CTO News

CTO Announces Winners of Caribbean Primary Schools Tourism Writing Competition

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (2 August, 2017) – Four Caribbean primary school students ranging in age from 8-12, will be honoured for excellence in tourism writing at next month’s Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum in St. Kitts.

The four –  Kassie Haley-Shai of St. Augustine Roman Catholic School in Montserrat, Ariah Khobie Diamante Darroux of  Convent Preparatory School  in Dominica (both in the 8-10 category), Jhe’anti Belyca Craigg of Belmont Government School in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Gabriella Lewis of Atwell’s Educational Institute in Trinidad and Tobago (10-12 category) – emerged winners among 44 participants  from 26 schools who participated in the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s Caribbean Primary Schools Tourism Writing Competition.

The contest, held as part of activities for International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the CTO’s Year of Adventure, was organised to enhance primary school students’ awareness of tourism and its value and contribution to the region’s social and economic development. It was also meant to challenge the students to think of creative ways to make tourism more sustainable.

The winners can be viewed here: http://www.onecaribbean.org/primary-school-tourism-writing-competition/

“I am very pleased with the level of interest exhibited in this initiative, as evidenced by the diversity of participating schools,” said Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism development specialist, whose department spearheads the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum.

“The submissions were all of a high calibre, with the students displaying depth and creativity in their compositions. It is clear that even at the primary school level students are aware of the importance of tourism to the region, can speak eloquently about tourism in their countries and have some insight into the opportunities and challenges associated with tourism development.”

The students in the 8-10 category were asked to write about what sustainable tourism meant to them or how visitors and locals should act towards each other to promote peace, while those in the 10-12 category were challenged to conceptualise and describe a new adventure tour or to suggest ways that the CTO can help make tourism in the Caribbean more sustainable. The students in both categories were also given the option of writing on whether they felt tourism does indeed contribute to making the Caribbean region a better place, or to identify an adventure tourism activity in their countries and deliver a sales pitch to encourage tourists to experience that activity.

Themed, Good for Us, Better for All, the 6-8 September Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum is being held in observance of International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and will bring together local, regional, and international representatives from public and private sector tourism entities, as well as development agencies that offer programming in sustainable tourism, for three days of interactive engagements.

Major elements will include best practice sharing and strategic consultations for a CTO climate adaptation project funded by the Caribbean Development Bank, in order to strengthen holistic destination management approaches in the Caribbean. The programme will also include experiential field visits, a meeting of CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Technical Committee, and winning presentations from CTO’s Primary School Tourism Writing Competition. The event culminates with the presentation ceremony for CTO’s 2017 Sustainable Tourism Awards which recognise regional sustainability champions.

Organising partners include the CTO, the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism, the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council, and Sustainable Travel International.

The winner of the 2014 CTO/Travel Mole Sustainable Tourism Award in Destination Stewardship, St Kitts is one of the first destinations in the world to be accepted as an early adopter of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s criteria for destinations. It also is a founding member of the Sustainable Destination Alliance of the Americas, an initiative by the CTO, the Organization of American States, Sustainable Travel International and Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited to promote sustainable destination management in the Caribbean and Central America.

Its many initiatives include the establishment of the Heart of St. Kitts Foundation and Sustainability Charter, which helps businesses understand how their operations contribute to destination-wide sustainability, and to support community projects that make St. Kitts a more sustainable place to live and experience.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Climate Smart Forum, Corporate News

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Caribbean Development Bank supports CTO’s Service and Business Excellence Programme

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (25 July, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s continued efforts at promoting service and business excellence in the region’s tourism and hospitality sector has received a financial boost from the regional financial institution that focuses on harmonious economic growth and development in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network is providing US$223,312 in support of the two key components of the Hospitality Assured (HA) Caribbean certification programme managed by the CTO as part of its product development and service quality thrust.

The funds will be used to engage business advisors and assessors to help strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of tourism-related micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in ten CDB borrowing member countries through the HA programme.

“Our region needs to boost its reputation for service and business excellence and pay attention to the overall visitor experience. The Hospitality Assured framework provides the tool to drive this effort,” said Bonita Morgan, the CTO’s director of resource mobilization and development, and the CTO official with overall responsibility for the HA programme.

“We are thankful to the CDB, through the CTCS Network, for supporting this effort to help Caribbean tourism businesses shore up their competitiveness.”

“For several Caribbean economies, tourism is an engine of growth, and MSMEs have the potential to make significant contributions to the sector. CDB is pleased to be supporting CTO in delivering the HA Caribbean certification programme, and deeply value the role it plays in helping regional MSMEs deliver an even higher quality product and experience in an increasingly competitive global tourism market,” said Darran Newman, acting division chief, technical cooperation division, CDB.

Over the next year 30 businesses in the ten countries – Anguilla, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Turks & Caicos Islands will receive technical assistance as well as assessment services through the CDB funding.

The regional lending institution’s support for HA dates back to 2014 when, through the United Kingdom Department for International Development’s Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund, managed by the Bank,  it provided funding support for six businesses in Grenada to participate in the certification programme.

Last year, CDB, through the CTCS network, provided financial support to conduct a week-long business advisors training workshop organized by the CTO to equip 15 business advisors to provide technical assistance to tourism-related businesses participating  in the HA certification programme.

CTCS is managed within CDB’s Technical Cooperation Division and operated in cooperation with regional and national institutions, laboratories, industrial enterprises, and consultants. It comprises a network of institutions and experts, and has as its primary aim, transferring knowledge, skills and technology to improve managerial and operational efficiency and competitiveness of MSMEs through the provision of technical assistance.

Hospitality Assured is a certification programme promoting service and business excellence in tourism and hospitality companies.  It is owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the United Kingdom, and managed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization in the region.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News, Hospitality Assured

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CTO and the Caribbean Development Bank to Help Region’s Tourism Sector Combat Impact of Climate Change

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (23 June, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has received a €460,000 grant from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to implement a project to increase the Caribbean tourism sector’s resilience to natural hazards and climate related risks.

Global climate change and its impacts, including the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events, pose a significant risk to the Caribbean region and threaten the sustainability of Caribbean tourism. The CTO is pleased to have the support of the CDB to implement this project which will contribute to enhancing the resiliency, sustainability and competitiveness of the region’s tourism sector. Mainstreaming climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk management (DRM) strategies in tourism development and planning is our duty to our member countries,” the CTO’s Secretary General Hugh Riley said.

The CDB / CTO partnership was formalized at a signing ceremony held on June 22, 2017 at CDB’s headquarters in Barbados. Speaking at the event, CDB President, Dr. Wm. Warren Smith, noted that the tourism sector makes an enormous contribution to the Region’s socio-economic development.

Tourism generates high levels of employment, foreign direct investment and foreign exchange for our borrowing member countries and, given its multi-sectoral nature, it is a very effective tool for promoting sustainable development and poverty reduction. However, maintaining this critical role calls for adequate safeguards to be erected against the enormous threats that climate change and natural hazards pose to the sustainability of our Region,” said Dr. Smith.

Funding is being provided under the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank- Natural Disaster Risk Management in CARIFORUM Countries programme, which aims to reduce vulnerability to long-term impacts of natural hazards, including the potential impacts of climate change, thereby achieving national and regional sustainable development and poverty reduction goals in those countries.

During the 19-month project implementation period, the CTO will support the region’s tourism entities with policy formulation, the promotion of best practices in DRM and CCA, and the development of tools to enhance the tourism sector’s knowledge and awareness of disaster risk reduction strategies and the potential impacts of climate variability and climate change (CVC).

A training component will also be included to strengthen the ability of public and private sector tourism stakeholders to undertake adequate mitigation and adaptation actions to CVC. The CTO secretariat will also benefit from institutional strengthening to help provide technical assistance and ongoing support for tourism-related climate services.

The project is in keeping with 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, which has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly. 

Additional photos for distribution are available here: https://we.tl/DfEobPtNtL

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Climate Change

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CTO Helps Strengthen Business Performance, Overall Competitiveness with Hospitality Assured

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (June 12, 2017) – As part of an on-going partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and its Hospitality Assured (HA) certification programme, the European Union under its Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) programme last month hosted an HA Business Advisor Training Workshop at the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce in Punda, Williemstaad, Curaçao. Participants came from the Curaçao Tourist Board, the Curacao Innovation & Technology Institute; and Creating Milestones, a management solutions company.

The main objectives of the workshop were:

  • To provide participants with an overview of the HA standards and processes and awareness of the Business Excellence framework;
  • To enable participants to manage and advise on the HA processes for client organisations which will enable these organisations to progress on their journey to excellence and to obtain HA certification;
  • To provide participants with a knowledge and understanding of the evidence requirements of Hospitality Assured; and
  • To provide participants with an opportunity to develop gender sensitive advisory approaches through the employment of case studies and role-play.

CTO began its journey with HA in 2007, seeking to strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of tourism enterprises in the Caribbean. CTO is in the process of building a network of advisors and assessors in member countries which are already involved in the HA programme – including  Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines – and is also seeking to extend the scheme to countries which have not yet started to roll out the programme but have indicated an interest in doing so this year. These include Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Guyana, Montserrat, Saint Lucia and The Turks & Caicos Islands.

The HA programme endeavours to promote a culture of quality, service excellence and continuous improvement, through the use of a business improvement tool and framework that is internationally recognized, as a means to support customer service delivery in tourism enterprises.

The first task of the HA Programme for Curaçao was to train Business Advisors and to equip them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to work effectively with organisations and lead them through the detailed HA self-assessment process towards certification.

A series of introductory presentations delivered by the facilitators, Norma Shorey-Bryan and Sharon Banfield-Bovell, provided participants with a background to the HA programme, perspectives on the issues and challenges faced in the tourism sector in the Caribbean, and detailed information on what was required on the HA Journey to Excellence. Focus was also placed on helping participants to understand issues related to gender and gender sensitive advisory approaches in dealing with the HA clients. These discussions on gender came to the forefront in the case studies discussions and role plays that were part of the learning and feedback sessions.

The interactive approach used throughout the workshop was designed to encourage participants to share their experiences, perspectives and concerns, and to learn from each other. Presentations stimulated lively group discussions, which helped participants consider how to apply the concepts taught when working with client organisations in Curaçao. The workshop sessions included: presentations on fundamental topics like What is Excellence, Vision & Values, Business Planning Processes and Sharing Good Practices; introduction to each of the nine steps of the HA Model; role plays on case studies mirroring the operations in various types of tourism businesses; and other learning exercises linked to each of the nine steps.

By the end of the workshop, the participants had gained a deeper understanding of the structure of the HA framework and were aware of the key themes of Hospitality Assured. The detailed knowledge and understanding will be further taken in as they apply the model to real life situations as they work with small, medium and large sized businesses in Curaçao’s tourism and hospitality sector.

About Hospitality Assured

Hospitality Assured is an internationally recognized certification, owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the U.K., managed and operated by the Hospitality Limited U.K. trading as Hospitality Assured and licensed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) for use in the Caribbean as “The Standard for Service and Business Excellence in Caribbean Tourism.”

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Hospitality Assured

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CTO Signs MOU With The Travel Foundation During Caribbean Week NY

NEW YORK, NY (June 8, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Travel Foundation (TF) to formally establish a framework of cooperation and facilitate collaboration between the organizations in areas of common interest to contribute to sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean Region. The MOU was signed by CTO secretary general Hugh Riley and Salli Felton, TF chief executive officer on Thursday, June 8, during a CTO press conference held during Caribbean Week New York.

TF, the international charity that works with destinations and leading organizations to improve the impacts of tourism on people and the environment, and CTO will facilitate the joint implementation of projects and publications, the organization of workshops, seminars, meetings, conferences, and other initiatives on matters of common interest. The two organizations will support and participate in each other’s relevant projects and activities.

“The Caribbean Tourism Organization is pleased to align our sustainability and environmental advocacy efforts with the Travel Foundation and come together during Caribbean Week New York to formally announced our new vested partnership,” Mr. Riley said

“To further our ongoing work in the Caribbean, we are pleased to partner with CTO to facilitate future tourism development which promotes thriving communities and a healthy environment,” added Ms. Felton.

This agreement follows the recent announcement of CTO and TF’s launch of a free online sustainable tourism course for ministries, government departments, tourism authorities and tourist boards engaged in destination management in CTO member countries. The course is designed to help increase knowledge of how to review and plan for the sustainable development of Caribbean tourist destinations.

Benchmarked with good practice case studies, the course will sharpen participants’ ability to plan the development of their local tourism industry in a way that meets the needs of both visitors and host communities, creates a more resilient economy, protects tourism assets and secures the future tourism potential of Caribbean destinations. To register for the free online course, please click on the following link: travelfoundationtraining.com/caribbean.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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Links to photos of Caribbean Week 2017

Caribbean Week New York 2017 photographs:

Celebrity Chef Demonstration at Bloomingdales: https://goo.gl/photos/xUDPPsbv4tnYGaqG6

Church Service at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church : https://goo.gl/photos/qxTZcUuw7ZGLUzNN9

Diaspora Forum: https://goo.gl/photos/VcUJUD9GrohVbWv36

Tourism Industry Workshop: https://goo.gl/photos/LeMMVLMm6CZZKoih7

Think Tank: CTO 5 Year Strategic Planning Session: https://goo.gl/photos/QdjjtNxp3kkJwfLh6

Executive Committee Meeting & Travel Agents Trade Show: https://goo.gl/photos/MtN6RWy2ckPYC7kn6

Cocktail Reception for Government Officials & Empire State Building Lighting: https://goo.gl/photos/gEoUnBc11orw5eif8

Board of Directors Meeting: https://goo.gl/photos/c9CJSy8s9uj75caD7

Students Colloquium: https://goo.gl/photos/SGE2Z6VjkBbUZKkF8

Caribbean Tourism Marketing Conference: https://goo.gl/photos/tUw4Q3nZPM8yHchb9

Caribbean Tourism Awards Industry Luncheon: https://goo.gl/photos/rRviH8fWAk2qKHHj9

Press Conference: https://goo.gl/photos/TjxbKxVjNDY3wjfF9

Media Marketplace & Interviews: https://goo.gl/photos/myHpYCBYYpb42eHP9

Rum Rumble Final Mixologist Competition: https://goo.gl/photos/gcMfWN1qtabD9SAs9

Rum & Rhythm:  https://goo.gl/photos/TWZcd44pu7ymsemK8

 

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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