CTO News

New Directions for Caribbean Tourism at SOTIC 2018

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (25 July 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is examining new strategies to stimulate growth in the region’s tourism industry at this year’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) themed Rejuvenate, Recreate, Reconnect – New Directions for Caribbean Tourism.

Scheduled 2-5 Oct. 2018 at Atlantis, Paradise Island in The Bahamas, SOTIC 2018 will consider ways to build a tourism industry that is resilient and able to adapt to changing trends, demands and situations.

“Globally, the tourism industry is constantly evolving. At the Caribbean Tourism Organization, we must be in the forefront of anticipating and managing the changes that affect our region – extreme climate phenomena, political and economic realities at home and abroad, and the rapid rise in technological developments,” said Hugh Riley, secretary general and CEO of CTO.

“In order to continue to grow our tourism in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to our communities, we must be open to new thinking, which often means breaking out of traditional comfort zones. SOTIC 2018 is intended to inspire action to develop innovative concepts, tools and models, and implement strategies that recognise the changing demands of international travellers. Exceeding the expectations of increasingly knowledgeable consumers is a challenge the Caribbean must always be prepared to meet,” Riley added.

The SOTIC theme ties in CTO’s declaration of 2018 as the “Caribbean Year of Rejuvenation and Wellness,” with multifaceted themes for each of the three conference days:

  • Day one is centered on “Recreate” with discussions focused on innovation, business development and building better, not just the physical infrastructure, but an entire immersive experience that is driven by technology.
  • The second day will delve into “Rejuvenation,” featuring a blend of creative ideas and cutting edge thinking on what can be done to add vitality, energy and freshness into the Caribbean tourism product. Discussions will also focus on efforts by regional carriers to make travelling through the region less challenging and enhance the visitor experience.
  • Emphasis on day three will be on “Reconnecting,” where participants will explore ways to distinguish the Caribbean tourism product by incorporating the region’s unique cultural hybridism and endemic wellness customs into programmes.

Throughout the three-day event, delegates will address visitors’ desire for new experiences, while being conscious of the impact they have on the communities they visit.

Caribbean tourism practitioners, policymakers, travel professionals and strategic partners from the public and private sectors throughout the region and internationally participate each year in SOTIC.

SOTIC is being organised by the CTO in collaboration with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. The conference will be preceded by business meetings on 1 – 2 Oct. 2018.

Sponsorship opportunities and details are available from CTO USA 212-635-9530 or via http://sotic.onecaribbean.org/sponsor.

For further details on the conference, including how to register, please visit http://sotic.onecaribbean.org/.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, SOTIC

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Barbados Tourism Growth Continues, Up 3% In First Six Months Of 2018

New airlift, new experiences and refreshed product are already translating to increased tourism business for Barbados. Newly released figures show that Barbados is continuing its path of positive growth in 2018, attracting 357,668 stayover visitors for the period January to June. When compared to the corresponding period in 2017, there were 10,819 additional visitors to the island; an increase of 3.1 percent.

According to in-house statistics from the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), the island enjoyed an influx of arrivals, and of the five top-producing source markets, the United Kingdom is out front once again with over 119,241 arrivals, up 2.8 percent from 2017. The UK maintains a 33.3 percent market share. Following closely behind is the United States, which recorded the fastest growth of 8.8 percent from 107,328 visitors during the January to June 2018 period. Over in Canada, 53,236 arrivals were recorded, seeing this market grow by 2.9 percent when compared to 2017.

The island also saw 14,863 arrivals coming out of Trinidad and Tobago, and there was a further increase of 3.1 percent growth from the other Caribbean territories, while Europe retained 4.3 percent market share with 18,988 visitors.

CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), William ‘Billy’ Griffith congratulated the tourism players who contributed to the destination’s growth. He added that “there’s pressure to keep improving and to remain competitive as we continue to grow our brand. We must be strategic in our efforts, and now, more than ever, we must focus on our key relationships. Which is why over the next six months, you will see us working even more closely with our partners to ensure these trends continue through the upcoming winter period and beyond.”

Increases in air capacity

Last December, the BTMI joined with the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) to welcome Virgin Atlantic’s new London Heathrow twice-weekly service to Barbados, which will recommence in the coming winter 2018/19 season. Newcomer Thomas Cook will also recommence its direct weekly service from London Gatwick this winter 2018/19, which ran successfully through winter 2017/2018.

All eyes are on Latin America as Barbados’ newest partnership with Copa Airlines has introduced a twice weekly Barbados–Panama service. The inaugural flight landed in Barbados to much fanfare on July 17 and this new service is expected to open a gateway to wider South America and other Caribbean territories.

The United States will get a further boost this winter with two additions from American Airlines. The airline recently announced that it will be adding a third daily flight from Miami commencing December 19, 2018. On that same day, it will also launch a non-stop, daily service from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to Barbados. Over in Canada, WestJet is currently increasing its seats by 8 percent between May and October 2018, and this winter, Air Canada will increase its capacity from Montreal with three weekly flights.

Exciting new attractions and accommodations

In addition to the increased airlift, Griffith also acknowledged the role that the island’s new attractions have played in boosting 2018 arrival numbers. “We are cognisant of the continuous need for refreshing and invigorating our product offerings while preserving the elements of the Barbados experience that keep our repeat guest rate so high. New attractions like Rihanna Drive and Nikki Beach, or even Hugo’s restaurant, go a long way in showing that Barbados is committed to maintaining its position as a superior holiday destination.”

He also spoke about the addition of the new Sandals Royal resort, and extensively refurbished accommodation properties such as Sea Breeze Beach House in Maxwell, Christ Church.

Looking ahead to the next six months, Griffith said he is looking forward to experiencing the new Heritage Railway by St. Nicholas Abbey, which features a 45-minute train ride along the East Coast in a restored locomotive.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Divi Little Bay Beach Resort Hosting the Patriots Cheerleaders July 23-30

NEW YORK, NY (July 23, 2018) – Divi Little Bay Beach Resort and The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau are thrilled to welcome the famed Patriots Cheerleaders to the island from July 23-30 as they shoot their ever-popular annual swimsuit calendar and various video productions. While on the island, the ladies will be exploring St. Maarten’s landmarks, culture and history through a variety of planned activities.

“We’re honored that the Patriots Cheerleaders chose to highlight St. Maarten and Divi Little Bay by shooting their upcoming calendar on the island,” said Marco Galaverna, Divi Resorts President & COO. “It’s been a long road to recovery since last year’s storms, but we’re excited to show these ladies how quickly we’ve rebuilt and demonstrate why St. Maarten is known as the friendly island.”

Representing the 5X Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, the Patriots Cheerleaders entertain thousands of fans from the sidelines of Gillette Stadium, participate in goodwill missions and appearances and have entertained at high-profile events such as Super Bowls, Pro Bowls, and international games.

When they’re not striking a pose for the camera on St. Maarten, the cheerleaders will be interacting with guests, locals, media and dignitaries with plenty of meet & greet opportunities including autographs, photos, games, activities and parties and participating in a community outreach project.

“We’ve set up some really exciting events while the Patriots Cheerleaders are here, including an evening Sunset Sail with Aqua Mania Adventures, Karaoke Night, a downtown tour and a BBQ Beach Dinner,” said Divi Little Bay’s General Manager Anne-Marie Brooks. “We’re really looking forward to showing the cheerleaders everything that our wonderful island has to offer, and we know they are excited to meet locals while they are out and about on their tours.”

About Divi Resorts

Divi Resorts is the vacation expert of the Caribbean, with a collection of eight premium resorts spanning the five stunning Caribbean islands of Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, St. Croix, and St. Maarten. For more information on Divi Resorts, call 1-800-367-3484 or visit www.diviresorts.com.

About The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau:
St. Maarten is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations – Kingdom of the Netherlands and France – creating a destination with European charm and Caribbean flair. Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island’s 37 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions. Direct air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from major U.S. and Canadian cities. For additional information on St. Maarten, visit the official site of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau at www.vacationstmaarten.com.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO Secretary General Named One of 25 Most Influential People in Meetings Industry

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (20 July 2018) – Secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Hugh Riley has been named as on of the 25 most influential people in the meetings industry by Successful Meetings, a leading multi-platform brand for multi-tasking meeting planners.

In its annual list of impact influencers, Successful Meetings lists Mr. Riley as one of the top advocates on industry issues. An accompanying profile credits the secretary general for keeping the Caribbean at the forefront of travellers’ minds with emphasis on actions taken by CTO on behalf of member countries impacted by last year’s hurricanes.

The honour, detailed in the July issue of Succesful Meetings, “recognized 25 people who are standout contibutors to the betterment of the meetings industry” as selected by editors of Northstar Meetings Group, a leading B2B information and marketing solutions company serving all sections of the business meetings, events and incentives market, as well as industry luminaries, previous honourees and a poll of the magazine’s readership.

The magazine highlights CTO’s rapid assessment of the storms’ impact and the communications efforts which forged closer relationships between member countries, media partners and private sector organizations. It focuses on the secretary general’s role in communicating the region’s message, noting: “CTO used the spotlight from the hurricane coverage to educate the public on the geography and cultures of the Caribbean, and now, on the islands’ comeback.”

The publication also focused on Mr. Riley’s current work developing the “Rhythm Never Stops” marketing campaign to communicate the region’s vibrancy in key tourism markets.

“I am honoured to be recognised by Successful Meetings among the list of leaders making a difference in the meetings industry,” said Mr. Riley. “The sector is a critical component of our tourism product in the Caribbean and we are proud of the role the CTO has played in this region’s success. We also recognise that there is still significant growth potential and will continue to engage our partners and the meetings industry on behalf of our member countries,” he added.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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St Kitts Cruise Passenger Arrivals Exceed 1 Million for the First Time in the Island’s History

Basseterre, St. Kitts (July 16, 2018) – The St. Kitts Tourism Authority and Ministry of Tourism are pleased to announce that St. Kitts received its millionth cruise passenger today, reaching the key number of arrivals that gives the island marquee port status for the first time in its history.

“I am deeply gratified to welcome over one million cruise passengers to our shores as of today,” said the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce.  “It is particularly significant that this historic occasion is taking place now, as we have over two months left in the 2017-2018 cruise season to increase arrivals even further.  Reaching this milestone at this point in time is truly a testament to the strength of our relationships with the cruise lines and to the continuing appeal of our tourism product.”

CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority Ms. Racquel Brown added, “In the highly competitive Caribbean cruise marketplace, exceeding the million passenger mark for the first time is a highly significant achievement that is a direct result of our successful marketing strategy. Having reached this benchmark, St. Kitts is now considered by the cruise lines to be in the same elite port status category as much larger destinations in the region. Cruise passengers clearly enjoy our diverse range of activities and friendly, welcoming people, and we are working hard to ensure that we keep the ships and their guests returning to our shores.”

St. Kitts reached the one million cruise passenger mark this morning with the arrival of guests from Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas. The ship, which has a capacity of 3,782 guests at double occupancy, docked at the island’s Port Zante cruise pier at 8:00am. Tourism Minister Lindsay Grant led the welcome delegation and selected the millionth passenger upon disembarkation, who was treated to a complimentary ½ island tour. The historic occasion was further commemorated with special t-shirts given to arriving passengers and everyone being treated to an experience of the island’s culture with live performances by a steel pan band, masquerades and more in a grand celebration befitting the importance of the milestone.

“We are very pleased to be the cruise line that brought the millionth passenger to St. Kitts,” said Federico Gonzalez, Associate Vice President, Government Relations Latin America & Caribbean, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “The island is a long-time, valued industry partner that offers our guests the opportunity to expore lush natural beauty, rich heritage, a wide range of attractions.  In addition, our parternship with the tourism team and their ongoing work to continually improve the infrastructure, services and amenities in St. Kitts showcases why it is one  of ourdestinations of choice for our Caribbean itineraries.”

So far this season, the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. cruise lines, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, have made a total of 102 port calls to St. Kitts, bringing over 350,000 cruise visitors to island. Including calls from all international cruise lines over the nine-month period from October 2017-June 2018, the total number of cruise ship calls into St. Kitts grew from 358 to 486 as compared to the same period from 2016-2017, an increase of over 35 percent.

About St. Kitts

Intoxicating natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters, and sandy beaches combine to make St. Kitts one of the most seductive spots in the Caribbean.  Located in the northern Leeward Islands, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on the beach.  For more information about St. Kitts, visit www.stkittstourism.kn.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Nominations Sought for International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame Local Honourees Cayman Islands

The Ministry and Department of Tourism announces the call for nominations for Honourees in the 2018 International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF).

Honourees are categorised as persons who have made a significant contribution to scuba and watersports in the Cayman Islands.  New this year, an additional category titled the Emerging Honourees will be added to recognize persons in the industry under the age of 35.

“As a destination built on the foundations of our maritime heritage, we are exceedingly proud each year to recognise those in our community who have played a role in the Cayman Islands being recognised as one of the best dive locations in the world,” shared Hon. Minister of Tourism, Moses Kirkconnell.  “I encourage everyone in the community to put forward nominations for persons who have helped develop this unique building block of our tourism industry.”

Founded in 2000 by the Cayman Islands Ministry of Tourism, the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame recognises international and local pioneers who have made outstanding contributions to the recreational scuba diving industry at the annual ceremony held in Grand Cayman.

“It is important to find those people who through visionary leadership helped create Cayman as a scuba diving hub. There are still many people in the Cayman Islands that have not received the recognition they are due. Being inducted as an honouree has rejuvenated my passion to teach young Caymanians the importance this industry has on the community,” said current honouree, Mr Stephen Broadbelt.

To be considered for the nominations, individuals should have made a significant contribution to the area of dive in the Cayman Islands through development, promotion, positive environmental impact or education, to name a few. To nominate an individual please visit the website www.nominatedive.com. The deadline for submissions is noon on Wednesday, 8 August 2018.

For more information on the nominations process, please visit the website www.nominatedive.com or email [email protected].  The ISDHF gala awards dinner takes place on Friday, 14 September 2018.

The list of current honourees:

Kent Eldermire , Jason Washington, Nancy Easterbrook, Gladys Howard, Dr. James Poulson, Captain Frank Ebanks, Rodney McDowall, Winston McDermot, Carlos (Norbert) Scott, Captain Gleason Ebanks, Captain Marvin Ebanks, James Ebanks, Darby Bodden, Captain Crosby Ebanks, Patrick Evans, Captain Chuckie Ebanks, Stuart Freeman, Ollen Miller, Kem Jackson, James Dailey, Cornell Burke, Neville Darvin Ebanks, Peter Milburn, Tom Hubble, Ashton Levy Ebanks, Burns Rutty, Don Foster, CJ Ebanks, Robert (Peter) Bradshaw, Sam McCoy, Ron Kipp, Arthle Evans, Adrian Briggs, Capt. Clinton Ebanks, Wallace Rivers, Stephen Broadbelt, Gerald Wilcocks, Anthony Scott

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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