CTO News

Belize tourism arrivals continue steady upward trend

Belize City, Wednesday, 11th July 2018: The latest statistics for the middle of 2018 shows that tourism arrivals to Belize continue to register groundbreaking levels and moving on a steady upward trend. Overnight tourism arrivals in June registered double digit increases for the past three consecutive years while the first half of the year registered a 17.1% cumulative increase.

During the month of June, cruise ship arrivals registered a 57.2% increase while at the end of the first half of this year, there was also an overall increase of 10.2% in cruise visitors to Belize as compared to the first half of 2017.

OVERNIGHT ARRIVALS REGISTERED 17% INCREASE OVER FIRST HALF OF THE YEAR

Overnight tourist arrivals increased by 15% in June 2018. Overnight arrivals in June have increased by at least 10% in each of the past three years. Arrivals in June and July have closely approached the high season numbers of January and February, particularly over the past six years. There is a 17% cumulative increase in overnight arrivals over the first half of the year.

CRUISE SHIP ARRIVALS FOR FIRST HALF OF 2018 EXPERIENCED 10.2% INCREASE

In June 2018, there were 20 cruise ship calls which amounted to over 73,000 cruise passengers arriving in Belize.  This represented a sizeable increase of 57.2% or over 26,000 more cruise visitors when compared to June 2017. At the end of the first half of the year, there has been an overall increase of 10.2% in cruise visitors as compared to the first half of 2017. Arrivals for 2018 includes visitors from both Belize City and Harvest Caye Seaports.

Another exceptional increase in tourism arrivals is a reaffirmation of significant gains for our country that continues to be a growing, viable and a must-visit destination in Central America and the Caribbean. It is also illustrative of the extremely successful efforts of the Belize Tourism Board and our valued stakeholders to market Belize as a Curious Place and as a premier tourism destination.

About the Belize Tourism Board

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is a statutory body within the Belize Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, and it is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation. The BTB works in conjunction with members of the private sector – including the Belize Hotel Association, Belize Tourism Industry Association and Belize National Tour Operators Association – and is dedicated to building tourism in the most economically and environmentally sustainable manner. As a part of its responsibilities, the BTB promotes Belize as a premier tourism destination to both in-country and international consumers. Among its outreach to the international travel market, the BTB markets the country’s unique attractions to travelers, members of the travel trade industry and media outlets in key markets.

The BTB is also dedicated to developing and implementing tourism programs that will help strengthen and grow the Belizean tourism industry; promote good destination stewardship; and instil high quality standards for accommodations and travel experiences. For more information on the BTB and its services, visit www.travelbelize.org.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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St. Kitts Reaches the ‘Million Mark’

Basseterre, St. Kitts (July 16, 2018) – The St. Kitts Tourism Authority and Ministry of Tourism are pleased to announce that St. Kitts received its millionth cruise passenger today, reaching the key number of arrivals that gives the island marquee port status for the first time in its history.

“I am deeply gratified to welcome over one million cruise passengers to our shores as of today,” said the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce. “It is particularly significant that this historic occasion is taking place now, as we have over two months left in the 2017-2018 cruise season to increase arrivals even further. Reaching this milestone at this point in time is truly a testament to the strength of our relationships with the cruise lines and to the continuing appeal of our tourism product.”

CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority Ms. Racquel Brown added, “In the highly competitive Caribbean cruise marketplace, exceeding the million passenger mark for the first time is a highly significant achievement that is a direct result of our successful marketing strategy. Having reached this benchmark, St. Kitts is now considered by the cruise lines to be in the same elite port status category as much larger destinations in the region. Cruise passengers clearly enjoy our diverse range of activities and friendly, welcoming people, and we are working hard to ensure that we keep the ships and their guests returning to our shores.”

St. Kitts reached the one million cruise passenger mark this morning with the arrival of guests from Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas. The ship, which has a capacity of 3,782 guests at double occupancy, docked at the island’s Port Zante cruise pier at 8:00am. Tourism Minister Lindsay Grant led the welcome delegation and selected the millionth passenger upon disembarkation, who was treated to a complimentary ½ island tour. The historic occasion was further commemorated with special t-shirts given to arriving passengers and everyone being treated to an experience of the island’s culture with live performances by a steel pan band, masquerades and more in a grand celebration befitting the importance of the milestone.

“We are very pleased to be the cruise line that brought the millionth passenger to St. Kitts,” said Federico Gonzalez, Associate Vice President, Government Relations Latin America & Caribbean, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “The island is a long-time, valued industry partner that offers our guests the opportunity to expore lush natural beauty, rich heritage, a wide range of attractions. In addition, our parternship with the tourism team and their ongoing work to continually improve the infrastructure, services and amenities in St. Kitts showcases why it is one of ourdestinations of choice for our Caribbean itineraries.”

So far this season, the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. cruise lines, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, have made a total of 102 port calls to St. Kitts, bringing over 350,000 cruise visitors to island. Including calls from all international cruise lines over the nine-month period from October 2017-June 2018, the total number of cruise ship calls into St. Kitts grew from 358 to 486 as compared to the same period from 2016-2017, an increase of over 35 percent.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Taste of Belize 2018 to feature the best of Belizean Cuisine

Belize City, Tuesday 10th July, 2018:   A dazzling display of Belizean culinary ingenuity and mixology will be the apogee of this year’s Taste of Belize, the BTB’s signature culinary competition, to be held this year on Saturday, July 21st at the Ramada Belize City Princess.

The event will feature Belize’s finest chefs and bartenders vying for trophies and cash prizes in four main categories, including Pastry Chef of the Year, Junior Chef of the Year, Bartender of the Year and the Master Chef of the Year.

Taste of Belize is organized by the BTB every two years with the aim to recognize and promote Belizean culinary creativity where chefs are able to entice a panel of judges with delicious cuisines. The last Taste of Belize was in 2016.

The winners of the various categories will represent Belize in next year’s Taste of the Caribbean, the region’s premier culinary competition, food & beverage educational exchange and Caribbean cultural showcase.

Speakers at the opening ceremony will include BTB’s Director of Tourism, Karen Bevans, among others.

Numerous chefs and bartenders from throughout Belize are expected to participate in this year’s event. For further information on Taste of Belize please visit the BTB website on the following link.

http://www.belizetourismboard.org/programs-events/btb-signature-events/taste-of-belize/

The BTB invites everyone to come out and cheer for your favorite contender and enjoy succulent and mouth-watering Belizean cuisine.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Nominations Sought for International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame Local Honourees

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (7 July 2018) The Ministry and Department of Tourism announces the call for nominations for Honourees in the 2018 International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF).

Honourees are categorised as persons who have made a significant contribution to scuba and watersports in the Cayman Islands.  New this year, an additional category titled the Emerging Honourees will be added to recognize persons in the industry under the age of 35.

“As a destination built on the foundations of our maritime heritage, we are exceedingly proud each year to recognise those in our community who have played a role in the Cayman Islands being recognised as one of the best dive locations in the world,” shared Hon. Minister of Tourism, Moses Kirkconnell.  “I encourage everyone in the community to put forward nominations for persons who have helped develop this unique building block of our tourism industry.”

Founded in 2000 by the Cayman Islands Ministry of Tourism, the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame recognises international and local pioneers who have made outstanding contributions to the recreational scuba diving industry at the annual ceremony held in Grand Cayman.

“It is important to find those people who through visionary leadership helped create Cayman as a scuba diving hub. There are still many people in the Cayman Islands that have not received the recognition they are due. Being inducted as an honouree has rejuvenated my passion to teach young Caymanians the importance this industry has on the community,” said current honouree, Mr Stephen Broadbelt.

To be considered for the nominations, individuals should have made a significant contribution to the area of dive in the Cayman Islands through development, promotion, positive environmental impact or education, to name a few. To nominate an individual please visit the website www.nominatedive.com. The deadline for submissions is noon on Wednesday, 8 August 2018.

For more information on the nominations process, please visit the website www.nominatedive.com or email [email protected].  The ISDHF gala awards dinner takes place on Friday, 14 September 2018.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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NORWEGIAN AIR HAS INCREASES SERVICE FROM THE U.S. TO MARTINIQUE

New York – June 21st, 2018 | Norwegian, Europe’s Best Low-Cost Airline and Value Airline of the Year 2018, announced 3 major news today; following successful winter seasons from the North East Coast  to Martinique, Norwegian is increasing its U.S. winter seasonal routes to Martinique:

  • The Fort Lauderdale to Martinique service will resume on October 31, 2018, with four flights weekly. It represents an increase from three flights per week during winter 2017/18.
  • The New York-JFK to Martinique service will resume on October 28, 2018, with six flights, two flights more than the previous seaon.

The award winning airline also announced a new four times weekly route from Martinique to Cayenne in French Guiana. The winter seasonal service from Martinique to Cayenne – Félix Eboué Airport Cayenne will launch on October 31, 2018, and operate four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Another major news is that Norwegian Air is also opening a new route from Canada; the airline will launch seasonal service from Montréal, to Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport on November 1, 2018, and operate three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Launch fares start as low as $219 CAD one-way, including taxes and will operate during the winter season until end of March, 2019.

“We are very pleased with Norwegian’s increase of air service from the United States and with the new route between our island and French Guiana. The new service from Montreal to Fort-de-France is also excellent news. The additional offer provided by Norwegian will make Martinique more accessible than ever and increase traffic from and to this crucial Canadian market. This is an opportunity for us to expand our reach and showcase Martinique Magnifique, its multiple assets, its vibrant culture, its authenticity, along with the warmth of its people. We are looking forward to see more and more Quebecois making Martinique their own!” said Karine Mousseau, Martinique Tourism Commissioner.

“Norwegian is excited to return for its third season to the magnificent island of Martinique, this year expanding our service to Cayenne and Montreal. We were the first airline in more than 20 years to link Martinique to New York City and we will now be the only airline to connect the French Caribbean with both Canada and the United States, as well as French Guiana, » said Thomas Ramdahl, Chief Commercial Officer, Norwegian.

“The new opening from Montreal and Cayenne, as well as the increase of the existing service from New York and Fort Lauderdale, are the concrete results of the efforts made by the Martinique Tourism Authority and all stakeholders, to position Martinique as a destination of choice on the market of the Americas adds Karine Mousseau. “This increase also represents a pledge of trust from Norwegian Air, which has become a proactive and efficient partner over the seasons, seeing our island as a must-visit destination for their passengers. “

Norwegian operates one of the world’s youngest fleets; Boeing 737-800s will serve the Island for the season.

All fares are now available for sale on Norwegian’s  American and Canadian websites.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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American Airlines Introduces Daily Flights to Barbados from Charlotte, NC

American Airlines has announced the addition of non-stop, daily service from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) beginning December 19, 2018. This announcement comes just weeks after the carrier unveiled its third daily flight from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Barbados, which is also set to launch December 19.

The island anticipates a demand for additional flight service given the growth in U.S. arrival numbers, which have risen year after year. In 2017, Barbados welcomed 188,970 U.S. visitors – a 30-year high – and the country is showing no signs of slowing down. “Our airline partners have been instrumental in the growth of visitation from the United States. This new service signals tremendous confidence in Barbados and constitutes a 100% increase in seat capacity into and out of the island.” said Barbados’ newly appointed Minister of Tourism and International Transport, the Honorable Kerrie Symmonds. “Increased service to these important cities will help to ensure another year of record passenger arrivals to our destination.”

High-level airline partnerships have been a cornerstone effort for the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI).  This strategy has led to increased airlift and the introduction of new gateways including Fort Lauderdale, Boston and Newark.

Alfredo Gonzalez, Managing Director – Caribbean, American Airlines described Barbados as a, destination in high demand and noted, “One month after announcing additional service to Barbados from our Miami hub, we’re thrilled to continue growing our presence in the island with new daily service from our Charlotte hub, both operating during the winter. As the demand continues to grow over the years, today we’re proud to serve as the leading U.S. airline in the island with up to 28 weekly flights.”

Tickets for the new route went on sale June 17.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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