CTO News

CTO Signs MOU with AirBnB

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (7 Feb. 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, and Airbnb, whose community marketplace provides access to millions of unique accommodations, today signed a landmark agreement to develop a set of policy principles and recommendations on the sharing economy for Caribbean governments and other stakeholders.

Under the agreement, signed at the CTO’s headquarters secretary general and chief executive officer Hugh Riley and Airbnb’s Shawn Sullivan, public policy director for Central America the Caribbean, both organizations will share data and studies with policymakers about the positive impact of the sharing economy in the region; identify ways to make it more inclusive; and broaden the benefits of tourism to non-traditional actors, attract new stakeholders and focus on providing amazing and unique travel and cultural experiences to visitors.

This partnership agreement will also provide to the CTO an economic analysis of Airbnb’s positive impact on local economies. By reviewing Airbnb’s aggregate data, key stakeholders will be briefed on the value of a peer-to-peer review mechanisms, at the same time Caribbean government officials and other stakeholders learn about the long term benefits of the sharing economy and home sharing in particular.

“The CTO is establishing a basis for mutual cooperation with Airbnb. It is important for us to examine all aspects of this important segment of the sharing economy. We believe that by clearly understanding Airbnb’s massive influence in capturing consumers’ interest in unique accommodations we will be in a position to properly advise our members and to allow the Caribbean to achieve the goals of year-round profitability, visitor satisfaction and sustainable tourism development,” Mr. Riley said.

Currently, there are 41 thousand listings across the Caribbean and a typical host in the Caribbean earns approximately US$3,900 per year. Today’s agreement will also help to identify new ways to market the Caribbean as a region: One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean and grow the tourism industry.

“This is an exciting partnership for Airbnb. We look forward to working with the CTO to develop policy recommendations for regional governments and other stakeholders on the sharing economy. The Caribbean is an important and growing market for Airbnb and we expect continued growth there,” Mr. Sullivan said.

With this cooperation agreement, Airbnb will continue promoting tourism and highlighting Caribbean history and culture. The strategy focuses on the diversification of the tourism industry and the expansion of the economic opportunities for the Caribbean people

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Declares 2017 “Year of Adventure” in the Caribbean

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Jan. 10, 2017) – On the heels of last year’s successful Year of Romance, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has declared 2017 the Year of Adventure in the Caribbean. This year the region will celebrate everything from adrenaline-pumping active pursuits to local culture and casually sampling experiences unique to a specific CTO destination.

“Adventure comes in different degrees for travelers. For some, it is zip lining high above a valley or speeding around a motor racing circuit. For others, an adventure is simply exploring local communities to learn their language and customs, and teasing the senses with new cultural and culinary experiences,” said Hugh Riley, Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of CTO.

The 2017 Caribbean Year of Adventure will be promoted through social media and traditional media channels and will create opportunities for travelers and vacation planners to share their experiences and ideas of an adventure-filled Caribbean vacation throughout 2017. CTO has adopted the hashtag #CaribbeanAdventure and encourages all member countries and hotels to use the hashtag when posting images via social media networks. While each destination is unique and inviting in its own right, the common denominator of all Caribbean destination vacations is travelers yearning to enjoy a Caribbean Adventure – no matter how laid-back or thrilling the activity may be.

Through the campaign, CTO and its member countries and hotels will highlight the Caribbean as the leading choice for a vacation filled with adventure for consumers and travel planners selling the region. The theme is designed as a catalyst for sellers and promoters of group travel, family adventure and friend-cations, as well as weddings and honeymoons. Visitors too, will be invited to submit thoughts on their most memorable Caribbean adventures.

 “With a variety of destinations to discover, the Caribbean provides the ultimate vacation playground highlighted by picture-perfect landscapes and ideal weather for an abundance of land and water activities,” said Riley. “The Year of Adventure will highlight the range of activities offered throughout the Caribbean. It’s a theme which can easily be embraced by all CTO member destinations 365 days a year,” Riley noted.

Throughout 2017, the CTO, in cooperation with its private sector partner the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), will assist member countries and hotels with an assortment of ideas which can be implemented around the theme of adventure to appeal to consumers, travel agents and tour operators. Initiatives will be developed around:

 ·     “Once-in-a-Lifetime” getaways (volcano discoveries, helicopter tours, etc.)

·     “There’s a first time for everything” vacations (zip lining, scuba diving, go-kart racing, etc.)

·     Family and “Friends-cation” discovery journeys (whale watching, swimming with dolphins, world-heritage site explorations, etc.)

·     Wellness adventures (Paddle Board Yoga, Aqua Parkour, Tai Chi, etc.)

·     Dine-around delicacy vacations focusing on unique food offerings

Tours can often conveniently be arranged at a resort’s on-property tour desk. Licensed and insured on-island tour companies bring travelers beyond their resort and into the heart of the destination where guests can immerse themselves in parasailing, snorkeling and kayaking; zip line adventures; fishing charters; dolphin and whale watching; horseback riding along the beach; helicopter tours; swimming with dolphins; volcano discoveries; sailing expeditions; rain forest hikes; island exploring; tasting rich flavors and rum factory tours; celebrating Caribbean festivals, perhaps in full costume; and much more.

“We anticipate that in addition to the ideas we provide our members, the countries and hotels will develop their own plan of action for promoting adventure in their individual destinations,” said Riley adding: “The theme is inclusive of a wide range of partners, activities, age ranges and tastes. Ultimately, the aim is for our visitors to have fun with this. The Caribbean is proud of its diversity of exciting experiences and we encourage visitors to explore their own sense of adventure when they visit our shores.”

Posted in: 2017 News, Corporate News

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Canadian travel industry partners recognised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization

TORONTO, Canada, 22 November, 2016 – Two Canadian travel industry partners have been recognized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) for their contributions to the region’s development through tourism.

The CTO presented its Special Recognition Award to WestJet and Flight Centre Ltd at the Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards Luncheon in Toronto on 22 November held as part of Caribbean Media Day organised to underscore the importance of the Canadian market to the Caribbean.

WestJet’s award was “in appreciation of your unquestionable commitment to the development of the Caribbean through tourism by providing a decade of outstanding, uninterrupted service to the region” while Flight Centre Ltd was “in recognition of your significant impact on the development of the Caribbean through tourism and your outstanding contribution to the region”.

2016 marks a decade of WestJet service to the Caribbean, with the Bahamas being its first international destination.

Flight Centre Ltd is a leading retailer of travel products and services for the leisure and corporate markets. Its wholesale brand GOGO Worldwide Vacations supplies a variety of services, including packages, accommodation, tours and cruises, and is its largest global supplier of land product.

From left: Gavin Miller, Flight Centre’s VP of retail operations; Hugh Riley, CTO’s secretary general and Andrew Jones of Flight Centre’s product department. Below (from left) Lyell Farquharson, WestJet’s VP of sales and distribution; Hugh Riley and Dave Cecco, director of Westjet product

From left: Gavin Miller, Flight Centre’s VP of retail operations; Hugh Riley, CTO’s secretary general and Andrew Jones of Flight Centre’s product department. Below (from left) Lyell Farquharson, WestJet’s VP of sales and distribution; Hugh Riley and Dave Cecco, director of Westjet product

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Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Caribbean Week, Media Awards

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CTO welcomes more than 250 travel agents at trade show and seminar in the North Eastern USA

NEW YORK, NY (8 Nov, 2016) – The Caribbean remains a top seller for Travel Impressions, one of the largest leisure tour operators in the United States.

“Of our 200 destinations, 23 of the countries we sell most frequently are found in the Caribbean. The islands and resorts in the region have been integral partners throughout our 42-year history, and it’s important to celebrate and support tourism to one of the most gorgeous and popular vacation regions in the world,” said Tim Statz, Travel Impression’s business development manager.

Travel Impressions was one of 22 Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) members and partners who joined the recent Caribbean Goes Road Shows & Seminars to the east coast of the United States, with stops in New Haven, CT, Collingswood, NJ and Boston, Massachusetts.

More than 250 top-producing travel agents were brought up to date on “Caribbean Romance and More” through presentations, tradeshows, seminars and networking meetings.

“There is a renewed level of interest in the Caribbean among travel professionals, and as a region we should embrace this opportunity. The CTO road shows provided a platform for destinations and members of the private sector to showcase their products under one umbrella,” said Christine Noel-Horsford, the Grenada Tourism Authority’s  director of sales and marketing in the US, and a co-chair of the east coast series of the CTO’s Caribbean Goes road show.

“The north east is our number one source market, and we look forward to seeing a spike in business from those areas,” she added.

Along with Noel-Horsford, Lorine St. Jules, the director of marketing in the US for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board co-chaired the east coast road shows. She, too, spoke of the importance of this event to her country.

“Saint Lucia was pleased to participate in the CTO road shows as it provided unique opportunities to highlight our island’s romantic attributes to a leading market of travel agents,” St. Jules said. “Romance and adventure have been two compelling niches for Saint Lucia and this lineage allowed us to stand out as a destination.”

With romance being a leading feature during the road shows, the presence of the region’s top expert on the subject added even greater value for the travel agents and to the event.

Jacqueline Johnson, the president and chief executive officer of Global Bridal Group, which includes MarryCaribbean.com, described the events as “excellent”, and was highly complementary of the participating destinations.

“The Caribbean Goes Road Shows were excellent. Every detail was thought of and implemented, there were lots of agents at each stop and most important, the destinations participating were all on their game. I am proud and honoured to be involved with this prestigious organization,” she said.

The main objectives of these road shows are to raise awareness of the Caribbean as America’s premier warm-weather holiday destination and to keep top-producing travel agents up-to-date with the latest developments and the variety of experiences that the Caribbean offers to help them drive business to the region.

The road show locations were selected based on a combination of elements, including travel agents with a propensity to book Caribbean travel, demographics of travellers, proximity of airports, as well as current and new airlift to the Caribbean.

“Our Caribbean Goes Road Shows provide our members with the opportunity to meet travel agents in key feeder markets where the Caribbean is sold,” Sylma Brown, director of CTO USA said.

“The shows will help agents capitalize on new offerings such as Caribbean-bound Delta Air Line flights from Boston and new service on JetBlue from Newark International Airport.”

Participating destination and partners of the 2016 east coast shows included: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean Airlines, Celebrity Cruises, Central Holidays, Club Med, Delta Air Lines, Dominica, GoGo Vacations, Grenada, MarryCaribbean.com; Martinique, Radisson Grenada Beach Resort, Saint Lucia, Tobago, Travel Impressions, Turks and Caicos Collection, Sandals & Beaches Resorts and Vacation Express.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO’s travel agents training programme receives top award

(LONDON, UK) – 7 Nov, 2016 – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s training programme for travel agents in the UK has been voted the best training programme in the 2016 Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards.

Caribbean Travel Guru was today awarded in the coveted Travel Uni Training Programme category at World Travel Market.

“We are truly honoured to have received such a prestigious award. We would like to thank all of the UK travel retailers for voting for Caribbean Travel Guru,” said Carol Hay, the CTO’s director of marketing for the UK and Europe.

“We currently have over 2,500 agents registered on the programme and we aim to grow this number and continually update the agents, to push Caribbean sales from the UK and Irish markets. We also aim to grow the number of suppliers participating in the programme to ensure that the agents are in constant supply of Caribbean news and information from all sectors of the industry. Working with My Booking Rewards to reward our agents has also added value and kept our programme vibrant,’ she added.

The Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards have been described as the only travel trade awards nominated and voted for by UK travel retailers – the readers of Selling Travel – plus the users of leading online training provider, Travel Uni.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, ITB & WTM

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UNWTO and CTO team up for regional workshop in Saint Lucia

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 1 Nov, 2016 –  The United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable tourism is partnering with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to deliver a regional workshop on sustainable destination management and marketing next month.

The 5-9 December workshop, which takes place in Saint Lucia, is being delivered by experts selected by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and will explore issues related to competitiveness, quality assurance and sustainable destination criteria, with a strong emphasis on trends, best practices and success stories aimed at helping destinations compete globally,  according to Bonita Morgan, the CTO’s director of resource mobilization and development.

“We have the advantage of having the UNWTO bring to us expertise with international experiences, models and success stories as we expose the participants to what the possibilities are out there to help them develop a better product, or deliver a better service so their overall strategy for destination management and marketing can be successful,” Mrs. Morgan said.

Among the key areas being explored are innovation in marketing, destination competitiveness, developing sustainable tourism experiences and successful models in destination management and marketing.

The first day is being billed as a forum and will be open to a broad spectrum of stakeholders in Saint Lucia so that they can benefit from the experiences and expertise of the UNWTO facilitators, as well as allowing as many residents as possible to share their views and experiences with a local and region audience.  Topics to be covered will include global and regional tourism performance and trends, consumer trends and effective marketing and pillars of sustainable and competitive destinations.

A number of site visits have been included in the programme, during which participants will use the information they garnered to critique the local destinations and use the experience to help enhance their own products and tourism services.

The executive training workshop organized by the CTO and the UNWTO through its Themis Foundation, is being held in collaboration with the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. It is open to high-level decision makers in the national, regional and local tourism administrations and organizations, as well as senior tourism practitioners from tourism associations and industry groups and travel and tourism practitioners from the Caribbean and the Americas.

For further information, including how to register and participate, visit www.onecaribbean.org or email [email protected] For further insights regarding the forum and workshop please view a video interview with Mrs. Morgan at: http://bit.ly/2eQHM2W.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog

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