CTO News

Replace Buffet Dinners, Minibars with Secluded Suppers, Caribbean Hotels Advised

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (29 April, 2020) – Caribbean hotels may have to scrap conveniences such as buffets and drinks stations and reduce the sitting capacity of à la carte restaurants in order to attract post-COVID-19 guests, suggest two hospitality experts.

Instead, they will have to find creative ways to attend to customers, like serving dinner in secluded areas on the beach, say Emile Gourieux and Rico Louw, senior managers at STR, a Tennessee, USA-based firm that tracks supply and demand data for multiple market sectors, including the global hotel industry.

“We may never return to travel as normal, as we understood it before. Things like buffet breakfast may never be seen again. So there’s a lot of things that we need to rethink,” says Gourieux, STR’s hotel sector business development executive in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. “At least at the very beginning of recovery when people are coming back, people are going to be very leery about close contact. So, the hotels that succeed and thrive are going to be the ones that find a way to address that anxiety. So more in-room dining option for families, a lot of all-inclusives have different dining options where you have the buffet, that’s going to be tough. Even ala carte, they’re going to have to cut capacity by half to allow that [social]distancing. So where hotels can add value in comfort and confidence that’s going to be a plus. Offering a special dinner on a beach where you secluded and comfortable, that’s going to be a plus.”

“A buffet may be totally out of the question in terms of moving forward, [so will] minibars,” adds Louw, the senior account manager and client liaison at STR.

Gourieux and Louw are guests on the latest episode of a podcast series produced by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), entitled, COVID-19: The Unwanted Visitor, where they address what the Caribbean hospitality sector could look like in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis which has brought tourism to a virtual standstill.

The podcast is available on several platforms, including Anchor and Spotify, as well on the CTO’s Facebook page.

Both senior managers emphasise the enormity of the challenge ahead for the region’s hospitality sector, which recorded occupancy of under six per cent during the week of 12 April, and a fall in revenue of over 80 per cent.

They say it’s difficult to predict when arrivals will return to pre-pandemic levels, noting that based on several factors, including airlift, it could be up to three years before parity is achieved.

The STR experts say the global pandemic will have a serious impact on people’s pockets and the confidence to travel.

“Anytime somebody sneezes or coughs on a plane or in a restaurant, or anywhere near you, everyone is going to get a little nervous,” says Gourieux

To listen to this episode of the podcast series and hear more of STR’s recommendations for change, please visit https://anchor.fm/onecaribbean.

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which is headquartered in Barbados, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish-speaking, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year-round, warm weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

Among the benefits to its members the organisation provides specialised support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution and research & information technology.

The CTO’s Headquarters is located at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados BB 22026; Tel: (246) 427-5242; Fax: (246) 429-3065; E-mail: [email protected];

For more information on the Caribbean Tourism Organization, please visit www.OneCaribbean.org and follow CTO on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to be part of the conversation.


Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Discover Puerto Rico First to Offer Live Guided Tours Through Google Earth

As most of us enter another week of shelter-in-place mandates, Discover Puerto Rico is the first destination to entertain and educate would-be tourists by transporting them through Google Earth on live guided tours throughout the Island. Jorge Montalvo from Patria Tours will be hosting a series of three live guided tours utilizing Google Earth, during National Travel and Tourism Week (May 3-9). Participants will feel like they are actually in Puerto Rico, seeing the Island’s natural wonders, off the beaten path experiences, and cultural offerings, with the ability to interact and ask questions along the way.

Discover Puerto Rico is the first destination to offer live guided tours via Google Earth, transporting at-home wanderlusters to iconic locations on the Island such as Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Toro Verde in Orocovis and Domes Beach in Rincón (pictured left to right), during National Travel and Tourism Week (May 3-9). Credit: DiscoverPuertoRico.com

“With nearly 73 percent of Americans saying they miss travel1, we want to continue offering travelers ways to vacation virtually,” said Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico. “Through these and other activations we’ve been offering, we’ve not only been able to keep Puerto Rico top of mind, reminding travelers of everything that will be waiting for them when the time is right to travel again, but it’s also given us the opportunity to highlight valued members of the local tourism industry,” he added.

To join the free live guided tours, lasting approximately 30 minutes each, at-home wanderlusters should tune in to Discover Puerto Rico’s Facebook page .

  • Tuesday, May 5, starting at 5:00PM EST: “Discover the natural wonders of Puerto Rico” like El Yunque (the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest Service), bioluminescent bays in Vieques (Puerto Rico has three of the world’s five), Playa Negra (famous “black sand beach,”) Cueva Ventana (a historical cave with an iconic window-like opening that looks out over the lush surroundings), and much more.
  • Friday, May 8, starting at 5:00PM EST: “Off the beaten path in Puerto Rico,” offering an overview of Ponce (the second largest city in Puerto Rico), Rincón (where major surfing competitions take place), Culebra and Flamenco Beach (rated as one of the best beaches in the world), Gilligan’s Island (a mysterious mangrove Island where travelers can find shallow crystal water that’s ideal for snorkeling), and much more.
  • Wednesday, May 13, starting at 5:00PM EST: “Road-tripping across Puerto Rico,” including cultural sites such as historic lighthouses and colonial buildings like Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal (which together form part of the San Juan National Historic Site), the Guajataca Tunnel (built in 1904, this tunnel crosses the mountain from Playa Guajataca to Playa Mirador), Cara del Indio (an impressive rock sculpture of the Cacique (chief) Mabodamaca), and much more.

Follow Discover Puerto Rico’s social channels on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date, and for more information about Puerto Rico, visit DiscoverPuertoRico.com.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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Antigua and Barbuda Webinars Prepare Travel Agents for Destination Re-opening

JOHN’S, ANTIGUA (April 27, 2020) – As the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Industry prepares for the eventual re-opening of airports once it becomes safe to travel, the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) has arranged a series of webinars within each of its  major source markets, to inform the trade of destination developments related to covid-19, and to support travel agents eager to use their downtime to sharpen their product knowledge.

Webinar sessions have occurred in the United States, Canadian, United Kingdom and European markets, and have focused on showcasing the destination’s key selling points, as well as capturing insight from the agents as to the consumer sentiment within their markets.

“This is the ideal time for travel agents to improve their destination knowledge. We want to ensure our agents are prepared so that when their clients begin inquiring about beach destinations once again, they will be ready to confidently sell the destination, and our diverse and exciting range of product”, said CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C. James.

The Tourism Authority’s online training sessions have attracted many attendees, with each session hosting over one hundred agents.

Over in the USA, Sales and Marketing Manager for the ABTA USA, Norrell Joseph said, “We hosted a webinar with over 800 registrants. This is a first in a series of webinars we will host to keep the destination ‘top of mind’ while being sensitive to the current circumstances.”

“As well as attracting the Antigua and Barbuda champions, our webinars have attracted a new cadre of agents, said ABTA’s UK based Business Development Manager Joel Henry. Henry shared feedback derived from one agent, who commented, “I have never had the pleasure of travelling to Antigua or Barbuda but after yesterday I think it will be the next place I have to tick off on my travel list. Plus it’s great to have as a go-to when selling travel to clients.

ABTA’s Canadian Team strategically created and executed an engaging webinar dubbed “Home-schooled, with Antigua and Barbuda’.

“It is our conclusion that, at the end of this current crisis, the travel advisor will have an even greater relevance to the consumer. Therefore, we continue working to ensure we maintain a strong travel agent community which is keen on selling Antigua and Barbuda to our Canadian market and further afield” said Sales and Marketing Manager in Canada, Tameka Wharton.

Members of the travel trade based in Antigua and Barbuda, are not being left out of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s outreach efforts and learning sessions.

A free Social Media Marketing webinar will take place on Wednesday 29 April 2020 at 10:00 a.m. for those within the industry keen to gain insight into tips for marketing their business on social media, during the time of Covid-19. Michael Ball, co-founder of Traverse, a London based influencer marketing and events company, will be the guest speaker. Registration can be done at:



The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority will also offer a webinar for travel agents located within the Caribbean region.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19), Destination News

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Tourism Hosts National Salute by Sound in Grenada to Show Gratitude to Essential Workers

St. George’s, Grenada W.I. – April 27, 2020 – In a nationwide show of appreciation to the hard working frontline personnel throughout Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, the Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation along with the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), hosted ‘Salute with Sound’ on Friday, April 24, 2020 at 7.00pm.

Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen was grateful for the tremendous show of support and gratitude throughout the nation with citizens clapping, blowing horns, banging pots and playing musical instruments amongst other sounds for the five minute duration of the exercise. She informed that though the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) remains closed, “the Ministry and the GTA are working with our valued airline and cruise line partners towards the day when the country will reopen for travel”. A public announcement will be made in that case but in the meantime she reiterated the need to have a safer and cleaner Grenada for Tourism to recover in the tri-island destination and all stakeholders are working strategically together to make that happen.

The country has confirmed a total of 18 COVID-19 cases to date with most of the cases being import or import related and 7 cases have fully recovered. Grenada is still under a limited state of emergency with restrictions being lifted cautiously on a weekly basis. Currently, Grenadians have Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays where they can leave their homes with masks to carry out essential tasks during the daytime. Otherwise, everyone is required to stay at home and stay safe as Government ensures that the health and wellbeing of the citizens and visitors on our shores is safeguarded.

Please click on the link Saluting our heroes in Pure Grenada to see the Thank you video prepared by the Grenada Tourism Authority for the essential and frontline workers.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Caribbean Airlines Cargo Launches Charter Service

Trinidad and Tobago, April 27, 2020,  Caribbean Airlines introduces cargo charter services to support supply chains within the  Caribbean region.

The airline launched this new option to meet the growing demand for cargo uplift to a number of Caribbean islands, which are now experiencing significantly reduced cargo capacity with the closure of borders to passenger aircraft, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Caribbean Airlines Cargo will utilize the airline’s fleet of Boeing 737-800 and ATR-72 aircraft, offering up to 18,000 pounds for the movement of essential goods to and from destinations, including but not limited to, Antigua, Barbados, Curacao, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Nassau, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Charter flights will be subject to the regulatory approvals of each jurisdiction and airport.

The airline continues to operate its scheduled 767 freighter flights, offering up to 120,000 pounds of cargo capacity to and from its hub in Miami.

Marklan Moseley, General Manager Cargo, Caribbean Airlines states “In these unprecedented times, our cargo operations are crucial to securing the urgent supply of essential goods within the Caribbean. We will continue to adapt our business in order to meet the evolving needs of our valued customers”.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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