CTO News

Antigua and Barbuda Announces Play it Out Concert to Ban Plastic Pollution with Machel Montano

Antigua and Barbuda (May 2, 2019) – Grammy Nominated Artist and soca King of the World, Machel Montano joins forces with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, the United Nations and Norway to combat plastic pollution.

The Hodges Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua’s newest, luxury resort nestled on turquoise blue waters on the northern side of the island is the backdrop for today’s press conference announcing the ‘Play it Out’ concert. The star-studded, global event is to be held in Antigua on June 1 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honorable Gaston Browne; Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, the Hon. Molwyn Joseph; and Minister of Sports, Culture, National Festivals and the Arts, the Honorable Daryll Matthew welcome special guest, and friend to Antigua and Barbuda, Machel Montano as one of the headliners at the upcoming ‘Play it Out’ concert to tackle plastic pollution.

“Plastic pollution is a global issue that spans borders and my government recognizes the urgency and the responsibility we all must undertake as citizens of this planet in combating the effects of plastic pollution. As the first country in the region to ban the use of single-use plastics, Antigua and Barbuda is committed to making a difference and leading by example,” said Prime Minister Browne. We are excited and honored that Antigua and Barbuda will be the host of this unique, global event that will bring awareness to this issue.  As a country heavily vested in tourism we recognize that we must do everything in our power to preserve our precious oceans and marine life and to stop the effects of plastic pollution for good.”

Up to 12 million tons of plastic enter our oceans every year, harming plants, animals, coastal communities and entering our food chain. Plastic can be seen in every corner of the world and the impacts are wide. Whales have washed up on shores, having choked on plastic bags. Adventurers have spotted lumps of polystyrene packaging floating in the Southern Ocean, one of the most remote parts of the earth. Even tests on bottled water from all corners of the globe have found microscopic plastic particles in every sample.

Along with Machel Montano, the concert, which aims to Play it Out to Phase it Out, will be co-headlined by Grammy Award-Winning Singer/Actress Ashanti, who will be visiting Antigua and Barbuda for the first time. Joining the pair will be a lineup of artists and performers covering different regions, demographics and music styles. They include American indie-rock band St. Lucia; Bomba Estéreo, an electric-duo hailing from Colombia; Nico & Vinz, an R&B act from Norway; Rocky Dawuni, Ghana’s premiere reggae artist and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador; and Grammy-nominated German DJ/producer Robin Schulz. The event will also feature top local artists, including Ricardo Drue and Claudette Peters. Antigua’s Kanneh-Masons, who performed at the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, will also perform.

Additionally, the concert will feature an array of speakers including dignitaries, policymakers, celebrities, and representatives from the scientific, philanthropic and academic communities. This includes actor, co-founder of Lonely Whale, and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador, Adrian Grenier.

The concert, set for 1 June in Antigua, will see an audience of up to 20,000 people attend live, with thousands more following online at http://webtv.un.org/.


The ‘Play it Out’ concert is part of the Campaign Against Plastic Pollution, launched by the President of the UN General Assembly in December of 2018, and is aimed at tackling plastic waste both on the global level as well as within the UN itself. The concert will be hosted by the Government of Antigua and supported by the Government of Norway. Other campaign supporters include the Government of Monaco, the Government of Qatar, UN Environment, UNOPS, TKG | The Krim Group, National Geographic and Lonely Whale.


“As a musician, my main occupation is creation, which means you start looking at the environment and nature around you. I wrote a children’s book called Boy Boy and the Magic Drum about Trinidad in which I pointed out that our nation has been recycling for over 150 years by turning dirty oil drums into steel drums for music. I have also become vegan and meditate to have a healthier relationship with the environment. It is also challenging to find a way to do carnival in a responsible manner while keeping the culture alive. This is why I am involved in projects like this and my music brings a message which I believe is positive and inspirational.” – Machel Montano

“Antigua And Barbuda is my home and I am proud of the fact that we are taking the ban on plastics seriously by being the first country in the Caribbean to put this into policy. With tourism being our main industry, our oceans are vital to our survival and I am honoured to be a part of this concert and this Global movement” – Ricardo Drue

As an island girl, the beaches are such an important part of my life, and I want to keep them clean and free of plastics. I am so proud that this concert is taking place in Antigua and I jumped at the opportunity to lend my voice and talents to this important cause. We must all do our part to fight plastic pollution, Play it out! – Claudette Peters

“We can no longer afford the cost of single-use plastic, on our health, oceans and ecosystems. Initiatives like ‘Play it Out’ are important because they galvanize people, communities and leaders to take the kind of transformative action we need to secure the future for people and planet.” – Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director, UN Environment Hashtags: #PlayitOut #BeatPlasticPollution

“We are excited to be able to support the UN efforts to fight against pollution in our oceans. Coming from Norway we have always had such a close relationship with the water and marine life. We want to make sure we can preserve and improve the quality of our oceans for future generations.” – Nico and Vinz

“Since 2017, Bomba Estéreo has been working on the campaign #SiembraConciencia to create awareness for environmental issues with fans around the world. We believe that change must come from individuals, not politicians. When people change small habits, it can reduce a huge impact on the earth. We’re 7 billion. Any small change in our daily habits is enormous. We also work on promoting conservation for Colombia’s most vulnerable ecosystems. We are currently creating a song with Parley for the Oceans based on whale sounds. So, we’re very pleased to be part of this event to help spread this essential message!” – Bomba Estereo

“Plastics or plastic particles have been found everywhere from the Mariana Trench to the inside of whales to the tops of the Pyrenees; clearly this is a global problem that needs to be addressed. St. Lucia is very excited to lend our voice to the cause and Play it Out 2 Phase it Out.” – St. Lucia

“We consume plastic at a rate that is almost hard to imagine… up to a trillion plastic bags a year! And that’s just the bags, what about all of the other items that are out there, floating in our oceans or clogging our streams. I hate to think of what

will happen if we continue on this course. This concert is about getting people and companies and countries on board; it’s about changing how we produce and consume; it’s about saving the world around us.” – Robin Schulz

“We are at a decisive moment in the history of humanity where we need action across cultures, peoples and nations to address the urgent issue of plastic pollution. As musicians and players of instruments, we have a unique and pivotal role to amplify this urgency and spur people to immediate action.” – Rocky Dawuni

“Our work to put an end to plastic pollution is critical now more than ever, which is why I am supporting the President of the General Assembly’s concert and its message of collaboration and its spotlight on tangible solutions. We have seen excellent examples of collaboration in the Caribbean where regional governments, the UN, and civil society groups have worked together to ban single-use plastics. I look forward to celebrating what we can achieve together alongside the President of the General Assembly, the UN Environment and my organization Lonely Whale.” – Adrian Grenier

Website: https://www.un.org/pga/73/

Antigua and Barbuda Plastic and Styrofoam Ban “One Bag at a Time” Video Documentary http://bit.ly/onebagatatime

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Gay Nagle Myers to Receive CTO’s Award of Excellence at Caribbean Week

NEW YORK, NY (24 April 2019) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) will present its “Award of Excellence” to Gay Nagle Myers, senior editor for Travel Weekly, for her compelling and influential stories that effectively communicate the allure of the Caribbean. The prestigious award recognises journalists and travel writers whose coverage of the region over an extended period has been par excellence.

Myers will be honoured during the Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards gala which recognises exceptionalism in promoting the Caribbean and honours individuals whose outstanding, passionate and dedicated work has contributed to the development and success of the region. The esteemed awards dinner takes place on Thursday, 6 June from 7 – 10 p.m. at the Wyndham New Yorker (481 Eighth Avenue) during Caribbean Week New York (#CWNY2019), when the Big Apple is captivated with Caribbean flair, pulsating energy and colourful sounds.

“I am humbled and honoured to be receiving this Award of Excellence from CTO. The Caribbean region is near and dear to my heart and continues to play a major role in my career as a journalist,” said Myers. “I’m grateful to CTO for its role in my Caribbean coverage over the years. CTO continues to be a source of news and interviews, always responsive to my questions and helpful with the answers. I am thankful for CTO’s continued support and professional staff, many of whom I consider as friends.”

Myers is the Caribbean editor for Travel Weekly and has been with the publication longer than most of the hotels she writes about have been welcoming guests. She reports on, and travels to, sun, sand and sea destinations on the tourist circuit and off the beaten path. Myers joined Travel Weekly in 1985 after several years as a writer and publisher for other leading travel publications.

“It is with both respect and admiration that the Caribbean Tourism Organization recognises Gay for her drive and commitment to positioning the Caribbean as a charming and important region,” said Sylma Brown, director, CTO-USA. “This is just a small way of saying ‘thank you’ for the contributions she has made over the years, bringing the region to readers through her creative writing pieces,” she added.

In addition to the Award of Excellence, CTO will present the Caribbean Travel Media Awards, the CTO Allied Awards comprising of the “Jerry”, the Allied and a Special Recognition Award, the Diaspora and Lifetime Achievement awards, as well as the Jamaica-sponsored Marcia Vickery-Wallace and Marcella Martinez memorial awards.

Tickets for the dinner can be purchased online only via https://www.caribbeanweek.com/events/caribbean-tourism-industry-awards-dinner/.

About Caribbean Week New York:

Caribbean Week New York is the largest regional tourism activity in the New York area. Artistes, performers, celebrity chefs, the Diaspora, investors and other strategic partners join government officials and the media for a week of festivities designed to raise awareness of the Caribbean’s diverse tourism industry and provide opportunities for member destinations to promote their individual products and services, participate in meetings, seminars and other business development activities to further enhance the Caribbean brand, and provide updates and critical support to travel agents and the media who influence key travel demographics.

Caribbean Week is supported by: Academy Engraving, American Express, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bedessee Sports The British Virgin Islands, Bloomingdale’s, Blue Waters, Calabash Cove Resort & Spa, Cayman Islands, Cititech Solutions, Coyaba Beach Resort, Cool Tech Air Conditioning and Refrigeration LLC, Delta Airlines, Dominica, Doctor’s Cave, Four Season Resort Nevis, Grace, Grenada, Half Moon, Haiti, Jamaica, James Beard Foundation, JetBlue, La Martinique, Ocean Terrace Inn, Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Sandals, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Saint Lucia, The Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, Travel+Leisure, Williams-Sonoma.

To participate in, or sponsor any Caribbean Week New York event, visit www.caribbeanweek.com; email [email protected] or call +1212-636-9350.

CTO members receive special concessions when they participate in Caribbean Week New York. To find out more about membership visit http://bit.ly/alliedmembers or email [email protected].

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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It Is Almost Time To Connect!

Three weeks away from the May 1 start of the premier business-to-business marketplace, Connect Barbados, with over 100 participants – inclusive of 56 tour operators, have already registered to come and meet with local tourism partners including attraction providers and hoteliers.

Under the theme ‘Breathing Power into Business Connections’, the three-day conference is now in its 14th year. Tour operators have been invited from Barbados’ main source markets – the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Europe and Caribbean and Latin America. Tour operators such as: Air Canada Vacations, Virgin Holidays and Expedia Group, to name a few have already registered to come learn about what is new in Destination Barbados.

Connect Barbados is an annual conference providing opportunities to island operators to sell Barbados’ holiday products to invited tour operators in all of the island’s major source markets.

The marketplace allows global travel partners to learn about and experience the latest product and service developments on the island, while affording local partners the occasion to thank them for the tremendous contribution they continue to make the success of Barbados’ premier economic sector.

BTMI CEO, William ‘Billy’ Griffith, mentioned, “We are positively anticipating to surpass the 1,200 meeting appointments from Connect 2018 as we once again welcome and share our beautiful product with participating tour operators. Being able to connect our local service providers with the agents who have direct contact with potential visitors to Barbados will be extremely vital to both parties.”

This year, as we celebrate the Year of Wellness and Soft Adventure, tour operators will be treated to an outdoor welcome reception as they kick their feet in the sand at the “Feet in the Sand Beach Party, featuring top local entertainment and cuisine, before proceeding to two full days of business-to-business meetings at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

To close out the highly-anticipated conference, a special final evening reception will be held at the prestigious Harrison’s Cave and tour operators will get the opportunity to tour the cave first-hand. On the final day, participants will tour the island for a diverse Attractions Day, inspecting places of interest based on their specialities.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Growing romance tourism in Tobago

The Tobago Tourism Agency Limited (TTAL) is making strides to capitalize on global travel trends and position the island as a premier romance destination through targeted marketing initiatives.

One of these initiatives by the Agency is attendance at niche specific trade and consumer shows in source markets to generate viable leads from key stakeholders in the romance travel industry, which is one of the four brand pillars of the new Tobago Beyond branding strategy.

In the past month, the Agency attended the National Wedding Show in the United Kingdom from April 13 to 14, the L. Edwin Caribbean Wedding and Events Exposition in Trinidad from March 30 to 31, and partnered with local romance niche stakeholders for the “Love in Tobago” interactive wedding show on April 13, 2019.

Read more: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tobago-tourism-agency/media-release-growing-romance-tourism-in-tobago/2031212150520270/

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Hugh Riley Retires as CTO Secretary General After Ten Years at the Helm

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (23 April, 2019) – The region’s tourism development agency is to begin the search for a new secretary general to replace the departing Hugh Riley.

Riley, who was appointed to the top post at the Barbados-headquartered Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in August 2009 after acting for a year, has gone on pre-retirement leave ahead of his departure at the end of June this year. The organisation’s director of finance, Neil Walters, will act in the position until a successor is appointed.

The secretary general is the public face and chief spokesperson of the CTO, and provides the organisation with visionary leadership, strong direction and clarity to its policy development. The holder of the post is responsible for implementing the vision of the organisation based on the strategic direction set by the council of ministers and commissioners of tourism and the CTO board of directors.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Jason deCaires Taylor Recognized For His Outstanding Contribution

St. George’s, Grenada – April 15, 2019 – World-renowned sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has been specially recognized by the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) for his outstanding work in creating the World’s first Underwater Sculpture Park in the island. Between 2006 and 2009, Taylor founded the Park in Grenada which was listed as one of the Top 25 Wonders of the World by National Geographic. His concrete sculptures based on people, history and folklore eventually become alive by supporting the sustainable growth of the colorful reefs in Molinere Bay.

Subsequently, this park became a marine protected area thanks to the Government of Grenada’s pledge to preserve 20% of its coastal waters. The Sculpture Park includes art installations such as Vicissitudes (famously known as the Circle of Children), Grace Reef, the Lost Correspondent and the Unstill Life to name a few.

As a gesture of gratitude to Jason Taylor for his work, the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) hosted a dinner with representatives of the Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation, the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association (GHTA), the Grenada Scuba Divers Association (GSDA), the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Management Inc.(GUSMI), and the Grenada Arts Council. At the dinner, Taylor was presented with a special nutmeg designed award for his contribution to the destination’s unique selling points.

The GTA extends special thanks to members of the GHTA namely the Coyaba Beach Resort, True Blue Bay Resort and Maca Bana Villas for their support in hosting Mr. Taylor and his family during their recent stay in Grenada.

At the Sculpture Park, visitors are taken to the area by local tour operators and they can either sail, snorkel or dive to experience this stunning and unique experience. Tripexperts have rated this experience as the number one attraction in Grenada in 2019 based on online reviews, searches and clicks.

Jason Taylor is famous for integrating contemporary art into conservation with marine life. He has continued his artwork in Mexico, in the Bahamas and in Spain. He travels all over the world for his work and he is currently engaged on a project in Australia.

Tourism stakeholders in Grenada have continued his good work with additional sculptures such as the ‘Nutmeg Princess’ and the ‘Selfie Statue’. The GTA hosted a competition in 2018 to encourage local talent to create new sculptures. The winning submission dubbed “Wet Fete” includes the Carnival characters Shakespeare Mas, Wild Indian, Jab Jab, Shortknee and Vieux Corps. The plan is to add these sculptures to the Underwater Sculpture Park in the coming years.

Photo: Jason deCaires Taylor Receives Award from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation Arlene Buckmire Outram

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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