Caribbean’s best festivals and events.

Travelers in the trip planning stages can visit Caribbeanevents.com to search the full calendar of events and sign up for the newsletter; they can also follow along for updates on Facebook and Instagram.

About Caribbeanevents.com: Caribbeanevents.com is an online portal featuring events and festivals scheduled throughout the Caribbean. Consumers can research by date, island or type of event to find what’s happening across the region.  Destinations and event organizers can upload information directly onto the site, with enhanced content packages available.

About LIAT: LIAT, The Caribbean Airline, operates a modern fleet of ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft across a regional network of 15 destinations.  It is owned by regional shareholders, with the majority being the Governments of Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.



Nerdin St. Rose; Bornewell Holdings Inc; [email protected]758-485-9292

Shavar Maloney; Corporate Communications Manager, LIAT (1974) LTD

Telephone: +1 (268) 480- 6222 ; Email: corporatecommunications@liat.com


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