CTO News

Guyana Tourism Authority Designates New Director

Georgetown, Guyana (April 22, 2020): The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Deputy Director, Carla James, as director of the tourism body beginning May 1, 2020. Ms. James will succeed the current director, Brian T. Mullis, following the conclusion of his two-year contract on April 30, 2020 and becomes the first ever indigenous woman to assume the position.

Ms. James, a proud Akawaio and native of Kamarang Village in the Upper Mazaruni Region (Region 7), was unanimously identified as the superior and most suitable candidate at the end of a rigorous four-stage selection process conducted by the agency’s board of directors. Her appointment also marks a pivotal moment in the GTA’s 18-year history as she becomes the first indigenous woman to assume the role – a fact to be noted by social historians and celebrated by indigenous peoples and women of all ethnicities throughout Guyana.

“Ms. James is uniquely qualified to lead Destination Guyana as our new director of tourism,” said Donald Sinclair, the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Guyana Tourism Authority. “In her we have found a leader who is not only professionally well-versed in our destination and industry sector, but someone with tremendous national pride and heritage, both of which are essential components for strengthening our tourism strategy going forward. Her ascension to the role of director will also be a tremendous source of inspiration to many young women who now have proof that women of all ethnicities can shatter glass ceilings and go where previously they feared to tread”.

In her capacity as director, Ms. James will lend a breadth of managerial and industry experience, with a proven track record for institutional strengthening, financial management, and destination planning, marketing and management, spanning 19 years in her professional career.  As graduate of President’s College, Ms. James began her career in 2001 as a research assistant at what was then the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce. In 2003, she made the move to the Guyana Tourism Authority and joined the team as a statistics and research officer. In the following years, she has held the positions of Senior Statistics and Research Officer, Marketing Manager, Logistics Manager and Personal Assistant to the Director of the Authority, and most recently, the Deputy Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority.

“I am filled with a great sense of pride and accomplishment. It has been an amazing journey of learning, apprenticeship, training and experiences; and I am extremely honoured to take on the role of the Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority and serve the place I am so proud to call home,” added Ms. James, current Deputy Director for the Guyana Tourism Authority. “Our work plays a significant role in helping to protect our precious natural landscapes and wildlife and it is a responsibility I do not take lightly. During a time when community is needed most, I look forward to supporting my own by continuing to push Destination Guyana forward alongside our valued industry partners.”

The new director will assume leadership during what is easily the most severe and dynamic time for the global tourism industry – COVID-19 crisis. Her task will be to lead her team through the implementation of an industry recovery strategy, building on what has been established over the last years and pivoting based on the travel industry’s new normal. The Board of the Guyana Tourism Authority, entire GTA body and outgoing Director, Brian T. Mullis, remain confident that Ms. James’ leadership capabilities and strong support will allow the GTA and Guyana tourism sector to overcome the current challenges and build upon the tremendous successes achieved during the past two years.

Those successes include multiple awards and designations that have helped propel Guyana to great heights in the tourism industry and in the sustainability sector specifically. In 2019 alone, Guyana was named the World’s #1 ‘Best of Ecotourism’ at ITB Berlin, #1 ‘Best in Sustainable Tourism’ at the LATA Achievement Awards, #1 ‘Best in Destination Stewardship’ at the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Awards Programme, and the ‘Leading Sustainable Adventure Destination’ at World Travel Market. These designations spurred interest in the small South American nation like never before and resulted in multiple features in annual travel lists and other high-profile media coverage positioning Guyana as a top destination to visit in 2020. The destination has also secured its first award for 2020, being named the 2nd place winner of the ‘Best of Americas’ category by the Green Destinations Foundation.

Despite the challenges ahead to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, the Guyana Tourism Authority remains optimistic that this foundation of interest in Guyana will prevail as travellers seek out more sustainable and enriching ways to explore the world later into 2020 and well beyond.

Profile shots of Ms. Carla James are available to download here.

About the Guyana Tourism Authority: The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) is a semi-autonomous governmental organisation responsible for developing and promoting sustainable tourism in Guyana through collaboration with sister agencies and the tourism private sector in order to maximise local socio-economic and conservation outcomes and improve the travellers’ experience. The GTA is focused on Guyana becoming recognised locally and internationally as a premier destination for protecting its natural and cultural heritage, providing authentic experiences, and maximising local socio-economic benefits.

For more information on Destination Guyana and/the Guyana Tourism Authority kindly contact Nicola Balram ([email protected]) or Sade Cameron ([email protected]), call (592) 219-0093 or follow DiscoverGuyana on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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Trinidad and Tobago to Benefit from CAF Loan

Tourism infrastructure -including beaches, island connectivity, popular sites and attractions and airports at Piarco and Crown Point are expected to be significantly enhanced following receipt of three loans amounting to US$350 million from the CAF Development Bank of Latin America.

Tourism Minister, the Honourable Randall Mitchell, welcomes this development and says it was obtained at a most appropriate time.

He said the tourism sector in Trinidad and Tobago was among the hardest hit by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the financial assistance will provide much needed resources to upgrade various aspects of the tourism product we offer.

The Honourable Minister said he was confident all tourism stakeholders will welcome this development.

About US$200 million of the funds will be used to assist with “the management, planning and investment of tourism infrastructure through improvements in the institutional and regulatory framework.” It is also expected to assist with the current review of the National Tourism Policy, the Strategic Plan for the Airports Authority and development of a National Maritime Policy and Strategy. In addition it will strengthen the analysis needed to develop a port and logistics hub, specifically in Port-of-Spain and development and integration of the Port Community System in the logistics chains linked to ports.

Three loans amounting to US$350 million have been approved by the Andean Development Bank (CAF) to assist with the general improvements to air and sea transportation and infrastructure, to assist with initiatives to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19), Destination News

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Bartlett Launches Free Online Training for Tourism Workers

KINGSTON, Jamaica; April 23, 2020: Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has officially launched free online training for tourism workers. The initiative, which is being driven by the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI), a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), is geared towards assisting tourism workers, who were laid off as a result of the closure of hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the programme, tourism workers are being offered 11 free online courses to hone their skills and improve their qualifications.

The Ministry is reporting that so far, 2,279 users have registered since the programme launched yesterday afternoon, with several candidates placed a wait-list, given the high demand for specific programmes (such as certification in Hospitality Team Leader, Restaurant Servers, Hospitality Supervisor and Spanish).

Speaking after the digital launch, Minister Bartlett said, “We are very proud that the programme is so well-received by our hospitality workers.  In fact the portal crashed moments after our launch, due to the influx of interest, but I am happy to report these technical issues have been addressed. So I encourage all hospitality workers to take advantage of this opportunity.”

The Minister added that this initiative was very important because he wanted the workforce to be more qualified after the period of this pandemic, than when it started.

“The COVID-19 crisis has hit our tourism sector hard. As hotels and attractions have shuttered operations and borders have closed all of the 160,000 workers directly employed in tourism have been impacted in one way or another. Forty thousand remain employed while 75% [120,000] have been laid off.

Therefore, I am pleased to announce that we will be offering our tourism workers a lifeline. There is no better time than now for them to retool and upskill. It is a smart investment in staying resilient, which will pay handsome dividends when the tourism sector returns to normal,” he said.

The programme is being administered in collaboration with our major partners.  HEART/National Service Training (HEART/NSTA) Trust, will be offering courses free to candidates and paying all the tutors.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA), the owners of the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), will be offering their signature ServSafe Certification, and the Universal Service Fund (USF) will be supporting individuals who need access to the Internet.

“The USF, in particular, is a critical partner as we seek to ensure access for those who do not have the technology at home. The USF has 193 functional Community Access Points (CAPs) throughout Jamaica, each with 25 computers with internet access,” said Minister Bartlett.

He further added that, “The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), will be partnering with the USF to use select CAPs in Trelawny, St. James, St. Ann and Westmoreland so that students without access to a smartphone will be able to utilize the CAPs in these parishes to participate in the courses and access course material.”

The JCTI initiative includes 11 free online certifications, which will ensure the continued advancement of local tourism workers despite the challenging circumstances.

The courses are as follows: Laundry Attendant, Guest Room Attendant, Kitchen Steward Porter, ServSafe Training in Food Safety, Certified Hospitality Supervisor, Introduction to Spanish, Public Area Sanitation, Hospitality Team Leader, Certified Banquet Server, Certified Restaurant Server, and DJ Certification.

These are certification programmes, which means that only candidates with actual work experience are eligible.

All courses will include certification examinations and successful candidates will receive certificates from certifying institutions, including the National Restaurant Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute or HEART Trust/NSTA.

Registration continues at www.tef.gov.jm/jamaica-centre-of-toursm-innovation

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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Saint Lucia Tourism Authority rolls out its “Saint Lucia Inspires” Blog Series

Castries – April 21, 2020 – The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) through its website www.stlucia.org and Facebook platform @travelSaintLucia will take viewers and readers on a topical, informative and entertaining destination experience through its “Saint Lucia Inspires” Blog Series.

As most jurisdictions are observing a state of emergency, imposing travel bans or in the early stages of recovering, there has been a rise in interest in armchair travel. Recent research tells us that people are searching online now for travel ideas in the near future. People are looking for inspiration and connections from their homes as they try to navigate the medical, social and environmental challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presents.

The “Saint Lucia Inspires” Series commenced at 10:00 a.m. ECT on April 20, 2020 with a feature by renowned Saint Lucian Journalist and Writer-Stan Bishop, dubbed Choiseul the Cradle of Craft.

Commenting on the series, Tourism Minister- Honourable Dominic Fedee said; “The virtual demand for Saint Lucia at this time is amazing and our team is more than happy to share the stories of our hidden treasures and authentic experiences that when our international gateways are open again, Saint Lucia would be top top-of-mind.”

Saint Lucia Inspires will continue with a bi-monthly Monday-blog that will place special highlights on the island’s villages, heroes, offerings and culture.

In addition to Saint Lucia Inspires, the SLTA continues to showcase its 7 Minutes in Saint Lucia Series which is a Live Instagram virtual experience on Tuesdays & Thursdays at 11 a.m. ECT on @travelSaintLucia

Saint Lucia, Let Her Inspire you!

For More Information on Saint Lucia visit www.stlucia.org


Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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Barbados Crop Over Festival Set to Return in 2021

In keeping with ongoing global efforts to contain and manage the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Barbados has made the difficult decision to cancel the country’s Crop Over Festival this year.

The island’s premier arts and culture showcase celebrates the end of the sugar cane crop with craft markets, soca and calypso competitions, parties and much more, and was scheduled to launch in June 2020. The festival usually runs for two months, culminating on the first Monday of August with a colourful street parade dubbed Grand Kadooment. On Kadooment Day, thousands of locals, visitors and even celebrities that have included Cultural Ambassador Rihanna, and Lewis Hamilton, take to the streets in costume to party.

Also cancelled this year due to COVID-19 is the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA), which was slated for October and November 2020. This annual festival, which celebrates the best of Barbadian performing, visual and culinary arts, will return in 2021.

The Ministry of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports responsible for these two key events, will instead dedicate this time to a national training programme in schools and communities to ensure the continued development of local arts despite the festival cancellations.

More information will be provided on the national training program as it becomes available.

For more on Crop Over and Barbadian arts, visit http://www.ncf.bb, and follow the National Cultural Foundation on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thencfbarbados/

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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Nevis Postpones Annual Summer Festival

Nevis Mango & Food Festival Moved to 2021

New York, NY, April 15, 2020 – The global community is in the grip of the COVID-19 virus, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, in accordance with the policies of the St. Kitts and Nevis government, the annual Nevis Mango and Food Festival 2020 will not take place this year. This decision has been made out of an abundance of caution, with the well-being, safety and health of both residents and visitors in mind.

The 3-day Nevis Mango and Food Festival, slated to take place on the 4th of July weekend, has become a fixture on culinary calendars for foodies. Chefs from across the region, along with a visiting celebrity chef, embrace an epic culinary challenge, totally dedicated to the mango and the creative cuisine inspired by mangos. The only caveat is that the mangos that are used must be one of the 40+ varieties that grow on the island. The festival is an initiative by the Nevis Tourism Authority and is now expected to take place next year, over the 4th of July weekend, 2021. elebrity Chefs

In making the announcement, the CEO of the Nevis Tourism Authority, Ms. Jadine Yarde, said, “The Nevis Mango Festival has become a staple on our tourism calendar; however, this is an unprecedented situation and our main priority continues to be the health and safety of our visitors, our colleagues, Nevisians and the people of the global community”. She continued, “These are challenging times, but they will come to an end. We encourage you to stay well. We will prevail and your friends in Nevis will be here to welcome you when you are ready and able to travel again”.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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