CTO News

CTO Announces Finalists for Canada Travel Media Awards

TORONTO, Canada (24 July, 2019) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has announced the finalists for its annual media awards competition for the Canadian market. Canadian journalists will be recognised during the Media Day luncheon on 22 August at the Boulevard Club (1491 Lake Shore Blvd. West, Toronto).

Hosted by award-winning journalist Dwight Drummond, the awards luncheon honours journalists who have produced Caribbean stories for Canadian and other media outlets.

Following are the Caribbean Media Awards finalists for each category:

I Couldn’t Have Written It Better Myself: Best Feature in a Consumer Newspaper

  • Melanie Reffes: “Caribbean Cruise Ports: What to do When You Get There” – The Suburban
  • Pamela Fieber: “Much to Sip and Savour High Up in the Blue Mountains” – Calgary Herald
  • Erin MacLeod: “In Post-Carnival Trinidad, the Party Never Really Ends” – The New York Times

Been There, Wrote That: Best Feature in a Consumer Magazine

  • Mark Stevens: “Looking for Jerk in All the Right Places” – All At Sea
  • Josephine Matyas: “The Soul Cleansing Beauty of Dominica” –  Luxe
  • Wayne Curtis: “Rum for It” – En Route

Inner Circle King/Queen: Best Feature in a Trade Publication

  • Mark Stevens: “Saint Lucia: Inspiration Island” – Caribbean Business & Travel
  • Martha Chapman: “Inside the Real Barbados” – Open Jaw
  • Anita Draycott: “Liming Bajan Style” –  Travel Industry Today

Virtual Visitor Award: Best Online Feature

  • Josephine Matyas: “Cruising the British Virgin Islands”  – Dreamscapes
  • Jennifer Merrick: “Montego Bay – Relearning the Art of Doing Nothing” – Modern Mississauga
  • Bianca Bujan: “How to Eat Like a Bajan” – BC Living

Oh Snap! Best Photograph Accompanying a Story

  • Jennifer Merrick: “Bob Marley’s Jamaica”  –  Buffalo Spree
  • Sharon Matthews-Stevens: “An Abacos Adventure” –  Canadian Yachting
  • Ann Ruppenstein: “Discovering Another Side of Jamaica” –  Travel Courier

Oh My Word, I Blogged!: Best Blog Posting

  • Tamara Elliott: “Belize’s ATM Cave Tour: Where Adventure Meets Mayan Sacrifices” – Globe Guide
  • Marilyn Préfontaine: “Douce Martinique: l’île aux mille couleurs” – Marginale et heureuse
  • Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil: “ Green Grotto Caves –  The Natural Beauty of Runaway Bay” – The PlanetD.com

Me Too! I Rediscovered Home! Best Feature by a Diasporan Journalist in Diaspora Media

  • Michael Van Cooten: “Soca Royalty”  –  Pride News
  • Parm Palmer: “Things to do in Grenada” – The Planet D
  • Simone Jennifer Smith: “How Much Can You Fit into One Day? – The Journey Through Kingston, Jamaica!” – Toronto Caribbean Newspaper

Look, I’ve Gone Social: Best Social Media Coverage of an Event or Activity

  • Kael Rebick: “Fam Trip to St. Vincent and the Grenadines”
  • Diana Becevello: “A Catamaran Trip to Turks and Caicos Islands”

I Have Influence: Best Executed Influencer Campaign That Delivered Results Based On Agreed Objectives

  • Monika Koehler: “#LoveBarbadosFood”

CTO assembled a panel of expert media and travel industry judges to review submissions and determine the award winners, led by head judge Tim Doyle:

  • Tim Doyle is coordinator of journalism programmes at Centennial College, including the school’s innovative postgraduate programme in contemporary journalism that was introduced in 2018. Doyle worked for more than 20 years in print journalism before moving to digital in 1999 as founding executive producer of hockey website, Faceoff.com. Later, with Canwest and Postmedia, he held a number of senior roles including founding editor-in-chief of the Canada.com network and vice president and editor-in-chief New Media. Doyle joined the faculty at Centennial in 2014 and teaches in the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and in the school’s joint programme with the University of Toronto Scarborough.
  • Kattrin Duncan has more than 15 years on Destination Ontario’s media relations team and has been a trusted partner to journalists, editors and the travel PR industry across the globe. Duncan is always eager to pitch interesting Ontario story ideas or assist media with finding compelling content.
  • Anna Hobbs turned to travelling – across Canada and around the world –writing about her experiences after a fulfilling 25-year stint on the editorial staff at Canadian Living.
  • Josh Kahn is a well-respected tourism industry consultant and public relations specialist at award-winning boutique agency KTCpr as well as immediate past chairman for the prestigious New York Chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
  • Sandra Kitchen, following a 20 year career with Sunquest Vacations, established Worldly Marketing Strategies in 2001. With a focus towards the entrepreneurial tourism and publishing industries, Kitchen has been associated with Dreamscapes Travel and Lifestyle Magazine as publisher from 2001 to 2011, and is currently associate publisher.

About Dwight Drummond:

Dwight Drummond is an award-winning journalist and the host on CBC Toronto News at Six, which airs weeknights on CBC television. Drummond has been a reporter and news anchor for over two decades. With Drummond at the helm, CBC Toronto News is yet again nominated for Best Local Newscast at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards (CSA). Dwight is also nominated for Best Local Anchor. In 2015, Drummond and CBC Toronto News at Six were recognised as Canada’s best local newscast. As a reporter, Drummond was known for his exclusives –  he broke local stories that went national, and has reported internationally. Drummond has also received a number of awards for his police reporting and commendations for his community work. He is a recipient of the Men of Excellence Award, the Distinguished Men of Honour Award and the African Canadian Achievement Award for Excellence in Media.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Media Awards

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Tobago Continues to Engage German Market to Increase Visitor Arrivals

SCARBOROUGH Tobago, Monday July 22, 2019: The Tobago Tourism Agency Limited (TTAL) hosted the destination’s overseas representative in Germany for a visit to Tobago from July 09 to 16, 2019. This familiarization trip provided the representative with an update of on-island experiences, fostered closer relationships between local tourism stakeholders and Tobago’s overseas reps to optimize tourism initiatives, and improved the representative’s confidence and ability to sell Tobago in the German market.

Aligning marketing efforts with overseas destination representatives

The Tobago Tourism Agency has been hosting contracted overseas representatives on the island in the past few months to keep them abreast of the destination’s assets, and to ensure they have a better understanding of, and close working relationship with, the island’s tourism stakeholder groups.

The Agency previously hosted Canadian PR Company, Siren Communications in May 2019, as well as the destination’s Scandinavian representatives, AVIAREPS Nordic, in June 2019. These representatives are strategically selected individuals and organizations who use their intimate knowledge of Tobago’s various source markets to effectively reach local consumers, outbound operators, and local media in order to drive destination sales and increase visitation to the island.

This recent familiarization trip saw Tobago’s overseas representative in Germany, Ms. Angelika Wegner of Tourimax, be re-familiarized with Tobago’s tourism assets and get updated on the current status of the room stock available. TTAL officials also engaged Ms. Wegner in activities on the island that are aligned with the primary niches established in TTAL’s “Go to Market Strategy”, including eco-adventure and nature, local culture, people and heritage, and seas and beaches.

TTAL also facilitated site inspections to over twenty (20) different tourism accommodation properties across the island, and ensured that Ms. Wegner experienced the best of the culinary, natural, and cultural offerings of unspoilt, untouched, undiscovered Tobago – including a taste of the Tobago Heritage Festival currently underway.

Facilitating engagement between industry stakeholders and German market

On Tuesday July 16, 2019, Ms. Wegner was joined by TTAL’s Marketing Coordinator, Ms. Sheena Des Vignes, to deliver a comprehensive German market update presentation to local industry stakeholders at the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort.

The event was attended by stakeholders from various sectors in Tobago’s tourism industry, including accommodation providers, tour guides, tour operators and representatives from their various associations.

These stakeholders were able to garner insights on the ongoing activities by the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited and Tourimax to promote Tobago in the German market. They were also given the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the destination’s overseas representative, Ms. Angelika Wegner, who provided them with valuable feedback and information on the German travel trade to assist them in optimizing their product and service offerings.

Ms. Wegner stated, “My informative visit to Tobago once again confirmed the enormous potential that the island has to offer. Thanks to an excellent visit planned and organized by the Tobago Tourism Agency, I had the opportunity to talk to many stakeholders and get an overview of the efforts being made on the island to further improve and develop tourism services.
The tourism industry in Tobago shows – despite some challenges – passion and the will to do everything necessary to make the island the dream destination for the German-speaking market again.”

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Grand Anse Beach Rated Best in the World by Conde Nast Traveller

Looking for the best beach in the world? Look no further than Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean. Grenada’s Grand Anse Beach has been rated the best beach in the world by the internationally recognized Condé Nast Traveller UK. Written by Lizzie Pook, she put together a list of the top 20 beaches in the world. About Grand Anse Beach, she wrote, “You’ll find no shortage of beautiful beaches in Grenada, but tranquil, sheltered Grand Anse is one of the best. Two miles of milky-white sand on the western, leeward side of the island, it’s a short water-taxi ride from the capital of St George’s, and is overlooked by some of Grenada’s finest hotels.” Condé Nast Traveller has a print readership of over 1 million monthly readers, over 3 million digital visitors and 6.3 million social fans.

Reacting to the exciting news Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Dr. Clarice Modeste Curwen said, “This is a priceless recognition for Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Grand Anse is indeed an unspoilt gem but it is just one of our many amazing attractions. We invite you to explore our waterfalls, reefs, marine life, breathtaking views, sulpur springs and so much more.

One still has the chance to discover Grenada and take advantage of savings until October 31 by visiting www.puregrenada.com/summerdeals.

About Grenada

The tri-island destination of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique is located in the eastern Caribbean just south of Barbados. Grenada is best known as the “Spice Island of the Caribbean” for its cinnamon and nutmeg production, but the lush destination draws visitors for so much more. The Pure Grenada experience beckons visitors to its 40 white sandy beaches such as the world famous Grand Anse Beach, 15 breathtaking waterfalls, 4 chocolate factories, 3 rum distilleries 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, Canada, UK and Germany making the island accessible to visitors from around the world that wish to experience Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean.


Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Nevis Celebrates Success of 6th Annual Mango & Food Festival

Charlestown, Nevis (July 16, 2019) – Nevis is celebrating the success of the sixth annual Nevis Mango & Food Festival, that took place July 4-7, 2019. The four day festival featured 16 local Nevisian Chefs, participation of four local restaurants, the first ever Caribbean Mango Cooking Competition and was headlined by celebrity Chefs Judy Joo and Simon Jenkins. This was the third time UK Iron Chef Judy Joo, a Korean-American French-trained chef based in London, and frequent Food Network host and guest, participated in the Mango and Food Festival. With tripled attendance the Nevis Mango & Food Festival is quickly cementing its position as a the leading Mango and culinary event in the Caribbean.

Nevis mangoes, of which there are 44 varieties, are truly special and prized for their texture and flavor. They inspire culinary creativity among celebrity and local chefs who carefully select their favorites and turn them into everything from soups and salsas, to marinades, sauces, cocktails and fabulous desserts. Locals, however, happily eat them fresh off the trees!

The four-day mango extravaganza began with a press conference hosted by Johnson Johnrose of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), and a demonstration by UK Iron Chef Judy Joo and Simon Jenkins of the UK with tips for using mangos in cooking. The press conference was held at the new restaurant, Cleveland Gardens, where Nevisian chefs, Berecia Stapleton and Wentworth Smithen also gave demonstrations highlighting local mango varieties. Afterwards, Iron Chef UK Judy Joo conducted a mango cooking masterclass with leading international media. Michelin starred Chef Simon Jenkins hosted a cake decorating clinic for Nevisian bakers in the afternoon. The Festival featured masterclasses, special hosted evenings at restaurants, tastings, and guided food trails. The highlight of the festival is the Chefs Mango Feast that took place on July 7th where the first ever Caribbean Mango Cooking Competition was held with culinary teams from Antigua, Barbados, Nevis and St. Kitts. Judged by Chefs Judy Joo, Simon Jenkins, and Texas food critic Mai Pham, Barbados was the inaugural winner. The Feast also featured the Mango Baking Competition, and was an opportunity for 16 local Nevisian Chefs to provide samples of their signature mango dishes, and samples from four local restaurants. The event was a real celebration, with the inclusion of Nevis’ Green House Band, providing a taste of local music.

As an added bonus, many of the local restaurants and resorts feature “Mango Fest” menus. Guests from all over the island are happy to reserve their spots for lunches and dinners that feature this special ingredient.

Organized by the Nevis Tourism Authority, the Mango & Food Festival is not only a culinary celebration of Mango for residents and visitors, it provides educational opportunities for local businesses and students. The Festival provides internships for culinary students, mentoring opportunities from headline Chefs, a commercial festival where local businesses sold products made from mangos, and the promotion of the culinary use of mangos to drive the local mango industry. Greg Phillip, CEO, Nevis Tourism Authority shared, “The Nevis Tourism Authority is tremendously pleased with what the Nevis Mango and Food Festival has become.  It has earned a much deserved spot in the Caribbean’s annual calendar of ‘must see’ events and is poised to grow even more.  We are grateful to the individuals and business who supported us this year.  It was an incredibly positive experience to welcome the culinary teams from St. Kitts, Barbados and Antigua who participated in the first annual Caribbean Mango Cooking Competition. We are already looking forward to the 2020 Mango and Food Festival.”

Mark your calendars now for the 2020 Nevis Mango & Food Festival that will take place July 2 – 5, 2020 and will feature even more Caribbean culinary teams in the Caribbean Mango Cooking Competition with even more visitors and activities planned.  To find out more visit www.nevismangofest.com.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO Mourns Loss of Marie Walker, Long-Time Tourism Colleague & Friend of the Caribbean

NEW YORK, NY (July 15, 2019) – Executives and staff of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) are mourning the loss of Marie Walker, a long-time Jamaica-born tourism colleague and friend who dedicated her time to the betterment of the Caribbean region.

“Marie Walker was a passionate tourism regionalist who never missed an opportunity to serve on a CTO committee, most recently at the Caribbean Week debriefing meeting two weeks ago,” said Sylma Brown, director of CTO-USA, Inc. “She shared her expertise freely and supported destination colleagues without hesitation. She exuded with warmth, energy and authenticity. The Caribbean and our small community of National Tourist Offices (NTOs) and allied members in the U.S. has lost a champion. Marie will be missed by all who knew and loved her,” Brown added.

Walker worked in the Caribbean tourism industry for 40 years, most recently as the principal of Turnstyle Marketing where she worked closely with Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Lucia. She served as a director of the Anguilla Tourist Board and vice president of sales and marketing with Antigua and Barbuda.

Walker began her career with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in the Kingston headquarters and later in JTB’s New York office where she worked her way up to become advertising relations manager. She was instrumental in growing business for Jamaica with the award-winning One Love advertising campaign and was an early innovator by engaging Jamaicans living abroad before the Caribbean Diaspora was established as a viable market.

Walker was the founder of the popular Jerk to Go restaurants in New York City and was planning the company’s expansion across the U.S.

She previously sat on the board of the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies and has served on several CTO committees including the committee for the CTO’s Governments of the Caribbean State Ball.

Walker is survived by her husband, New York Supreme Court Justice Sam Walker, her parents Sadie and Clinton Deeble, her sister Jackie Vickers, nieces Nicola and Celine and other relatives and friends. A celebration of life ceremony is being planned for New York and Florida.

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Balancing People, Planet and Profits for a Viable Tourism Economy, a Major Discussion Point at STC 2019

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (15 July 2019) – Any Caribbean economic development plan must respect the intricate relationship between the environment, societal needs and profitability, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

It’s in this context that the need to balance people, planet and profits for a viable tourism economy will be included as a major issue for discussion at the upcoming Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

During a general session entitled “The Caring Economy: People, Planet and Profits,” scheduled for Friday 29 Aug. at 9 a.m., participants will be presented with examples of tangible best practices of equitable balance among the three Ps of sustainability that have been implemented at the local, regional and international levels. The presenters will demonstrate how development planners can build a caring economy by that encompasses every sustainability pillar.

One of the examples to be featured is the People-to-People programme in the Bahamas through which visitors are paired with local hosts who share Bahamian culture, cuisine and history, and develop long-lasting friendships.

The conference, otherwise known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (#STC2019), is scheduled for 26-29 Aug. 2019 at the Beachcombers Hotel in St. Vincent and is organised by CTO in partnership with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA).

Under the theme “Keeping the Right Balance: Tourism Development in an Era of Diversification,” industry experts participating in #STC2019 will address the urgent need for a transformational, disruptive, and regenerative tourism product to meet ever-rising challenges. The full conference programme can be viewed via https://www.caribbeanstc.com/program/

St Vincent and the Grenadines will host STC amidst an intensified national thrust towards a greener, more climate-resilient destination, including the construction of a geothermal plant on St. Vincent to complement the country’s hydro and solar energy capacity and the restoration of the Ashton Lagoon in Union Island.

To register for the conference, visit https://www.caribbeanstc.com/register. Rates are available for general delegates including CTO members and non-members, St. Vincent & the Grenadines residents, travel agents and students (both local and international rates).

Sponsorships are available for the conference and can be viewed via: https://www.caribbeanstc.com/sponsor. Contact Sylma Brown Bramble at 212-635-9530 or [email protected] for additional information.


About the Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development

The Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development is part of the information dissemination and regional awareness component of CTO’s strategy for sustainable tourism. It looks at how member states can design and implement sustainable tourism policies and programmes, offering a regional forum for information exchange on the successes and pitfalls of national, regional and international initiatives.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, STC

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