CTO News

St. Kitts Hosts FCCA Operations Team

Basseterre, St. Kitts (November 6, 2019) – Off the heels two consecutive record-setting cruise seasons, Minister of Tourism the Hon. Lindsay F.P. Grant in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism and the St. Kitts Tourism Authority hosted the FCCA Operations Team on island for meetings with local cruise stakeholders on Monday, November 4  and with government officials on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 to discuss further development of the island’s cruise sector.

“It is my distinct pleasure to welcome the Florida Caribbean Cruiseline Association’s Operations Committee to St. Kitts,” said Minister Grant. “Our meetings ensure that we understand the needs of the cruise lines and their passengers, receive feedback on our service standards and guest experience and provide insight into cruise industry trends such as new ships and itineraries for upcoming seasons, all of which will help us to remain competitive as a premier cruise destination moving forward. We are grateful for FCCA’s contributions to the development of our cruise sector and will continue working closely together.”

The FCCA Operations team welcomed by Minister Grant included: FCCA President Michele Paige; FCCA Operations Team Chairman and VP Operations, MSC Cruises (USA) Inc., Albino Di Lorenzo; Director, Worldwide Operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Jamie Castillo; Associate Vice-President of Government Relations for Latin America & Caribbean, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Andre Pousada; and Director, Commercial Homeport Operations, Carnival Cruise Line, Carlos Estrada.

Following a tour of the new second pier at Port Zante, the FCCA Operations team in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism and St. Kitts Tourism Authority addressed local cruise industry stakeholders during a meeting held on Monday evening. They spoke about the overall success of the destination, the need for more unique signature tours to differentiate St. Kitts from other Caribbean islands that are either already capable of accommodating Oasis and XCEL class ships or in the process of building piers that are able to do so, the need to ensure guest satisfaction with local customer service providers, and the need for multilingual tours and signage to enhance the guest experience. The meeting was very well attended, with a large number of local cruise industry stakeholders turning out to learn more about the cruise lines and cruise sector development as well as how to best service cruise guests.

Led by Minister Grant, the St. Kitts team included: Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism Mrs. Carlene Henry-Morton; CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority Racquel Brown; and Product Development Manager of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority Melnecia Marshall.  They further spoke with the FCCA Operations team about progress being made on the construction of the second cruise pier at Port Zante, transportation sector standards, public infrastructure development, customer service training for traditional and non-traditional service providers and product enhancement plans to maintain the destination’s strong appeal to the cruise market.

St. Kitts exceeded one million cruise passenger arrivals in the 2017-2018 cruise season for the first time in its history, then did so again for a second consecutive year in the 2018-2019 season.  It is the only destination in the OECS ever to reach the million-passenger milestone. Having reached it, St. Kitts is now considered by the cruise lines to be in the same marquee port status category as much larger destinations in the region.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Launches New App to Help Cultural Explorers

LONDON, ENGLAND, (November 6, 2019) – Antigua and Barbuda has partnered with Geotourist a multi-award-winning mobile GPS travel technology, to create navigational application content for Antigua and Barbuda that offers visitors the chance to explore the destination independently, while being guided by Antiguan story-tellers, all from their mobile phone.

CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C. James says, “As the needs of travelers evolve, Antigua and Barbuda will continue to enhance our product, and we are proud to be the first country within the Caribbean to launch this free mobile GPS triggered, audio tour. In addition to already offering visitors the opportunity to be guided throughout the country by accredited tourist guides, this new mobile app now meets the needs of those cultural explorers who have the desire to immerse themselves in the local culture and seek out their own experiences, while still benefitting from a personal tour guide.”

The GeoTourist app, is available on iPhone, iPads, Android phones and tablets. It is free to download, and when opened on Antigua and Barbuda, highlights a variety of remarkable historical sites in Antigua’s historic Capital city, St. John’s, as well as within the UNESCO World Heritage site of Nelson’s Dockyard.   Visitors on one-day visits and those on longer stays can easily follow the clearly laid out map and find themselves back in time as the narrators – well-known Antigua and Barbuda media personalities Jamilla Kirwan and Peter Gordon enthusiastically relay historical facts on fascinating structures, monuments and cultural icons.

Geotourist Sales Director, Mo Talukder said: “These Antigua trails are incredibly special for Geotourist. As our first partnership in the Caribbean, we were delighted to work with the Tourism Board to curate these unique insights into the island’s history.  The tours showcase Antigua at its best, demonstrating why this stunning Caribbean island has so much more to offer than just another beach experience. The tours helps to bring visitors from the cruise ships and hotels, distributing them around the capital, St John’s, enabling them to get the most from their stay, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nelson’s Dockyard and experience the rich history and hidden gems the island has to offer first-hand.”

Geotourist produces, hosts and delivers GPS-based audio tours directly accessible from Smartphones.  Working with tourism boards, governments, DMOs, hotels and organisations all over the world, Geotourist helps put them on a global digital map, using technology to create ‘Wow’ moments for visitors. Their tours transcend territories and organisations to bring the world a cohesive and immersive outcome from a series of individual points – doing so in a way that is both tangible and affordable to global brands and some of the smallest players in the tourism industry.

For information on downloading the app visit: https://geotourist.com/users/5534

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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The Isle of Flowers Pops Up In Miami This November

New York, NY — November 7, 2019—A French Caribbean lifestyle pop-up boutique will grace the trendy neighborhood of Wynwood in Miami, Florida from November 13 to 17, 2019.  It will be open to the public every day from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. @ Wynwood Block, 2621 NW Second Avenue, Unit 21.

The Martinique Chamber of Commerce, along with Business France and Le Ministère des Outre-Mer (Ministry of Overseas Regions) selected four of the leading and most creative brands of Martinique to be presented. From a fashion designer and a footwear maven to a natural cosmetics line and a perfume and scents label, the four uniquely Martinique products that will be featured in the elegant ephemeral boutique are:

Ayélé is a fashion brand created and run by master craftsperson and designer Marizette Vinceslas from Martinique.  The brand highlights Caribbean culture through the fluidity, lightness, elegance and colors of its designs. www.ayele.eu/

KADALYS is the 1st organic and eco-conscious cosmetics brand that uses banana active ingredients.
Inspired by French Caribbean traditional medicine, Kadalys has patented “Bio-actif”®: an active ingredient extracted from the banana tree, This ingredient is sourced and manufactured in an ethical and eco-friendly way. www.kadalys.com

Parfums des Iles follows the mantra of “Imagine, create, transform, reveal” which it incorporates in every step of the creative process of its fragrances and soaps. Launched in Martinique in 1996 and led by Véronicka Cormouls-Houles since 2008, Parfums des Îles is the first artisan perfumery to use natural alcohol derived from distilling sugar cane in its creations, thus showcasing Caribbean culture. www.parfums-des-iles.com

Maison TINAS’s espadrilles have been making a splash since 2014. The company, whose acronym means “This is not a shoe,” was Born in Martinique, founded by Willem Germany, and Made in Mauléon, in the Basque region of France. The French-Caribbean island of Martinique has a rich and diverse history that mixes traditional African practices with newer French mores. So these espadrilles are a new form of a typical shoe that hail from traditional artisan roots. Their designs are based on ancient craftsmanship made in the 13th century from local materials like hemp and flax. The have been making their mark on younger generations across France and now all over the world. www.instagram.com/maisontinasofficiel/?hl=fr

For those wishing to experience firsthand the lifestyle and pleasures of the Isle of Flowers, American Airlines offers year-round service and up to 7 non-stop flights weekly, from Miami International Airport to Aimé Césaire International Airport—Fort-de-France, Martinique, which is a convenient hub to connect to from Boston, New York and even Los Angeles.

For more information about French Caribbean Pop Up Store, click here www.frenchwink.com/pages/french-caribbean-pop-up

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Despite Dorian, Travel to the Caribbean Keeps Growing

Wednesday 6th November:  A study, undertaken by ForwardKeys, the travel analytics firm, has revealed that despite the recent ravages of hurricane Dorian and other huge storms in the Caribbean, tourism will continue to grow. The results of the study were presented at a Caribbean Tourism Organization-organised news conference at World Travel Market this morning.

Forward bookings for the important winter season, 1st November to 31st January are currently 1.6% ahead of where they were at the equivalent point last year. Currently, bookings from the USA, the most important source market are 3.0% behind but bookings from all the other major source markets are ahead, France 9.8%, the UK 0.9%, Canada 8.2%, Argentina 8.1% and the rest of the world collectively 3.2%. The current leader is the Netherlands, 42.1% ahead.

However, the outlook is not universally positive. Forward bookings to the top destination in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic, are currently 14.2% behind and those to the Bahamas and Aruba are 6.4% and 1.4% behind respectively. Encouraging growth is seen from Puerto Rico, 28.0% ahead, but that is really a recovery story, as tourism to the island was hit hard by hurricane Maria in December 2017.

Looking back on the first three quarters of the year, travel to the Caribbean has grown healthily, 5.2% up on the same period in 2018. The star source market has been the USA, with 56% share and 9.0% growth. However, other major origin markets have been mixed, with France down 2.2%, the UK down 4.7% and Argentina down 5.7%. However, Canada has been up 15.3%, Chile up 17.0% and the rest of the world up 1.4%.

This season’s most devastating hurricane, Dorian, which came at the end of August and early September, ravaged the most northerly parts of the Bahamas but left other parts relatively undamaged. The result is that some parts of the country saw a drop in arrivals, where others experienced a significant increase. Travel to Freeport and Marsh Harbour in September fell dramatically, by 50.9% and 67.9% respectively. The impact on Nassau, the capital and the largest airport, was more limited, as arrivals went down by 7.4%. Travel to Georgetown and North Eleuthera was up, 10.6% and 30.7% respectively.

Hurricanes have been a major scourge, affecting travel to the Caribbean in recent years, with some islands left badly damaged. ForwardKeys research shows that recovering from the impact of a major hurricane can take years. So far, it has taken Puerto Rico 15 months to reach 70% of pre-hurricane arrivals and it has taken St Maarten 20 months. In the case of the Bahamas, ForwardKeys expects the recovery to take less time because the initial rebound in both post-hurricane arrivals has been stronger: just one month after the hurricane, the Bahamas has reached 80% of pre-hurricane arrivals.

Joy Jibrilu, Director General, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism said: “The Bahamas is an archipelago with more than 700 islands and cays, spread over 100,000 square miles of ocean. Because of our unique geography, a hurricane can impact some parts of the country, but leave other parts untouched. That is the case with Hurricane Dorian. The majority of our country remains beautiful and palm-fringed, with unspoiled beaches in several shades of white and pink. We would like everyone to know that the best thing they can do for us right now is visit. Our beautiful island nation is ready to welcome you.”

Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, ForwardKeys, concluded: “What we have seen in recent years is that the Caribbean is an incredibly popular destination. When some parts of it have been hit with horrendous hurricanes and other issues, tourist did not give up on their desire for a holiday in paradise; they chose other parts of it to visit instead. We saw that syndrome earlier this year, when stories in the US media about tourists who had died in the Dominican Republic, caused bookings to collapse; however, other islands, most notably Jamaica, the Bahamas and Aruba saw a visitor surge.”

From left: Joy Jibrilu, director general of tourism, the Bahamas; Dominic Fedee, chairman, Caribbean Tourism Organization and minister of tourism for Saint Lucia; and Olivier Ponti, vice president, Insights ForwardKeys


Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, ITB & WTM

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New Today at WTM – Nov. 6

From expanding its presence in the UK, with a marketing strategy that includes adverts on taxi cabs, incredible print advertising and a planned television campaign, to the opening of the Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club in December to the recently signed MOU with Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean. These are just a few of the subjects that CEO of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Beverly Nicholson-Doty discusses in this interview.

Louis E A Lewis, CEO of the Tobago Tourism Authority, speaks about Tobago’s green initiative to showcase its natural assets, emphasise sustainability and ensure the product is at world quality standards. He also speaks about the Man in the Biosphere initiative – a UN designation – for at least 80 square kilometres of land in the main ridge rain forest.

Plus, an audience with the CTO, which includes from chairman Dominic Fedee, the Bahamas’ director general of tourism, Joy Jibrilu and Olivier Ponti, vice president – Insights, Forward Keys.

With several new properties opening in Curacao, CEO Paul Paul E Pennicook tells us about plans to get more Brits to visit. He also talks about a rebounding South American market and the rising number of Brazilian visitors.

The ground breaking for a new Six Senses hotel, additional flights, winning awards, making strides and how Lewis Hamilton can continue to bring recognition to Pure Grenada, are some of the topics minister Clarice Modeste-Curwen discusses in this interview.

“People just don’t realise how different it (the Caribbean) is, how diverse it is…They think because they’ve got dark skin and the sun shines that we all sitting around eating mangoes and ackee and salt fish for breakfast and curry goat and roti in the evening.” Celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott of Ainsley’s Caribbean Kitchen fame, talks about Caribbean cuisine, filming the show and his next project.

Look our later for later, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the BVI and more.
For photographs, visit https://www.facebook.com/johnson.johnrose/media_set?set=a.10157615468500883&type=3.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, ITB & WTM

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