CTO News

Antigua & Barbuda Celebrate Success of 2017 Caribbean Travel Marketplace

February 3, 2017 (New York, NY) –  Antigua and Barbuda is celebrating the success of its participation in the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the region’s largest and most significant marketing forum staged by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) in Nassau, Bahamas from January 31 – February 2, 2017 at Atlantis, Paradise Found. The Caribbean Travel Marketplace is the premier annual event for more than 1,200 Caribbean Hoteliers, Tourist Boards, Tour Operators and Attractions to gather for high-impact one-on-one business meetings, knowledge sharing and networking.

The Antigua and Barbuda delegation was led by the Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Board, Ricky Skerritt, with CEO of the Tourism Authority, Colin James, and joined by Director of Tourism, US, Kim Jack Riley and Director of Tourism, Canada, Colin Skerritt and Dean Fenton, Sales and Marketing Manager. As a key delegation, Antigua and Barbuda was able to connect in one place with over 350 suppliers from 26 plus Caribbean countries and met with the top tour operators, airlines, travel agencies, OTAs and media houses, as well as the top travel and trade publications in attendance. The marketplace is the best opportunity to generate last-minute seasonal business while setting the state for long-term business and enhancing the relationship between Antigua and Barbuda, hoteliers, buying companies and leaders in the industry.

Team Antigua and Barbuda were also joined by leading hotelier and industry partners that included Cocos, Blue Waters, Heritage Bay, Carlisle Bay, Sugar Ridge, and National Tours who all had successful meetings with their industry buyers. These business opportunities are critical to ensure the destination continues the momentum for growth that was achieved in 2016 into the new year.

Key tour operators from Europe and North America expressed confidence in the country’s product and were optimistic of the prospects for growth for 2017.

Caribbean Travel Marketplace affords tourism suppliers the vital opportunity to meet face-to-face with wholesalers from around the world selling Caribbean vacation packages over the course of two days of business meetings as well as senior Tourism officials from attending countries. This year that were even more buyers, suppliers and countries in attendance, representing over 1,200 delegates.

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For media enquiries, please contact:
Shermain Jeremy
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Office
Tel: 646.215.6037
E: [email protected]

PR AGENCY CONTACT

Karen Gillo
PM Group
C: 646.628.4895
E: [email protected]

ABOUT ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Antigua (pronounced An-tee’ga) and Barbuda (Bar-byew’da) is located in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. Voted the World Travel Awards 2015 and 2016 Caribbean’s Most Romantic Destination, the twin-island paradise offers visitors two uniquely distinct experiences, ideal temperatures year-round, a rich history, vibrant culture, exhilarating excursions, award-winning resorts, mouth-watering cuisine and 365 stunning pink and white-sand beaches – one for every day of the year. The largest of the Leeward Islands, Antigua comprises 108-square miles with rich history and spectacular topography that provides a variety of popular sightseeing opportunities. Nelson’s Dockyard, the only remaining example of a Georgian fort a listed UNESCO World Heritage site, is perhaps the most renowned landmark. Antigua’s tourism events calendar includes the prestigious Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, and the annual Antigua Carnival; known as the Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival. Barbuda, Antigua’s smaller sister island, is the ultimate celebrity hideaway. The island lies 27 miles north-east of Antigua and is just a 15-minute plane ride away. Barbuda is known for its untouched 17 mile stretch of pink sand beach and as the home of the largest Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the Western Hemisphere.  Find information on Antigua & Barbuda at: www.visitantiguabarbuda.com or follow us on Twitterhttp://twitter.com/antiguabarbuda  Facebook www.facebook.com/antiguabarbudaInstagramwww.instagram.com/AntiguaandBarbuda

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Visit Antigua and Barbuda during our 2017 year of celebrations

(St. John’s, Antigua) February 1, 2017 – Be ready to celebrate, as the twin-island of Antigua and Barbuda heads into 2017, a landmark year for the Caribbean destination with celebrations of major anniversaries for flagship events: The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua and Barbuda Carnival: The Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival, and amazing, new events and exciting product developments.

February 2017

Say I Do in Antigua and Barbuda

This February, the Caribbean’s Most Romantic Destination as voted by the World Travel Awards for two consecutive years in a row, launches its “Say I Do” Romance Campaign with a grand destination wedding in the twin-island up for grabs by couples interested in winning the wedding of their dreams.  Activities planned from February to the destination’s romance month of June include the launch of specially crafted romance packages, a dedicated Antigua and Barbuda Romance Facebook page, and a Love Line at the V.C. Bird International Airport for couples getting married in Antigua and Barbuda.  www.visitantiguabarbuda.com/destination/say-i-do/

March 2017

John Hughes Mill Hunt Tour

The John Hughes Community Mill Hunt Tour will be launched this March as part of the UNWTO International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The Mill Hunt Tour consists of a moderate hike to six sugar mills in the John Hughes community in Antigua. Participants will receive historic information of the Mill Estate as well as clues to subsequent mills with a small authentic John Hughes tokens presented at each mill. The tour culminates with a tasting of local cuisine at the center of the village. ([email protected])

April 2017

30th Anniversary of Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta

In April, the Sailing Capital of the Caribbean hosts the 30th Anniversary of the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta from 19 April – 25 April 2017, in the newly designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nelson’s Dockyard, the only working Georgian Naval dockyard in the world. Beautiful classic yachts dot the English Harbor and purist sailors participate in four days of racing at the internationally recognized event. www.antiguaclassics.com

50th Anniversary of Antigua Sailing Week

The prestigious Antigua Sailing Week, one of the world’s finest regattas celebrates its 50th Anniversary from 29 April – 5 May 2017, with nightly parties and five challenging days of racing in some of the best sailing conditions in the world.  Antigua Sailing Week attracts between 100 – 200 boats ranging in size from 24 to over 100 feet. The Regatta attracts serious racing boats including state-of-the-art, high-tech racing machines, along with a variety of performance cruising and cruising boats. www.sailingweek.com

May 2017

3rd Run in Paradise Half Marathon

The third edition of the Antigua & Barbuda Half Marathon ‘Run In Paradise’, takes place on 28 May 2017. The Run In Paradise Half Marathon, will take runners along the scenic northern coast of the island, showcasing beaches and historical sites. The highly-anticipated event which ends at the Fort James beach, also offers a 5K option and the newest addition, a 10K. www.runinparadise.com

June 2017

Antigua and Barbuda Launches Green Corridor

The south western quadrant of Antigua will be declared as a Green Corridor in June. With a number of hotels along Antigua’s scenic south west coast, either green certified or engaged in green practises, Antigua’s Green Corridor will stretch from Sugar Ridge Resort and Spa, and end in the village of John Hughes, noted for their community tourism initiatives.  Antigua’s sister island Barbuda, will be developed as a totally “green” island, and throughout the year, the Ministry of Tourism will plan and create programmes and policies to ensure the sustainable development of tourism projects in Antigua and Barbuda.

July 2017

60th Anniversary of Antigua Carnival

Antigua and Barbuda’s Carnival, the Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival celebrates its 60th anniversary from 28 July – 8 August 2017. For the milestone year, you can look forward to an explosion of color, music and artistry, sure to excite and entertain. Under the theme ‘Experience Greatness’ party lovers will get swept up in the excitement of the carnival and it steelpan, soca fetes, calypso, pageantry, and costumed parades. This energetic festival stretches into August with visitors and residents coming together on the streets of St. John’s for the grand finale on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.  www.antiguacarnival.com

25 years of Dance and Culture

The Antigua Dance Academy celebrates their 25th Anniversary with events taking place throughout the year.  Key performances not to be missed include the Academy’s major dance production on 2 July 2017 entitled “Rising Consciousness”, which will focus on folklore through, dance, drama and the music of the country.  The year of celebration climaxes with the Caribbean Folk Dance Festival “Out of the Drum”, from 9 November – 12 November 2017, featuring the dance of Antigua and Barbuda and neigbouring islands Guadeloupe, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia and Dominica. The festival includes several productions, workshops, and the live, indigenous Caribbean music associated with the dances. ([email protected] )

For more exciting events and developments in Antigua and Barbuda visitantiguabarbuda.com 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Puerto Rico Tourism Company announces increased Southwest Airlines flights to Puerto Rico

Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), José R. Izquierdo II, announced Southwest Airlines will extend its itinerary of flights to Puerto Rico beginning June 4, 2017. The Boeing 737 aircraft will begin a direct route to San Juan from Chicago Midway International Airport and increase the frequency of flights from Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Tampa and Orlando.

The Chicago-San Juan route is the second flight route added to Southwest Airlines itinerary, following the Newark-San Juan route which began on Dec. 17, 2016. In addition to the increase in direct routes between major continental United States airports and Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, these flights will increase options for travelers looking to enjoy the best of the Caribbean, as Southwest offers service in more than 100 destinations in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The addition of flights and frequencies in the air routes offered by Southwest Airlines will facilitate the increase of visitors to the Island. This increase will result in a greater contribution of the tourism industry to the economic development of Puerto Rico. PRTC is working with Aerostar to attract new airlines to our market, while continuing to expand services with existing airlines,” said Izquierdo II.

Southwest Airlines extended its flight itinerary for bookings until Aug. 14, 2017 and are available at www.southwest.com.

 

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Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Minister presents impressive cruise facilities masterplan to cruise executives

(New York, NY) – January 30, 2017 After three days of discussions and presentations to cruise industry decision-makers in South Florida, Antigua & Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Honorable Asot  A. Michael is “very encouraged” about the future of his country’s cruise sector. The Minister’s optimism follows his recent visit to South Florida (January 25 – 27) during which time he met with several cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL, MSC, Holland America, Seaborn, and Princess Cruises. The Minister and his team also received valuable feedback from the Operations Committee of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).

In commenting on his meetings, Minister Michael said, “The cruise executives and itinerary planners were impressed with our vision for improving how Antigua will be welcoming their ships and passengers, and their feedback has helped us to better understand their specific needs for achieving sustainable growth. I am confident that we have developed the right masterplan, and it is now up to our Government to identify additional financing to complete what we started last year when we successfully implemented critically needed marine improvements at St. John’s Harbour and the Heritage Pier.”

The Tourism Minister reported that very experienced cruise industry leaders like Adam Goldstein, Rick Sasso, Robin Lindsay, Carlos Torres Navarro and Michele Paige were impressed with the fact that, although the Antiguan cruise-sector masterplan had already made significant implementation progress, the Minister and his team were still open to feedback and suggestions for improvement. The cruise decision-makers were particularly interested in the possibility of creating a new beach-focused, outer-island style of cruise destination on the sister island of Barbuda. According to the Minister, this piece of the masterplan is designed for Barbuda to deliver an authentic and unprecedented experience for an Eastern Caribbean cruise itinerary and to better position Barbuda on the regional cruise map.

Minister Michael was accompanied at his cruise industry meetings by his cruise-sector advisor, Ricky Skerritt, Tourism Authority Board member Mr. Nathan Dundas, Antigua & Barbuda Port Authority CEO Darwin Telemaque, and representatives of the BEA-Meridian design and construction team who are responsible for designing and constructing the masterplan.

In 2016, under the leadership of Minister Michael, the Antigua & Barbuda Government commenced an ambitious cruise facilities and downtown development program. To date, some US $50 Million has already been spent on the harbour and lengthening and strengthening the Heritage Pier to allow for the berthing of larger ships up to a Quantum-class size. The arrival of Royal Caribbean’s ‘Anthem of the Seas’ on December 2, 2016 heralded the start of what is expected to be a new growth phase for the Antiguan cruise sector. The Cruise-sector Masterplan calls for further dredging of the approach channel and turning area, the creation of a fifth berth, and land reclamation to help with major improvements to pedestrian and vehicle flows, town aesthetics, tour operations, and shopping.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO Declares 2017 “Year of Adventure” in the Caribbean

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Jan. 10, 2017) – On the heels of last year’s successful Year of Romance, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has declared 2017 the Year of Adventure in the Caribbean. This year the region will celebrate everything from adrenaline-pumping active pursuits to local culture and casually sampling experiences unique to a specific CTO destination.

“Adventure comes in different degrees for travelers. For some, it is zip lining high above a valley or speeding around a motor racing circuit. For others, an adventure is simply exploring local communities to learn their language and customs, and teasing the senses with new cultural and culinary experiences,” said Hugh Riley, Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of CTO.

The 2017 Caribbean Year of Adventure will be promoted through social media and traditional media channels and will create opportunities for travelers and vacation planners to share their experiences and ideas of an adventure-filled Caribbean vacation throughout 2017. CTO has adopted the hashtag #CaribbeanAdventure and encourages all member countries and hotels to use the hashtag when posting images via social media networks. While each destination is unique and inviting in its own right, the common denominator of all Caribbean destination vacations is travelers yearning to enjoy a Caribbean Adventure – no matter how laid-back or thrilling the activity may be.

Through the campaign, CTO and its member countries and hotels will highlight the Caribbean as the leading choice for a vacation filled with adventure for consumers and travel planners selling the region. The theme is designed as a catalyst for sellers and promoters of group travel, family adventure and friend-cations, as well as weddings and honeymoons. Visitors too, will be invited to submit thoughts on their most memorable Caribbean adventures.

 “With a variety of destinations to discover, the Caribbean provides the ultimate vacation playground highlighted by picture-perfect landscapes and ideal weather for an abundance of land and water activities,” said Riley. “The Year of Adventure will highlight the range of activities offered throughout the Caribbean. It’s a theme which can easily be embraced by all CTO member destinations 365 days a year,” Riley noted.

Throughout 2017, the CTO, in cooperation with its private sector partner the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), will assist member countries and hotels with an assortment of ideas which can be implemented around the theme of adventure to appeal to consumers, travel agents and tour operators. Initiatives will be developed around:

 ·     “Once-in-a-Lifetime” getaways (volcano discoveries, helicopter tours, etc.)

·     “There’s a first time for everything” vacations (zip lining, scuba diving, go-kart racing, etc.)

·     Family and “Friends-cation” discovery journeys (whale watching, swimming with dolphins, world-heritage site explorations, etc.)

·     Wellness adventures (Paddle Board Yoga, Aqua Parkour, Tai Chi, etc.)

·     Dine-around delicacy vacations focusing on unique food offerings

Tours can often conveniently be arranged at a resort’s on-property tour desk. Licensed and insured on-island tour companies bring travelers beyond their resort and into the heart of the destination where guests can immerse themselves in parasailing, snorkeling and kayaking; zip line adventures; fishing charters; dolphin and whale watching; horseback riding along the beach; helicopter tours; swimming with dolphins; volcano discoveries; sailing expeditions; rain forest hikes; island exploring; tasting rich flavors and rum factory tours; celebrating Caribbean festivals, perhaps in full costume; and much more.

“We anticipate that in addition to the ideas we provide our members, the countries and hotels will develop their own plan of action for promoting adventure in their individual destinations,” said Riley adding: “The theme is inclusive of a wide range of partners, activities, age ranges and tastes. Ultimately, the aim is for our visitors to have fun with this. The Caribbean is proud of its diversity of exciting experiences and we encourage visitors to explore their own sense of adventure when they visit our shores.”

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New opportunities from tourism for local traders in Montego Bay

An innovative initiative to improve income for traders in a Montego Bay craft market aims to increase local economic benefits from tourism.

Central to the initiative is a new training programme from the Travel Foundation endorsed by the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo).  Traders in the Harbour Street Craft Market have been the first to receive business training to support them to increase their income from tourism.  The initiative is part of a wider programme from the Travel Foundation to improve the impacts of tourism in the area.

The training, designed by the Travel Foundation and delivered by TPDCo trainers includes guidance on what types of products tourists are looking for, how to approach tourists effectively and improve sales techniques, as well as tips for running a profitable business.   Around 100 traders have been trained, with more to follow this year.

Local tourism trainer for TPDCo, Natalie Ellis who attended the Travel Foundation ‘train the trainer’ course said. “I honestly believe that this is a great programme and will definitely impact positively the craft traders to maximise their profits because all the information we’re giving to them is actually practical information that they can build on and improve themselves. By improving themselves they will also improve earnings for their family members. For me it was amazing, a really great experience.  It has taught me so much more and I’ve been a trainer for 9 years.’

The Travel Foundation is now calling on tour operators and destination marketing companies to encourage customers to visit the market. ‘We’re continuing to work with the market traders, the parish council, TPDCo and others to ensure that the market offers a vibrant and enjoyable experience for tourists and to support local traders.  But we also need to ensure that tourists know about the craft market and what it has to offer, so are asking tour operators to include it in their excursions and to promote it.’  Said Julie Middleton, Head of Sustainable Practice at the Travel Foundation.

The Travel Foundation has also developed a walking map of Montego Bay and an insider guide to the area, highlighting local attractions, which are being distributed to tourists and can be viewed at www.thetravelfoundation.org.uk

In the future, the Travel Foundation aims to take the initiative to other resorts across Jamaica.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Travel Foundation

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