CTO News

Dominica Continues Recovery Six Months after Hurricane Maria Hits Island

Roseau, Dominica – (March 20, 2018), March 18, 2018 marks six months since a powerful Category 5  hurricane slammed the island nation of  Dominica.  Six months following Hurricane M aria, Dominica has made major progress in restoring routes to and from the island, essential services and amenities, and transportation throughout the island.

“Nothing is better for our recovery from Hurricane Maria than visitors to our island,” says Colin Piper, CEO of the Discover Dominica Authority. “We have made significant progress in getting the island ready for guests. Whether it’s for a relaxing getaway, special event or meaningful travel, visitors will see the same vibrant spirit of our people and beautiful scenery and features that make Dominica the Nature Island of the Caribbean.”

Access

Dominica has full connectivity to international and regional markets with regular flights offered by regional carriers including LIAT, Seaborne Airlines, WINAIR, Air Sunshine, Coastal Express Carrier and, most recently, InterCaribbean Airways. As of March 22, 2018, InterCaribbean Airways will operate nonstop scheduled services between Dominica, St. Lucia and Tortola. Chartered flights are also available via Sky High Aviation Services, and Trans Island Air.

The Douglas Charles Airport, located at Melville Hall, and the Canefield Airport have welcomed passengers since October, 2017.  Connections are available to Barbados, Antigua, San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Tortola, St. Thomas, Anguilla, St. Lucia, St. Croix and St. Thomas.

Air access has been expanded with night landing available at Douglas Charles Airport until 8 p.m. for public flights and until 10 p.m. by special arrangement.

L’Express des Iles fast ferry service was operational within a few weeks after Hurricane Maria and provides service between Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia. L’Express des Iles has partnered with Air Caraïbes to offer simultaneous airline and ferry bookings with connections to L’Express des Iles destinations.  Booking can be made on www.aircaraibes.com through the NavigAir programme.

Accommodations

A total of 393 hotel/guest house rooms are available.  This represents 41 percent of the total stock of 962 rooms available before Hurricane Maria.  Fort Young Hotel will open additional rooms and Secret Bay, Calibishie Cove and Citrus Creek Planation are expected to reopen in the last quarter of 2018.   Two additional properties, Jungle Bay Resort and Cabrits Resort Kempinski, are expected to open during the first half of 2019, and Anichi Resort late in 2019.  The opening of these three hotels will increase Dominica’s room stock by 340.

Sites and Attractions

The majority of sites and attractions, 19 of the 23 on the island, have been officially declared open to visitors.  These include the signature sites of Trafalgar Falls, Middleham Falls, Emerald Pool, Fresh Water Lake and the Indian River. Visitors can enjoy magnificent easy to moderate hikes across the island including, Syndicate Nature Trail, Cabrits/Fort Shirley and others. Diving tours are currently available with six dive operators offering dive tours at all of the key dive sites on the north, south and west coasts of the island. Divers can explore a world of incredible underwater vistas and discover why Dominica is ranked amongst the world’s top ten dive sites.

Voluntourism Packages

Dominica encourages visitors to get involved in meaningful tourism by considering a Voluntourism package. These unique packages are offered to assist Dominica with the cleanup of sites such as the Indian River, dive sites and the Waitukubuli National Trail.  Packages are being offered by the Tamarind Tree Hotel, Fort Young Hotel, Secret Bay, Cobra Tours, Cool Breeze Tours and Cabrits Dive.

Cruise Travel 

Before Hurricane Maria, Dominica was on course to receive 219 cruise calls during the 2017-2018 cruise season. This number has since been reduced to 34 calls and the country welcomed the first cruise vessel following the hurricane on December 28, 2017.  The Sea Cloud II anchored off Portsmouth and one month later, the MV Mein Schiff 3 of TUI cruises docked at the Roseau cruise ship berth.  Since then, the island has received an additional 16 cruise calls. Carnival Cruises is expected to make a total of five visits, commencing with three in July, 2018.

The people of Dominica continue to show their resilience and steadfastness in building a better Dominica. In mid-February, the country celebrated Carnival and plans are in motion for the 9th Annual Jazz ‘n Creole on May 20, 2018 at Fort Shirley in the Cabrits National Park, along with fringe events in Portsmouth on the weekend of the Jazz ‘n Creole main stage.

Plans are being made for World Creole Music Festival from October 26 -28, 2018 followed by the island’s 40th Anniversary of Independence celebration on November 3, 2018.

For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 767 448 2045. Or, visit Dominica’s official website:www.DiscoverDominica.com, see Dominica’s updates on the tourism sector post Hurricane Maria: www.dominicaupdate.com, follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Destination News

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CTO Looks To Double The Number of Hospitality Assured Caribbean Businesses With Support From CDB

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (21 March, 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is looking to double the number of businesses recognised as Hospitality Assured (HA), the certification programme that promotes business and service excellence.

At present, 33 of the 80 tourism and hospitality businesses involved in the programme have been certified as Hospitality Assured, according to Sharon Banfield-Bovell, the regional human resource development consultant with the CTO, who along with Janice Smith-Kipps, an experienced HA assessor and trainer of HA assessors, recently conducted a regional HA programme assessor training workshop at the Ocean Terrace Inn in St. Kitts and Nevis.

“The aim is to raise the number of certified business this year by 30,” Ms. Banfield-Bovell said.

The assessor training workshop, the third of its kind, is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which has approved over USD$223,000 in support of the HA (Caribbean) certification programme, and which, through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network, has been  promoting the HA programme as a key means to support the development of tourism quality, business excellence and customer service delivery in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), especially owner-managed businesses in the tourism sector.

“The CDB’s injection of funding support will allow for 30 micro, small or medium tourism enterprises in specific CDB borrowing member countries – Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and The Grenadines – to participate in the HA certification programme and to achieve one of our strategic goals of strengthening the business performance and overall competitiveness of the tourism sector in the Caribbean,” Ms. Banfield-Bovell stressed.

The project will come to end in June this year and the CTO is encouraging tourism businesses to get onboard and fill the remaining 18 available spaces and seek to put in place an effective service quality management system, with the support of the programme’s key personnel, the business advisors and assessors.

At the opening of the St. Kitts workshop, Michel Thomas, the CBD’s operations officer, noted: “CDB fully supports the programme, as the Bank recognises the importance of enhancing the competitiveness of MSMEs in the tourism sector, which plays an integral role in the social and economic development of a number of CDB Borrowing Member Countries”.

Twenty-one participants from 13 CTO member countries – Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Turks and Caicos Islands – participated in the five-day workshop, which was aimed at providing the necessary training to equip participants with the knowledge and performance requirements of HA assessors.

The assessors’ role includes evaluation of businesses, while maintaining commercial confidentiality; ensuring that assessments are undertaken in accordance with certification requirements; providing clear information to businesses in respect of areas for improvement; and clearly identifying best practice, which would benefit these businesses.

Permanent Secretary in the St. Kits Ministry of Tourism Carlene Henry-Morton reminded workshop participants that the initiative “is a service and business excellence programme designed to promote a culture of quality, service excellence and continuous improvement through the use of a business improvement tool and framework that is internationally recognised.”

“Some of the real benefits of this designation are service excellence, customer loyalty and referrals, continuous improvement and international branding,” she said.

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: 2018 News, Corporate News, Hospitality Assured

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Tourism Congress to address theme of Building Resilience in the Tourism sector

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (March 12, 2018) – When the XXIV Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism opens on Wednesday, March 21 at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, one of the key areas for presentations and discussions will be the matter of building resilience in the Tourism sector in the Americas. In the latter months of 2017 the hemisphere of the Americas received a painful reminder of the relevance and significance of this theme after several countries felt the devastating impacts of hurricanes, floods, fires and earthquakes. In fact 2017 is regarded as a record-setting year for natural disasters in terms of the number, severity and financial costs of the disasters that occurred.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria that lashed the region last year prompted both emergency and strategic responses as property was destroyed almost overnight and economic livelihoods compromised. While in no way minimising the need for resilience due to storms and natural disasters, the Congress is taking a wider view of the concept of resilience, preferring to see it as a concept that embraces a more comprehensive range of strategies and measures that governments need to adopt in order to ensure the survivability of the sector come what may.      

A number of Tourism heavyweights from the Americas will be addressing this theme at the Congress. Secretary General and CEO of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Mr. Hugh Riley will be giving a CTO perspective on the theme, while Minister of Tourism of Jamaica, Hon. Edmund Bartlett will look at global efforts to promote resilience. Those addresses will be followed by a Presentation by Ms. Kim Osborne, the Executive Secretary for Integral Development at the Organisation of American States (OAS). Finally the Vice-Minister of Tourism of Colombia, Ms. Sandra Howard will discuss Tourism resilience by looking at the impact of the peace process on tourism in Colombia. Those presentations will then be followed by a Ministerial Dialogue.

About the Conference:

The XXIVth Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism under the theme “Connecting the Americas through Sustainable Tourism” will be held on March 21-22, 2018 in Georgetown, Guyana. The Congress is jointly coordinated by the Organization of American States and the Department of Tourism, Ministry of Business.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Donald Sinclair

National Coordinator of XXIV Congress

Director General of Tourism, Department of Tourism

Ministry of Business

229 South Road, Lacytown

Georgetown, Guyana

T: (+592) 225 4237

E: [email protected]

 

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Barbados #1 in the World for Visitor Satisfaction

Berlin, GERMANY – Barbados tourism is once again in winner’s row, this time beating out destinations such as second-place Seychelles and third-place Bermuda, to land the number one spot on the 2017 Destination Satisfaction Index (DSI).

Throughout the year, over 70,000 travellers were interviewed around the world, giving their feedback on 20 categories including Beaches, Accommodation, Cuisine and Shopping. In the end, Barbados had the highest overall World score, 8.8/10, of the 144 countries included. The destination also ranked highest in the Accommodation category, and highest in the Americas region ahead of Bermuda and the Bahamas.

The awards were presented to the Barbados delegation, led by Donna Cadogan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, during a ceremony at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show held in Germany’s capital city.

When asked what the award means for Barbados, William ‘Billy’ Griffith, CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), shared plans to leverage the accolade in the destination’s marketing communications over the next year. “For us it’s going to be very advantageous because with our marketing and our public relations, we’re going to be saying we’re best in the world, at least for the next 12 months. And I think it helps us in our quest to move forward in terms of pressing for success for Barbados tourism.”

L-R: Dennis Pyka, Managing Director of dp2research; Alvin Jemmott, Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.; Donna Cadogan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport; William ‘Billy’ Griffith, CEO of the BTMI; and Marc Leimann, Managing Director of Norstat Germany

Travellers most satisfied with Barbados

The DSI, developed and executed by two European research companies – Norstat and dp2research, is a metric that measures the overall valuation of a holiday destination based on the factors travellers find most attractive. The online survey was administered in 24 source markets, and the 70,000 interviews resulted in 1.4 million responses direct from travellers which informed the scores in each category.

Marc Leimann, Managing Director of Norstat Germany, said he is excited about how the study went. “The feedback was that people, especially when it comes to Barbados, were extremely happy with the trip provided. Barbados basically really challenged and won against the world in total.”

Stressing the value of visitor feedback, Griffith added that “the important thing is that… it was the customer’s opinion and that’s really what drives the energy in terms of what we do, and that’s why we think it’s such a validation and an endorsement of what we’re trying to achieve.”

Best accommodations in the world

Apart from the overall World award, Barbados also topped the Accommodation category, scoring 8.8/10 ahead of Bermuda which placed second, and the Maldives which placed third.

Cadogan lauded the sector’s international acclaim and spoke on the strategic steps which resulted in Barbados’ recognition. “Over the last year, 2017, we would have had about 43 different establishments which refurbished, therefore our product is being refreshed. We are making a concerted effort and working on our accommodation and it is bearing results as you have seen from the Accommodation award that we have received here today.”

Some of the hotels that underwent extensive renovations and refurbishments included Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Sea Breeze Beach Hotel and Elegant Hotels’ Treasure Beach and The House. New properties like Sandals Royal also opened their doors, and the international chain has already announced plans for a third property on the island, its famous Beaches, with construction beginning September 2018.

Griffith also congratulated the accommodation sector and commended their contribution to the destination’s high overall score. He added that the DSI Accommodation award further supports Barbados’ outstanding performance in the highly-recognized TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards. “We recently captured 13 Travelers’ Choice Awards for the Caribbean region. We placed across a diverse range of categories – Luxury, All-Inclusive, Best Service, Bargain and Romance. And what we’re really seeing here are different travellers from different countries all over the world giving their feedback on different platforms, and they’re all saying the same thing – that accommodations in Barbados are among the best in the world. That’s the main message here, that’s the main takeaway.”

Photo caption below:

L-R: Dennis Pyka, Managing Director of dp2research; Alvin Jemmott, Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.; Donna Cadogan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport; William ‘Billy’ Griffith, CEO of the BTMI; and Marc Leimann, Managing Director of Norstat Germany.

About Barbados

The island of Barbados offers the most authentic Caribbean experience with its exceptionally rich culture and history rooted in remarkable landscapes.  Rated as one of the world’s sexiest beaches in 2008 by Concierge.com; Barbados’ Crane Beach in St. Philip stands as a premier destination for travelers.  Barbados is also the first Zagat-rated Caribbean island and is known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. Barbados has hosted several world class events including: The annual Barbados Food & Rum Festival; the 2006 PGA World Golf Championships-Barbados World Cup, the ICC Cricket World Cup Finals in 2007, the Sentebale Charity Polo match with Prince Harry of Wales in 2010, and the ICC Twenty20 Cricket Finals for 2010, and the Rihanna LOUD concert in 2011. Accommodations range from picturesque plantation houses and villas, to quaint bed and breakfasts and award-winning, five-star resorts. Grantley Adams International Airport offers even more non-stop and direct service from a growing number of U.S. cities, making Barbados the true gateway to the Eastern Caribbean.  Barbados was voted eighth in the World by Trip Advisor’s “2008 Travelers’ Choice Destination Awards” in its Top 100 Destinations category. For more information on travel to Barbados, visit www.visitbarbados.org, follow on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/VisitBarbados, via Twitter @Barbados.

 

 

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Travel to Martinique Scores a Record Year for 2017

New York, March 6, 2018—In the course of a press conference held in at the Habitation Apolline in Martinique on Monday, February 19, 2018, Karine Mousseau, the Martinique Tourism Commissioner announced that a record 1,041,139 travelers visited the Isle of Flowers in 2017.

Over 511,000 of these visitors were cruise passengers enjoying an excursion during one of the 256 cruise ship port calls and stay over visitors numbered a little over 534,000.

In her presentation, Mrs. Mousseau highlighted the percentages in terms of geographic origin of these visitors:

France: 66.3% — other European countries: 8.8% — North America: 6.8 % (only 2.4% in 2014) — Other (Guadeloupe, other Caribbean Islands, Guyana): 18.1%. It is to be noted that the average spend per visitor per day is 68 Euros ($84 at today’s rate), with American visitors spending 20% more, averaging $110 per day.

Mrs. Mousseau attributed the steady increase of visitors from North America and most notably from the United States to the much improved access, a result of her and her team’s combined efforts to attract and convince airlines to provide non-stop service from the United States to Martinique. For the third consecutive year Norwegian Air has provided non-stop service from NY/JFK to Fort-de-France—the number of flights increased to four weekly in 2017 and the added flights from new gateways like Boston-Providence and Fort-Lauderdale. American Airlines has increased its year-round service from Miami to six flights weekly during the season and Air France recently inaugurated for the 2017/2018 season direct service from Atlanta to Fort-de-France.

To increase the number of visitors to their island, the Martinique Tourism Authority offices throughout Europe and the Americas—including the United States, conducted over 250 actions, ranging from events to press trips, travel agent fams to marketing campaigns.

The Martinique Promotion Bureau, US division of the Martinique Tourism Authority in the United States used their world-class annual events to attract American guests, such as the November Raid des Alizés, an international women’s adventure race for charity, the December La Fête du Rhum at the Saint-James Distillery, the great Martinique Carnival and upcoming in March the world-class surf competition, Martinique Surf Pro.

“Every year we add to the tourism offer of our beautiful island,” said Karine Mousseau and we are very proud to announce for 2018 a new and exciting boating event, he International Martinique Flying Regatta. The general concept is that of an annual event, bringing together the most striking series of foiling or hydrofoil sailboats in the magnificent bay of Fort-de-France.” Mrs. Mousseau went on to say, “With its natural beauty, easy access, new and top notch events, Martinique is truly magnifique.”

 

About Martinique (us.martinique.orgmartiniquepresskit.com)

The French Caribbean Island of Martinique is also known as the Isle of Flowers, The Rum Capital of the World, the Birthplace of coffee in the New World, The Isle of the Famed Poet (Aimé Césaire) – Martinique ranks among the most alluring and enchanting destinations in the world. As an overseas region of France, Martinique boasts modern and reliable infrastructure – roads, water and power utilities, hospitals, and telecommunications, services all on par with any other part of the European Union. At the same time, Martinique’s beautifully unspoiled beaches, volcanic peaks, rainforests, 80+ miles of hiking trails, waterfalls, streams, and other natural wonders are unparalleled in the Caribbean, so visitors here truly get the best of both worlds. The currency is the Euro, the flag and the official language are French, but Martinique’s character, cuisine, musical heritage, art, culture, common language, and identity are of a distinctly Afro-Caribbean inclination known as Creole. It is this special combination of modern world conveniences, pristine nature, and rich heritage that has earned for Martinique several notable distinctions in recent years. In 2018, Martinique is highlighted in the Caribbean segment of the New York Time’s “52 Places to go in 2018.” and prominently featured in a January 2018 article in Travel + Leisure. In a 2017 review of noteworthy French Islands throughout the world ThePointsGuy.com selected Martinique as number one. Other distinctions include being named as a “Must-Visit” destination by Caribbean Journal, “Best Caribbean Destination” by About.com, and “Top Caribbean Island for Delectable Dining” by Caribbean Travel + Life.

PRESS CONTACTS

Géraldine Rome
Mi Mi Chloe Park

Martinique Promotion Bureau
Atout France USA
T: 212-838-6887
T: 212-745-0967
E: [email protected]
E: [email protected]

 

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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New Categories Added For Caribbean Travel Media Awards

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 5 March, 2018 –   Two new categories have been added to this year’s Caribbean Travel Media Awards to be presented by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) during Caribbean Week New York.

Both awards are for social media and are among changes for this year’s Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards programme.

This year the CTO introduces the Up the Social Ladder award for best social media campaign by a member country and the Look, I’m Going Social award for most outstanding social media coverage of an event or activity in, or about, a CTO member country by a journalist or influencer.

In addition, for the first time ever the awards will be presented at a dinner, after being a luncheon event from its inception.

“Social media has become an important tool in the coverage of tourism, and both our members and the media are increasingly using the various platforms to tell compelling Caribbean stories. Therefore, we believe now is the time to introduce these awards to make the categories of awards more reflective of the ways the public consumes information,” said Sylma Brown, the head of the CTO New York office, which organises Caribbean Week New York.

“The decision to make it an evening event came after feedback from our members, who felt this was one way of giving the awards programme the stature it deserves,” Ms. Brown added.

During the Caribbean Travel Industry Awards Dinner, the CTO will also present its Lifetime Achievement Award, the allied members’ Jerry, Allied and Special Recognition Awards will be presented, and Jamaica will hand out its Marcia Vickery and Marcella Martinez awards. Tickets are US$250 per person or US$2250 for a table of ten.

The following are the categories for this year’s Travel Media Awards to be presented to journalists from US and Caribbean-based media:

I Couldn’t Have Written It Better Myself

  • Best Feature Article in a US-based Consumer Newspaper

Been There, Wrote That

  • Best Feature Article in a US-based Consumer Magazine

Inner Circle King/Queen

  • Best Feature Article in a US-based Trade Publication

Oh Snap!

  • Best Photograph in Conjunction with a Feature Article

Golden Mic

  • Best Feature Broadcast

 Virtual Visitor Award

  • Best Feature in an Online publication not including blogs

Up the Social Ladder

  • Best Social Media Marketing Campaign by a CTO Member Country

Look, I’ve Gone Social

  • Most Outstanding Social Media coverage  of an event or Activity by a journalist or influencer

Me Too! I Rediscovered Home! 

  • Best Feature by a Diasporan Journalist in US or Caribbean Media

No Anansi Story!

  • Best Feature by a Caribbean-based  Journalist that appeared in Caribbean-based media

Oh My Word, I Blogged!

  • Best Caribbean Travel Blog Posting

The deadline for receiving entries is Friday 6 April at 11:59 Pacific Standard Time.

The blog award is given to the person voted as having written the best travel blog posting about the Caribbean or any CTO member country. The winner is decided by public vote.

Bloggers are asked to enter via the following link: https://ctobesttravelblog2018.pgtb.me/z5k1wp. Voting begins on Monday 9 April at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and ends on Friday 18 May at 11:59 p.m. PST.

All other entries must be submitted in the following formats via https://caribmediaawards.pgtb.me/dDmC8s.

Caribbean Week New York, which takes the sights, sounds, tastes, colours and attributes of the Caribbean to the vibrant American city, takes place from 2-8 June, 2018.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Week, Media Awards

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