CTO News

Social Enterprise Award Added to the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Awards Programme

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (27 March 2019) – Caribbean enterprises that act as social change agents through tourism innovation will be recognised by the region’s tourism development agency.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is this year introducing the Tourism Social Enterprise award to its sustainable tourism awards programme to demonstrate in a tangible way its support for businesses or individuals that use creative ways to show how tourism can support societal development.

“Social entrepreneurship is exemplified when an enterprise’s core business activity has positive spin-off benefits to solve or bridge community-based problems. This business development approach is highly progressive and one which the CTO seeks to promote, as it focuses on creating positive changes in society through innovation,” says Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism development specialist.

“The award will recognise and validate the efforts and contribution of business ventures that are making a dedicated and tangible commitment to community development as an expression of their corporate social responsibility policy. It seeks to identify entities that are not just in the business of tourism, but rather those that have gone further to leverage tourism as a strategic means of addressing distinctive challenges faced by people in society,” Charles adds.

This Social Enterprise award is being introduced in collaboration with the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility – a partnership between the Caribbean Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Government of Canada and the UK Department for International Development – which supports innovative and practical solutions that stimulate economic growth and increase productivity in micro small and medium enterprises.

The new award is open to public and private sector entities, tourism enterprises, communities or individuals that seek to address specific social ills and unmet needs while generating widespread benefits from tourism business activities via tourism business activities. It is one of eight categories of awards to be presented at the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Conference scheduled to be held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in August.

 Applicants may also submit entries the following categories:

  • Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award
  • Destination Stewardship Award
  • Sustainable Accommodation Award
  • Community Benefit Award
  • Culture and Heritage Protection Award
  • Nature Conservation Award
  • Agro-Tourism Award

The closing date for receipt of applications is 16 June, 2019. For more information, including entry guidelines click on the following link: https://ctostawards2019.pgtb.me/rTV0cJ.

CTO’s sustainable tourism awards programme has been in existence for 15 years and recognises unique and innovative tourism products that embrace sustainable tourism concepts and core values, and help to enhance tourism product offerings. A panel of experts selected by the CTO, representing various sectors of the tourism industry at the national, regional and international levels, will judge the awards.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Nevis Rolls Out the Red Carpet

Charlestown, Nevis, March 22, 2019: One of the gems of the Caribbean rolled out the red carpet yesterday for the arrival of Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, who set foot on Nevisian soil as part of their historic Caribbean Tour.

“We are delighted that the Prince of Wales and the Dutchess of Cornwall visited our beautiful island of Nevis. Hundreds turned out to welcome the Royals who received a truly warm welcome from the people of Nevis” said Honorable Nevis Premier Mark Brantley. “We are especially pleased that Prince Charles has returned to Nevis since his last visit was some 45 years ago. Nevis continues to have a love affair with the Royals who have at various times visited our shores. We wish the Royal couple continued success on their Caribbean trip.”

On their arrival at the Charlestown Port, the Royal couple was greeted by a welcome party, comprising of Deputy Governor General Her Honour Hyleeta Liburd, Premier of Nevis Hon. Mark Brantley, Deputy Premier Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Hon. Spencer Brand, Hon. Eric Evelyn, Hon. Troy Liburd and Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, as well as scores of students and members of the general public.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were escorted to Government House at Bath Plains, where a reception had been planned that included cultural presentations by the masquerades of the Nevis Cultural Development Foundation, the Bath Village Community Tourism Group, and the Charlestown Primary School Pan Jammers.

While His Royal Highness Prince Charles departed the island, to return to St. Kitts to participate in engagements planned there, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Deputy Governor General visited The Hermitage Inn owned by the Lupinacci family. Before it was transformed into a plantation inn, The Hermitage was a Great House built sometime between 1670 and 1740.  Today, it is a plantation inn that offers traditional Nevisian hospitality and lifestyle for up to 35 guests, who stay in reconstructed gingerbread cottages “uniquely-named for the stories they tell.” A “must see” on Nevis, The Hermitage boasts of original cuisine, a collection of antiques, old-fashioned gardens, horses, carriages and local arts and crafts.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Antigua and Barbuda Launch New Global Summer Campaign #WhatCoolLooksLike

St. John’s, Antigua (March 21, 2019) – The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority has unveiled its new global summer campaign, #WhatCoolLooksLike, which is expected to convey the trendiness of the destination and its appeal as the ideal summer vacation spot for visitors looking for enjoyable experiences. The campaign draws on what makes the country special and seeks to depict in a creative and engaging way the “coolness” of the destination.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism & Investment, The Honourable Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez has high praises for the creative team, adding that the new campaign is timely and reinforces the messages the islands have been promoting in recent years. “Antigua and Barbuda’s weather during the summer is so much cooler than in other regions, our beaches are serene, and while there are numerous events to enjoy, the pace remains unrushed. The #WhatCoolLooksLike summer campaign brings to life what we have been saying for years, and we thank the team for helping us convey this message in a vivid and imaginative way to potential visitors across the globe. The campaign is being executed in all our major source markets with consumers being enticed to visit Antigua and Barbuda to take advantage of the cool summer savings on offer, as well as the destination’s cool climate,” notes Fernandez.

The multi-faceted summer campaign includes a combination of traditional and digital media and will utilize a variety of tactical trade and consumer activations to ensure the success of the initiative.

The #WhatCoolLooksLike Summer Campaign offers consumers major savings on their vacation to Antigua and Barbuda for travel during the periods April – October, 2019.  The savings will be available at participating tour operators, airlines and hotels.

A key element of the campaign is the #WhatCoolLooksLlike Ambassador Program, which comprises a carefully curated selection of local influencers who the Authority believes encompass what “cool” looks like. These Ambassadors have been commissioned to utilize their social media presence and their country, Antigua and Barbuda as their backdrop during the six-month run of the campaign, to share the wealth of awe-inspiring experiences provided in the twin-island state.

Another initiative is the Global Sweepstakes launched today which runs through May 21. Entrants will be asked to opt-in by location in order to upload a video or photo that depicts what cool looks like. At the end of the two-month contest, two random winners will be chosen: One from our overseas source markets will win a complimentary 4-day/3-night stay at the Verandah Resort and Spa in Antigua; while one local will win a 2-night, 3-day stay at the Harbour Island Residences in Jolly Harbour. The local element of this campaign was so designed to allow for local participation and engagement, creating a platform where local Antiguans and Barbudans become advocates for the destination.

The Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority will host a variety of events, including The Antigua Sailing Week, The Optimist World Championships, The Antigua and Barbuda Sportfishing Tournament, Antigua and Barbuda Restaurant Week and Antigua’s Carnival: The Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival, providing additional enticements for visitors to travel this summer.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO Scholarship Foundation Announces the Bonita Morgan Memorial Scholarship

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (26 March 2019) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) programme which supports Caribbean students pursuing studies in tourism and related subjects has announced the Bonita Morgan Memorial Scholarship in honour of its former head of human resources.

In a tribute to Morgan, who passed away in April 2018 after serving 22 years as the CTO’s director of human resources and later, the director of resource mobilization and development, the CTO Scholarship Foundation is offering up to US$5,000 to Caribbean nationals currently employed by national tourism organisations seeking to strengthen their skills in tourism education or human resources development.

“Bonita Morgan dedicated her career to the development of Caribbean people through education and professional training, and her passion guided her work within the CTO. She held the belief that the region needed to develop leaders for this critical industry and so she developed programmes to teach Caribbean students, at an early age, the importance of the industry to the economic well-being of the region, with the expectation that they would pursue a career in tourism,” said Sylma Brown, director of CTO-USA and treasurer of the CTO Scholarship Foundation. “She was a driving force behind the foundation, therefore, it is fitting that we should honour her memory and the work she did to develop a world-class tourism workforce in the region, by introducing this scholarship in her name.”

The Bonita Morgan Memorial Scholarship is one of several new scholarships introduced this year in an enhanced and expanded programme, which includes scholarships of up to $5000 in public relations and communications; tourism education or human resources development; hotel, resort, or villa development, design and/or planning; and aviation or air transport technologies.

The full list of scholarships and grants, along with criteria for qualification, can be found at https://bit.ly/2JhVfO3. Applications are currently being accepted and the deadline for submitting entries is Friday, 19 April 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. All applications must be submitted online at https://bit.ly/2VeNQUX. Applications will not be accepted via mail, email or fax. The foundation selects individuals who demonstrate high levels of achievement and leadership both within and outside the classroom and who express a strong interest in making a positive contribution to Caribbean tourism.

Individuals who wish to make a contribution to the CTO Foundation can do so via its GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/cto-scholarship-foundation.

The CTO Foundation is a 501 (C)(3) entity established in 1997 with the aim of training and developing future leaders for the Caribbean tourism industry by funding studies in tourism and tourism-related subjects, hospitality and language. Since its inception, the foundation has raised over US$1 million in scholarship funds and has provided over 280 grants and scholarships.

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Saint Lucian Taxi Company First of its Kind to Receive International Service Excellence Certification

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (21 March 2019) – A Saint Lucian taxi firm has become the first tourism taxi company in the Caribbean to be Hospitality Assured (HA) certified, an international certification programme for service excellence.

Holiday Taxi Limited is among a number of tourism enterprises in member countries of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) that recently completely the rigorous qualifying process towards certification.

The taxi company reported that the certification process significantly improved the knowledge and skills of its employees, who are now much better placed to strengthen its performance and overall competitiveness through service excellence.

“I would recommend [Hospitality Assured] to anybody,” said Holiday Taxi’s Lucien Joseph.

The Castries-based ground transportation firm was one of four tourism service providers whose participation in the HA certification process was funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) through a US$265,000 grant to train key HA support personnel and to fund the participation of 30 tourism micro, small and medium enterprises in the programme. The others businesses are Sunbreeze Hotel in Belize – the first hotel on the island of Ambergris Caye to be HA certified – as well as Grand Coastal Inn and Old Fort Tours in Guyana, both of which said they are now better prepared to introduce a culture of service excellence in all aspects of their businesses.

Hospitality Assured promotes and rewards the highest standards of service excellence in the hospitality sector and is seen as the standard for service and business excellence in the industry. It provides nine key performance indicators – customer research, the customer service promise, business leadership and planning, operational planning and standards of performance, resources that are required to deliver customer service standards, training and development, service delivery, service recovery and customer satisfaction improvement – against which an organisation can continually evaluate and measure its performance with respect to service quality, while promoting an organisational climate of continuous improvement.

To facilitate the certification process the CTO assigns a business advisor to each enterprise to help the companies meet the minimum requirements on the nine steps of the Hospitality Assured standard. Certification is for a two-year period and there must be continuous improvement in order for a business to be recertified.

Ninety-one companies from fourteen CTO member countries have signed on to the programme, with thirty-nine currently possessing certification. The businesses involved are mainly in the accommodation sub-sector, but there are also several sites and attractions, restaurants and coffee houses, tour and transportation companies, a retail store and a hospitality training institute.

Hospitality Assured is a service quality management certification owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the United Kingdom, managed and operated by the Hospitality Limited, U.K. and developed specifically for the tourism sector, to promote and reward the highest levels of service and business excellence. Hospitality Assured in the Caribbean is managed and promoted by the CTO. Any hospitality, leisure, tourism or service-oriented organization is eligible for Hospitality Assured certification, be they large or small, single or multi-operational.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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The Bahamas is Enjoying Historic Visitor Numbers

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – March 20, 2019 – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation has heralded the highest number of international arrivals ever, resulting in record hotel occupancy levels. The Bahamas won numerous tourism industry awards and media accolades in 2018 and 2019.  The Bahamas began 2019 strong with the launch of a new, brand campaign highlighting the beauty and authenticity of its 16 islands in partnership with Lenny Kravitz, urging travelers to Fly Away to The Bahamas. The Ministry also announced exciting plans for the development of a state of the art cruise port in Nassau.

“It is my great pride and pleasure to report that The Bahamas is experiencing its strongest tourism numbers ever on record,” said Minister D’Aguilar. “We look forward to building upon the success of our progressive plans and continuing the momentum in 2019 as we forge ahead with exciting new initiatives.”

RECORD ARRIVALS

The Ministry’s data partner, ForwardKeys that tracks and reports inbound, visitor data 365 days in advance, from key designated marketing areas reported that international arrivals to The Bahamas grew by 15% in January 2019 versus January 2018.  Several key markets registered double-digit growth.  In February, international arrivals increased by 11.1% year-over-year. The forward booking situation for the next three months (March to May) is optimistic, with forward bookings running 9.0% ahead for international arrivals. April (ahead by 15.6%) shows the most favourable outlook.

Air capacity grew by 20.0% in January year-over-year, with a solid seat growth from the best-connected international markets – the U.S.A (+23.9%) and Canada (+12.7%). The USA and Canada will continue to lead the capacity growth in the next three months. The growth trend continues, as international air capacity grew by nearly 21% year-over-year in February.

CRUISE ARRIVALS

Last year was a record-breaking year for cruise ship and stopover arrivals. By the end of 2018, foreign air and sea arrivals had totaled more than 6.6 million visitors, a drastic increase from the 6.1 million recorded in 2017.  Stopover visitors alone had increased 16.7 percent in 2018, as compared to 2017, and Freeport saw a surge of sea visitors by 49 percent.

HOTEL AND AIRLIFT SALES INCREASE

The Nassau and Paradise Island hotel industry reported a spike in average daily room rates and revenue per available room in 2018 compared to 2017. The year ended with room revenues up 34 percent, gains not seen in the past ten years.

AWARDS AND ACCOLADES

Caribbean Journal Caribbean Travel Awards – The Caribbean Journal, the largest website covering Caribbean tourism, bestowed upon the destination two key awards in its Caribbean Travel Awards 2018: Best Caribbean Destination and Best Caribbean Tourism Minister.

HSMAI – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation accepted three awards for outstanding travel marketing at the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), the largest and most prestigious global travel marketing competition. In the Public Relations category, the Ministry was honored with a Gold Adrian Award for excellence in influencer marketing and a Bronze Adrian Award for its communications campaign. In the Advertising category, the Ministry was recognized for advertising innovation for its unique and authentic 16-island content marketing strategy.

USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for the Caribbean – The Islands Of The Bahamas was recognized with 18 awards across nine categories in this year’s USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for the Caribbean. The Bahamas claimed three number one spots for Best Caribbean Beach (Gold Rock Beach in Freeport), Best Caribbean Island for Romance (Green Turtle Cay in The Abacos) and Best Caribbean Restaurant (Graycliff in Nassau).

Media Accolades – These awards round out a growing list of media accolades and consumer travel trend reports positively positioning The Bahamas in 2019 including:

Consumer Trend Reports – The Bahamas is not just a favorite of the press, but consumers are speaking for themselves.

CONTINUING THE MOMENTUM WITH FLY AWAY

The Ministry also debuted a new, multi-channel creative campaign featuring Bahamian-American rock legend Lenny Kravitz which reveals the authentic spirit of The Bahamas as a destination of adventure and discovery. Set to the lyrics of Kravitz’s hit song Fly Away, the television commercial and supporting marketing campaign capture his deep personal connection to The Bahamas, as well as the pure adrenaline rush of exploring the archipelago’s 100,000 square miles by boat and plane. Behind-the-scenes video follows Kravitz around his home base of Eleuthera, where he records music and embraces island time.

Supporting digital content at www.bahamas.com/flyaway will allow The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation to raise awareness of the destination’s many islands, which include Freeport, The Abacos, The Exumas, Andros, Bimini, The Berry Islands, Cat Island, Harbour Island and Eleuthera, Long Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Mayaguana, Inagua, Acklins, Nassau-Paradise Island and Crooked Island. The new hub draws visitors into island-specific microsites delivering inspiring vertical market video content on a variety of cultural and travel topics. The campaign underscores The Bahamas’ powerful appeal as a destination and its proximity as a quick Fly Away destination.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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