CTO News

The Grenada Invitational Legacy: Tourism Industry

(St. George’s, Grenada) 11th April, 2017— Everyone’s buzzing about Grenada. That’s the feedback the Grenada Tourism Authority  (GTA) has been receiving from our international partners following the hosting of the historic inaugural Grenada Invitational. The live broadcast of the Invitational was estimated to reach 90 million homes worldwide via ESPN2. During that time, viewers were treated to gorgeous visual presentations of Pure Grenada’s stunning scenery, friendly people and abundant activities for visitors through adverts and promotional videos provided by the GTA.

According to CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority Patricia Maher, “The GTA on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism was delighted to support the hosting of the first Grenada Invitational as we valued the opportunity to showcase Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean to the world.” She further stated, “Our Marketing Manager Francine Stewart dedicated her time and resource to the Local Organizing Committee over an intensive six-month period and the GTA together with our PR Agency CAMC organised our first international press trip group for the year around the event. By all accounts, Grenada got the global brand visibility we were looking for with worldwide coverage of over 90 million viewers of the event on ESPN. The marketing exposure we received for our tourism destination was priceless”.

The 2017 Grenada Invitational was the first event of the track and field season and it attracted some of the top athletes in the world including Grenada’s Kirani James, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell Brown and Justin Gatlin.  It was a historic moment for Grenada as the achievements of the country’s first Olympic medalist were immortalized with the Athletics Stadium being renamed the Kirani James Athletics Stadium. This moment was crowned by James winning the 400m race to the jubilation of the crowd. Some of the other athletes either posted personal best times or broke national records. Apart from competing, they took time to enjoy Grenada’s natural beauty and they are sharing with the world via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

As for the five members of the GTA organised press trip from Canada, the USA and the Caribbean, they thoroughly enjoyed their experience and are excited to write about destination Pure Grenada. Their social media accounts are buzzing with every moment of their trip including getting the chance to meet Grenadian Olympian Kirani James. The group includes: US travel writer Sarah Greaves Gabbadon (JetSetSarah), Travel Pulses Brian Major, US Journalist Robert Curley, Canadian Travel Press Ann Christine Ruppenstein and Kimberley Honey who writes for the Toronto Star.

According to Grenada Invitational officials, the event will be rebroadcast on Tuesday 11th April, 2017 from 8 to 11pm Eastern time on ESPN Caribbean Network. As part of the arrangement, the 2017 Grenada Invitational will be shown on various ESPN Digital Platforms within a three-month window from the date of the event. Overall, the Grenada Tourism Authority believes that the hosting of the Grenada Invitational and coverage via ESPN will boost arrivals in Grenada in the coming months from all source markets. The GTA would also like to add its special thanks to the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association for its support during the hosting of the event.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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UNWTO/CTO Workshop ends with commitment to improve tourism product and stakeholder engagement

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 5 April 2017 – A regional workshop on sustainable destination management and marketing has ended in Saint Lucia with a commitment by participants to improve the tourism product and stakeholder engagement.

The 27-31 March workshop, organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the United Nations agency, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), brought together 26 stakeholders in the tourism industry from 12 CTO member countries to explore ways to make their destinations and the region more globally competitive.

“The workshop is a very pertinent one.  It gives the stakeholders an opportunity to look at sustainable tourism, which is very important to our territories and Caribbean countries,” said Percival Hanley, the general manager of Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society in St. Kitts.

“Tourism is one of the major industries for our countries and very meaningful to our economies, and is one of the growing industries that will significantly affect our area, not just now but well into the future,” he added.

During the five-day seminar, participants shared best practices, including the successes of destinations outside the Caribbean.

It was an eye opener for Elecia Myers, the senior director for strategic planning and evaluation at the Jamaica ministry of tourism, who said she would now look at sustainable destination management and marketing in a more strategic light.

“I’ve been looking at how I can institute systems at the national level to ensure there is follow through within our agencies, and within our stakeholder practitioners – hoteliers, attractions, transport service providers  – how to infuse strategic planning in a more meaningful and measurable way so we can track it over time,” she said.

For the Turks and Caicos Islands the sessions were quite important because the country is at the crossroads as to where it wants to go in terms of tourism development, said Brian Been, the senior product development officer at the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board.

“Whenever we talk about sustainability, we tend to lean on the environmental side, and not realise there must be a balanced approach,” he said.

The workshop came at a time when destinations are paying greater attention to product development, and social media is changing the way tourism marketing is done.

Among the key areas explored were innovation in marketing, destination competitiveness, developing sustainable tourism experiences and successful models in destination management and marketing. The participants were also able to take the learning process out of the classroom and  into the real world by going on study tours to Fond Latisab Creole Park, Lushan Country Life and Sulphur Springs and Volcano for real-life experiences.

“Sustainable destination management and marketing is an area that most of the countries in our region are looking at seriously – how to we effectively market and manage our destinations so we can be globally competitive,” said Bonita Morgan, the CTO’s director of resource mobilization and development.

The executive training workshop was organized by the CTO and the UNWTO through its Themis Foundation, and was held in collaboration with the Saint Lucia ministry of tourism and the board of tourism.

“This UNWTO/CTO workshop main objective was to constitute a participative platform where we all could share experiences and knowledge as well as instruments that can be applied back in participants’ countries, institutions, businesses and destinations. And I believe we have achieved that objective by bridging theory and practice in a very participative workshop,” said Alba Fernández Alonso, the course coordinator at the Themis Foundation, the entity responsible for implementing the UNWTO’s education and training programme.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Appoints Business Development Representative for Canada

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (5 April, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, has appointed experienced travel professional Nancy Drolet as business development representative for Canada.

Ms. Drolet, whose appointment took effect from 1 April, will implement the CTO’s business development plan for the Canadian market, maintain consistent interaction with the travel industry, the Caribbean Diaspora and national tourist office representatives in Canada and organise trade and consumer events, including Caribbean Week Canada, according to Sylma Brown, director of CTO-USA, Inc.

The multilingual Drolet – she speaks English, French and Spanish – is a 25 year veteran of the travel industry, having worked predominantly in sales and marketing for tour operators such as Fiesta Holidays and Thomson Vacations, and Cruise Lines, including Holland America and Windstar Cruises.
After moving to travel retail she worked in senior management positions at Sears Travel, where she managed up to 35 travel agencies.

Ms. Drolet is no stranger to the Caribbean- she worked at Sandals Resorts and Radisson Resorts of the Bahamas.
“I am thrilled to be back working with the Caribbean which has long been a popular vacation destination for Canadians. The Caribbean offers Canadians so much more than sun and sand: the people, the music, the activities on land and sea, the romance of the islands, not to mention the adventure aspect with hiking and untapped natural preserves,” the newly-appointed business development representative said.
“I am looking forward to working with our national tourist offices and our tour operator, airline and retail partners in Canada to grow our business to the Caribbean. Through training and education and partnership, I hope to help the travel trade in Canada discover more about the Caribbean,” she added.
Ms. Drolet can be reached at [email protected] Tel: 905-857-1986.
Canada, normally a robust market for the Caribbean, recorded a decrease in visitors to the Caribbean last year for the first time since 1994, and only the second contraction since 1982. The 3.3 million arrivals from that market represented a 3.4 per cent drop when compared to 2015.

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Pure Grenada celebrates 30-year partnership with British Airways

(St. George’s, Grenada) 3rd April, 2017— On April 1st, 2017 the number 30 held much significance in Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean. British Airways (BA) and Grenada celebrated 30 years of partnership and for three (3) hotels their 30 year commitment to service excellence was also celebrated. A short commemoration ceremony was held at the Maurice Bishop International Airport along with a special treat for visitors arriving on British Airways; sweet steel pan music and refreshing local beverages.

In 1987, then Minister of Tourism Hon. Ben Jones and a crowd of well wishers welcomed the first British Airways flight to Grenada commanded by Captain Doug Hudgell. The flight took 11 hours and 56 minutes landing at the then Point Salines International Airport.  Thirty years later, current Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Hon. Clarice Modeste Curwen said she was happy to commemorate the significant anniversary. While there have been some changes over the years the Minister noted, “What has not changed is British Airways commitment to Pure Grenada and our warm and friendly welcome.” In recognition of the anniversary the Minister presented the flight captain with a token of appreciation on behalf of the Government and people of Grenada.

Chairman of the Grenada Tourism Authority Mr. Rodney George thanked British Airways for their partnership and congratulated the Airline for its customer service excellence. He noted, “British Airways has opened up Grenada to the UK and Europe accounting for 30% of visitors from our second largest source market.”

Manager of the Grenada Airports Authority Mrs. Wendy Williams took a step back into history looking at a centre page feature written in British Airways News in 1987. An excerpt read, “It’s not just saffron and nutmeg that make Grenada the isle of spice.  The rich blend of its warm-hearted people and tempestuous past make it an intriguing island to visit.”

BA District Manager for the Central Caribbean Mr. Nigel Blackett said his organization values it partnership with Grenada. As part of the celebrations, he noted that British Airways was providing specials on airfare to and from Grenada during the month of April. He also presented a token of appreciation to Tourism Minister Modeste Curwen to mark the special occasion.

BA Commercial Manager for the Caribbean Diane Corrie recognized three hotels that are British Airways Holidays partners and also celebrating 30 years of operation and commitment to service excellence. She handed over tokens of appreciation to Chairman of the Spice Island Beach Resort, Sir Royston Hopkin, KCMG, Managing Director of the Coyaba Beach Resort Mr. Andre Cherman and Owner of the Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa, Mr. Leo Garbutt. Tourism Minister Modeste Curwen also congratulated the hoteliers on their contributions to the industry. British Airways now operates a twice-weekly service to Grenada.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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UNWTO/CTO Workshop Begins in Saint Lucia

The UNWTO/CTO Workshop in Saint Lucia on Sustainable Tourism Destination Management & Marketing, organized by the World Tourism Organization, its UNWTO.Themis Foundation and the Caribbean Tourism Ogranization (CTO) in collaboration with Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), was inaugurated on 27th March by Mr. Hugh Riley, Secretary General & Chief Executive Officer, Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Ms. Alba Fernandez Alonso, UNWTO.Themis Foundation Course Coordinator, Hon. Dominic Fedee, Minister of Tourism, Information & Broadcasting, Ministry of Tourism, Information & Broadcasting and the facilitators of the workshop, Ms. Kathleen Pessolano and Mr. Jonathon Day.
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SVG hosts Caribbean Sailing Festival

KINGSTOWN, ST.VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES, March 20, 2017– The Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture in collaboration with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, recently hosted the 2017 Russian Regatta dubbed the ‘Caribbean Sailing Festival’.

During the period March 11th-18th 2017, the destination attracted fifty-four (54) sailing enthusiasts to the shores of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. During that period, seven (7) crews took part in daily fun races and sailing quests on yachts and catamarans. The event commenced at the Blue Lagoon Marina on St. Vincent with a welcome Cocktail Reception hosted by the Hon. Minister of Tourism Mr. Cecil McKie; the seven (7) days of sailing encompassed stops at Wallilabou, Bequia, Mustique and the Tobago Cays concluding back at the Blue Lagoon Marina.

The Regatta which is into its 10th year has been previously hosted in Antigua and Barbuda, St. Maarten, St. Barts, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia and Grenada. During their stay the participants visited local restaurants and bars in their quest to ‘make a reality of the history of the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” in the natural scenery’. It also sought to unite the participants and open up new possibilities for communication, connections; according to its organizers it is a clear example of tourism exchange that actively involves local industries and promotes the strengthening of bilateral relations of both countries.

The visitors had the opportunity to meet and mingle with senior representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, the Tourism Authority, Invest SVG, National Properties and the Hotel and Tourism Association. They were also treated to local steel pan entertainment as well as the destination’s Garifuna heritage through dancing, drumming and singing.

Sailing is one of the major niche markets for tourism in St. Vincent and the Grenadines attracting in excess of 40,000 visitors to the destination annually.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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