CTO News

Nevis Postpones Annual Summer Festival

Nevis Mango & Food Festival Moved to 2021

New York, NY, April 15, 2020 – The global community is in the grip of the COVID-19 virus, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, in accordance with the policies of the St. Kitts and Nevis government, the annual Nevis Mango and Food Festival 2020 will not take place this year. This decision has been made out of an abundance of caution, with the well-being, safety and health of both residents and visitors in mind.

The 3-day Nevis Mango and Food Festival, slated to take place on the 4th of July weekend, has become a fixture on culinary calendars for foodies. Chefs from across the region, along with a visiting celebrity chef, embrace an epic culinary challenge, totally dedicated to the mango and the creative cuisine inspired by mangos. The only caveat is that the mangos that are used must be one of the 40+ varieties that grow on the island. The festival is an initiative by the Nevis Tourism Authority and is now expected to take place next year, over the 4th of July weekend, 2021. elebrity Chefs

In making the announcement, the CEO of the Nevis Tourism Authority, Ms. Jadine Yarde, said, “The Nevis Mango Festival has become a staple on our tourism calendar; however, this is an unprecedented situation and our main priority continues to be the health and safety of our visitors, our colleagues, Nevisians and the people of the global community”. She continued, “These are challenging times, but they will come to an end. We encourage you to stay well. We will prevail and your friends in Nevis will be here to welcome you when you are ready and able to travel again”.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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J$250 million paid over to Tourism Workers Pension Scheme Fund Manager – Bartlett

KINGSTON, Jamaica; April 16, 2020: Tourism Minister, Hon Edmund Bartlett says the initial $250 million of the $1 billion committed to long-awaited Tourism Workers Pension Scheme by the Government has been paid over to the newly selected-fund manager, Sagicor Jamaica Limited.

“The long awaited Tourism Workers Pension Scheme has reached another milestone. We can now announce that we have an Investment Manager, which is Sagicor and finalizing arrangements with a Fund -Administrator. Additionally J$250 million of the J$1 billion from the Ministry’s injection has been disbursed to seed the fund to ensure these workers have a pension,” said Minister Bartlett.

He noted that he is currently awaiting the House’s approval of the regulations, which will pave the way for the Scheme’s implementation, once industry workers return to their jobs.

“The well-being of our workers in the industry remains a priority for us at the Ministry of Tourism. We are forging ahead with this scheme because we want to ensure that after the coronavirus (COVID-19) has passed, the pension programme will be in place,” said the Minister.

The pension scheme is a defined contributory plan supported by legislation and will require mandatory contributions by workers and employers.

The Tourism Workers Pension Scheme is designed to cover all workers ages 18-59 years in the tourism sector, whether permanent, contract or self-employed, the ministry said. It further noted that this includes hotel workers as well as persons employed in other tourism subsectors such as craft vendors, tour operators, red cap porters, contract carriage operators and workers at attractions.

Benefits will be payable at age 65 years or older.

The Ministry of Tourism is providing $1 billion to seed the fund, so that immediate benefits can accrue to qualified pensioners, who have met the vested period of five years.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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‘Misbehaviour’ Movie Goes Digital today

Just one month after the star studded world premiere of MISBEHAVIOUR in London, the movie is now available on digital video on demand platforms. Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean has heralded the movie for its portrayal of a defining moment in history: the crowning of the first woman of colour as Miss World.

Attending the London premiere on March 9 was Charge d’Affaires for The Grenada High Commission London, Samuel Sandy; Dr Johnson Beharry VC COG and Mrs Mallissa Beharry; Mary McQueen and Deborah McQueen, the mother and sister of artist, director and screenwriter Steve McQueen; Suzanne Gaywood OBE, former designer of Gold medal-awarded Grenada exhibits at RHS Chelsea Flower Show among other specially invited guests.

Pathe Film Studios announced that because the UK cinema release of MISBEHAVIOUR was cut short by the Covid-19 crisis (with cinemas closing only 4 days after the film’s release), the film is being made available to watch at home 3 months ahead of schedule. It is now available on all platforms (including Amazon Prime, Sky Store and iTunes) for an exclusive period.

Jennifer Hosten, born in Grenada in 1947, was a flight attendant for BWIA (now Caribbean Airlines) when she took a leave of absence to compete in Miss World. The beauty competition was the most-watched TV show on the planet and in 1970 was hosted by US comedy legend, Bob Hope. The stakes could not have been higher and when the live broadcast was interrupted by a Women’s Liberation Movement stage invasion, the global audience was captivated. Then, as Miss Grenada – the self-styled Nutmeg Princess – was crowned the first woman of colour Miss World, conventions crumbled.

MISBEHAVIOUR, directed by BAFTA winner Philippa Lowthorpe (Three Girls), stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Grenadian, Jennifer Hosten – the first woman of colour to be crowned Miss World, Keira Knightley as a member of the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement, and an all-star cast including Jessie Buckley, Greg Kinnear, Lesley Manville, Keeley Hawes, Rhys Ifans and Phyllis Logan.

Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) Chief Executive Officer Patricia Maher said: “Misbehaviour depicts a chapter of Jennifer’s story that exemplifies her ground breaking life as she helped put Grenada on the map fifty years ago. I invite you to take the time to view this remarkable story while you’re at home and staying safe. We look forward to showing this film in Grenada when we can again gather socially.”

The comedy drama in which Grenada is mentioned throughout, ends with a fitting tribute from the Mightly Sparrow to ‘Cousin Jennifer’, Miss World 1970.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO Statement on the Passing of Dr. Roy Hastick

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Tues. 14 April, 2020) – It is with profound sadness that we learn of the passing of Dr. Roy A. Hastick, a colossus of the Caribbean American business community.

As the founder and chief executive officer of the Caribbean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (CACCI), Dr. Hastick stood tall and proud as a committed soldier of the Caribbean Diaspora in New York City and New York State. His efforts, mostly on limited resources, helped open doors for many people needing assistance.

His mantra, “business networking really works”, proved to be a strategy that served to increase small business development among the Caribbean Diaspora. Perseverance brought his message to the ears of elected officials, corporate businesses and government partners, and from this the people of the Caribbean have benefited.

The number of trade missions he undertook helped increase business investment throughout the region and contributed to the success of the tourism industry in CTO member countries.

While he was known for strengthening Caribbean businesses in New York, the CACCI also assisted during times of crisis in the region. After the hurricanes of 2017, Dr. Hastick gathered his extensive list of contacts in the United States congress, the New York state governor and legislators, other state and city officials and private sector partners to provide emergency assistance.

Dr. Hastick’s ultimate dream was the construction of 255 affordable housing units and the CACCI headquarters/ Caribbean Trade and Cultural Centre in Brooklyn. He dedicated many years to the fulfilment of this dream, and while he did not see it through to its completion, its opening in 2021 will serve as a strong reinforcement to his tireless work to improve the economic well-being of Caribbean-Americans.

He was the first recipient of the CTO’s Distinguished Caribbean Citizen Award in 2018. This award was given for his longstanding commitment to representing the interests of Caribbean people at the city and state levels in New York, his endeavours to strengthen commercial links between the Caribbean and its Diaspora and his recognition of the fact that commerce and investment are naturally intertwined with tourism.

Dr. Hastick will be sorely missed, and his legacy will live forever.

On behalf of staff of the CTO, the council of ministers and commissioners of tourism, the board of directors and Caribbean people everywhere, we express our deepest sympathies to Eda Hastick and his family.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Caribbean hospitality youth encourage peers to get behind COVID-19 directives

MIAMI – Young leaders of the Caribbean tourism sector are throwing their support behind calls to heed the advice of public health officials to stay at home so that the region’s leading economic sector can rebound quickly once the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic subsides.

The recently established COVID-19 Caribbean Tourism Task Force is enlisting the dynamism and innovativeness of young hospitality professionals to encourage protective practices by Caribbean nationals, especially younger ones, many of whom have been slow to respond to the urgency of the outbreak.

Striking messages of encouragement from young professionals in Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Turks and Caicos, released by the task force, implore fellow youth to take more seriously the dangers of the contagion to the Caribbean.

The Task Force, which comprises representatives from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), and the Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC), unveiled the two-minute video, which contains essential guides to safeguard communities and individuals.

The Task Force initiatives support those of Caribbean tourism leaders and health organizations, who are working together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout the region, and are implementing response measures to contain the spread of the virus.

In the video, Kamille Huggins, Executive Assistant of The Landings Resort & Spa in St. Lucia, echoing job loss concerns of many of her peers, said: “We have to get back to work to pay the bills and to feed our families. When are we going to lick this thing? It’s hurting all of us.”

“Listen. The power is in every one of us to end this isolation sooner rather than later. This invisible virus can disappear so much sooner if each one of us does what the experts tell us. The sooner we do that, the sooner we can go back to work and return to normal,” declared Sonia Simmons, Communications Manager of the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association.

“Here’s what the health experts tell us. Please stay at home. We cannot contain this threat to our lives if we continue to go out carousing,” stressedJamal Griffith, Sales and Marketing Manager of Bougainvillea Barbados, while Issia Thelwell, Sales and Marketing Manager of Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Jamaica, pointed out, “If (you stay at home), you may be a part of a new dynamism we need to restart Caribbean tourism.”

The message, which has generated strong interest on social media, is especially important since many young people across the region have been ignoring public health advisories which warn residents of the danger of spreading the virus by hanging out in groups.

CARPHA Executive Director Dr. Joy St. John welcomed the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) calls for leaders in the private sector to support efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. “We need to lock arms across the region to ensure that we have adequate medical supplies and testing equipment,” she said. “But we also need to work together to educate our communities about this dangerous disease, and develop strategies which focus on what our post-COVID recovery looks like in the months ahead.”

Drawing on information presented in a recent CHTA webinar, young professionals agreed it was imperative for the region’s public and private sector representatives to work closely together to prepare for the post-pandemic recovery. They opined global travelers have become more inured to global shocks, such as natural disasters and geopolitical events, and were optimistic that the Caribbean region would recover faster than many areas in the rest of the world.

“By staying home today, we can travel tomorrow,” they stressed

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

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