CTO News

Innovator Adam Stewart to Keynote CTO’s State of the Industry Conference SOTIC

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 6 July, 2016 –   The leader of one of the world’s leading resort companies will outline a vision for Caribbean tourism as he sets the tone for the region’s most important tourism gatherings, the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC).

The chief executive officer of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart, will deliver the keynote address at the 14-16 September event in Barbados, chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Barbados’ minister of tourism and international transport Richard Sealy announced this morning.

“We are honoured and excited to announce Mr Adam Stewart, the chief executive officer of Sandals Resorts International as the keynoter for SOTIC. Sandals is an influential Caribbean brand. Its impact on the economies of the countries in which it operates, and the other benefits it brings, such as immense global exposure which we otherwise could not afford, cannot be missed,” Mr. Sealy said at a news conference at the CTO headquarters.

Described as “a maverick on a mission, an energetic change agent, and an innovator who is not constrained by convention”, Mr. Stewart is expected to share his views on the opportunities that lie ahead for Caribbean tourism and what must be done to cash in on these opportunities.

His presentation will focus on the conference theme, Honouring Our Legacy, Defining Our Future, and is expected to draw on the Sandal CEO’s experiences in leading the growth and expansion of the global brand since he took over as its chief executive officer at the age of 25.

“As chief executive officer of a brand born in the Caribbean, it is my sincere pleasure to join my colleagues and my friends this September in Barbados to discuss not only the state of our industry but the myriad of opportunities that lie ahead. We are on the precipice of interesting days and I am excited to consider how, together, we will continue to make a visit to the Caribbean absolutely compelling,” Mr. Stewart, who has overseen the expansion of the resorts and the introduction of industry-changing innovation and developments, said ahead of the news conference.

The keynote address will launch the first full day of the conference on Thursday 15 September at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

Another leading presenter announced at today’s news conference is Craig Landry, the president of Air Canada Leisure Group, who will be the featured speaker on Friday morning, 16 September.

Mr. Landry oversees the Air Canada Vacations tour operator business and the leisure airline Air Canada Rouge, both of which are important partners and stakeholders in Caribbean tourism. Canada is itself a longstanding and critically important tourism partner for the region.

“The combination of a keynoter who is the chief executive officer of the Caribbean’s foremost hotel brand – Adam Stewart of Sandals – and a featured speaker who is from Air Canada, signals the importance we attach to our vision for the Caribbean,” stated Hugh Riley, the CTO’s secretary general.

Craig Landry has a complete understanding of Air Canada’s pivotal role in the current environment, Canada’s importance to the Caribbean, its economic challenges and opportunities, and its unique relationship with our region.”

A number of other presenters are being confirmed for SOTIC, which will explore subjects ranging from how to transition the product and multicultural and emerging markets to creating a luxury experience and the sharing economy.

The CTO State of the Industry Conference is the pre-eminent tourism gathering in the region. It brings together tourism decision-makers, including ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, hotel and airline executives, travel agents, students, the media and persons directly and indirectly involved in tourism. It is preceded by CTO business meetings, including meetings of the board of directors and the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism.

This year’s conference is organized in collaboration with Barbados’ Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

For more information on SOTIC, including how you can register, participate and benefit, visit www.onecaribbean.org.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, SOTIC

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Family Travel Association and Caribbean Tourism Organization announce partnership

NEW YORK, NY, 28 June, 2016: The Family Travel Association (FTA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) have formally announced a partnership  to promote a travel agent educational programme for the Caribbean.  As part of the agreement, the CTO and CTO members who join the FTA will be eligible to work with the FTA and CTO in the development of educational material for travel agents. This includes webinars, editorial/content for trade partners, live events (conferences/trade show) participation, promotion on FamilyTravel.org and both the CTO and FTA newsletters.

“Our research indicates that 93 per cent of American parents are either “very likely” or “likely” to travel with their children in the next two years so we are thrilled to be working with the CTO and its members in not just inspiring families to travel, but to help travel agents better understand and sell the Caribbean to this complex demographic,” says Rainer Jenss, FTA President, who founded the organization in 2014 to create a single and collective voice on behalf of the travel industry and those companies that serve traveling families.

“Given the incredible wealth of experiences the Caribbean offers families, this partnership will ensure that travel agents are prepared to meet the needs of this highly lucrative market segment”, added Sylma Brown Bramble, Director CTO-USA, Inc. “We are particularly delighted about the value and opportunity the new FTA and CTO relationship will provide to the OneCaribbean Chapter (OCC) members.  Travel agents are one of our greatest assets in Caribbean destination travel and providing value to them through relationships like this is our way of showing appreciation for the great job that they do selling the Caribbean year after year”.

The One Caribbean Chapter (OCC) was created by the CTO  with the primary purpose of enabling a business environment in which travel professionals can gain access to knowledge of the region and its diverse tourism product; networking opportunities and education on the unique selling proposition of the various Caribbean destinations.

OCC is the vehicle which gives travel agents access and advantage to increase their business to over 28 Caribbean countries under the regional umbrella. The chapter provides education on the myriad niche products available in the Caribbean and destination support to prepare travel professionals for success in selling each country’s unique travel product.  oneCaribbeanchapter.org

For further information on the FTA and CTO upcoming webinars and programmes, please contact: programme and business development executive Wanda Fisher at  (510) 599-9844.

About the Family Travel Association
The Family Travel Association (FTA) was established in 2014 to mobilize the global travel industry around the large – and fast-growing – market for family travel. The organization is connecting the world’s leading travel suppliers, destinations, media brands, and influencers into a global network to grow the market by inspiring families to travel.  By harnessing the collective power and influence of its members, the FTA is educating travelers, the media, and travel agents on the variety of options families have when planning their vacations and what transformational benefits travel offers families.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Caribbean on course to break 20 million arrivals barrier in 2016

NEW YORK, NY, 3 June, 2016 –   Tourist arrivals to the Caribbean are expected to surpass the 30 million mark for the first time ever this year, following a record 28.7 million arrivals in 2015.

Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Richard Sealy announced here on Thursday evening that the industry got off to a fast start in 2016, registering a 7.3 per cent rise in the first quarter over the corresponding period last year.

During this period, the Caribbean region welcomed approximately 8.5 million international visitors, 580,000 higher than the first quarter of 2015.

“This performance was buttressed by lower oil prices and the strong US dollar, which increased the appeal of the region to potential visitors. The many air service agreements ensured that the region had adequate seats to facilitate the flow of travellers to and within the region,” the CTO chairman explained.

Nineteen destinations showed improvements upon their 2015 performance, with eight registering double digit growth of between 10.5 per cent and 26.8 per cent.

The growth was led by intra-regional trips which rose by 12-9 per cent, followed by the European market which registered growth of 11 per cent.

The CTO chairman told media at a news conference at Caribbean Week New York that regional tourism officials have recognized that more needed to be done to keep visitors occupied while in the Caribbean.

“The CTO continues to work feverishly with our members to see how they can improve their product offering and diversify their markets,” he said.

The CTO has projected growth of between 4.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent in 2016.

Caribbean Week New York continues this evening with Rum and Rhythm, a benefit for the CTO Foundation, the regional tourism development agency’s scholarship programme which assists Caribbean nationals pursuing further studies in tourism and hospitality.

The Empire State Building will also light up in Caribbean colours tonight in observance of Caribbean Week New York, which celebrates the sights, sounds, colours, culture and unique holiday experiences of the Caribbean.

Caribbean Week New York is supported by American Express, Academy Engraving, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, the Atrebor Group, the Islands of the Bahamas, Barbados, Bloomingdales, Caribbean Airlines, Cayman Islands, CitiTech Solutions, Dominica, El Dorado Rum, Empire State Building, Grace, Grenada, Golden Crust, Jade Mountain/Anse Chastanet Resort, Jamaica, Marry Caribbean, Martinique, Nassau Paradise Island, Nevis, Proximo, Resonance, The Real McCoy Rum, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sugar Beach, Travel + Leisure, Resonance Consultancy; Trinidad and Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, Sugar Bay Resort & Spa, Unique Vacations, Inc./Sandals and Williams-Sonoma.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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Caribbean Tourism Organization appoints experienced tourism professional as Sustainable Tourism Product Specialist

Amanda

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (17 May, 2016) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has appointed Dominican native Amanda Charles as Sustainable Tourism Specialist effective today.

Ms. Charles will coordinate and implement the CTO’s sustainable tourism programme aimed at enhancing the development, growth, quality, competitiveness and sustainability of Caribbean tourism.

Ms Charles is a tourism professional with several years of experience, having worked most recently as the adviser to the directorate of sustainable tourism at the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, a position she held for five years.

While there Ms. Charles coordinated the directorate’s sustainable tourism programme and managed the financial, technical and logistical aspects of the directorate’s projects and activities.

She also worked as a tourism specialist consultant at the Organization of American States (OAS) department of economic development, trade and tourism in Washington, DC and as a project consultant at the OAS department of sustainable development.

A CTO Foundation scholarship winner in 2006 and 2007, Ms. Charles is a graduate of George Washington University in Washington, DC from which she holds a master’s degree in tourism administration, with emphasis on sustainable destination management. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality and tourism management, with minors in business administration and French, from the State University of New York (SUNY) Plattsburgh.

As the CTO’s sustainable tourism specialist, Ms. Charles will lead the organization’s agenda which includes helping to develop quality standards for Caribbean destinations and their tourism products and services; designing, delivering and/or coordinating training and development programmes dealing with sustainable tourism and product development; and providing and/or facilitating technical advice/assistance on management issues related to product development and sustainable tourism matters to Ministries of Tourism, Boards of Tourism and other public and private sector tourism entities in the CTO member states.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Sec. Gen. Remarks at 2016 Tourism HR Conference in Antigua

Remarks by CTO’s Secretary General Hugh Riley at the official opening of the CTO’s 8th Tourism Human Resources Conference Jolly Beach Resort, Antigua, May 11, 2016

Hon. Samantha Marshall, Minister of Social Transformation and Human Resource Development
Mrs. Paula Frederick-Hunte, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy
Mr. Colin James, Chief Executive Officer, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority
Mrs. Vanessa Ledesma, Chief Operating Officer, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association
Dr. Lorraine Nicholas, tourism specialist at the OECS Commission
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

RileyHRConf2016

It is a pleasure and an honor to be with you today to share a few opening thoughts as we tackle the business of Making Excellence a Habit.

My comments are just the appetizer because the experts whom Bonita Morgan and her team have assembled to speak to us over the next few days, will certainly serve up the main course.

Before we even begin, please join me in thanking The Honourable Asot Michael, Minister of Tourism for Antigua and Barbuda and his team of professionals for their gracious hospitality and their warm welcome to Antigua.

The person who met us and drove us here from the airport is certainly one of finest first impressions of a destination that I have ever had the pleasure to encounter. Cleo Henry’s knowledge, pride in her country and sheer eloquence, should be used as an industry best-practice.

Our gratitude too, must go to the Management and Staff at Jolly Beach Resort for their attentiveness and their obvious focus on satisfying the needs of their guests.

There is no denying that when we speak of customer satisfaction, we often tend to focus a disproportionate amount of attention on front line employees. Why? Because they are critically important to the delivery of the tourism product to the end user, and are therefore an essential source of immediate feedback on how we’re doing.

But in addition to the frontline, there are the legions of team members who are involved in every aspect of creating, selling, marketing, designing, building, defending, testing, researching and communicating the experience we ultimately deliver. Because we are tourism destinations, we naturally focus on visitors but the basic formula for winning the satisfaction and approval of our customers, works in virtually any field of endeavor.

So what is it that we really aim to achieve in our interaction with customers?

Imagine for a moment how our day would begin – and end – if we truly focused on making every customer a repeat customer. So regardless of what you do, you go to work tomorrow and decide that each interaction is going to be aimed at getting this person to come back to your restaurant, or hotel, watersports facility or country.

So automatically, you are now in the mode of doing such an excellent job to get them back, time and again, that you are spontaneously guaranteeing that their current experience is special. You are effectively making that process a habit.

When I was putting these few thoughts together about Making Excellence a Habit, I was curious to see how Webster, Oxford, Encarta and even the American Journal of Psychology defined a habit.  Generally speaking, they sort of agree that a habit is a regular tendency or practice. An automatic reaction to a specific situation.

So we effectively need to be making excellence automatic.

And why does it even matter if we’re excellent? Who cares? We all must care.

Because we are the world’s most tourism-dependent region, we must care more than anyone else. No one should pay more attention to delivering a superb experience, than we in the Caribbean.

Over the years I’ve discovered that not everyone is comfortable with the fact that we are so tourism-dependent.  To some it sounds like we are stuck there; like we are saying that somehow we should not develop other areas of our economies. We should not try to diversify. Of course we should. Countries all over the world that were overly dependent on one sector or another, have sought to diversify their economies; and interestingly, all of the world’s developed countries, rich in various natural and other resources, have turned serious attention to developing their tourism sectors!

There are reasons why the Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region.

The number one reason is that we have a huge competitive advantage. Where else in the world is there the combination of Dutch, English, French, Spanish, African and Asian cultures in one destination?

The Caribbean’s natural and built-heritage, its food, visual and performing arts, history and infectious hospitality are all attractive magnets for foreigners seeking a new narrative.

Stunning colonial architecture and pockets of indigenous peoples also provide rich experiences waiting to captivate curious discoverers.

Where else is there a combination of excellent weather, all year-round, alluring beaches and infectious rhythms?

The Caribbean is proud to possess 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, located in 14 countries. Some of the Caribbean’s sites were inscribed on the list as early as 1982, placing us on the list before prominent countries like China, India, Spain and the UK.

So those are some of the competitive advantages that make us proud of our tourism prominence.

But as important as it is to have all of that, the adhesive that must bind it all together is service excellence.

Our competitors around the world can always have deeper pockets and taller buildings; but no one should have better people than the Caribbean. Nowhere in the world should there be a population that is more dedicated to acquiring the tools and using the resources available to constantly assess and improve our performance. In other words, as a region we must pay close attention to customer response mechanisms, so that we always know how our guests are defining excellence.

That feedback is essential. Grab every realistic opportunity to communicate with your guests and find out how they really feel. Only by knowing how we are doing, can we constantly improve.

At the Caribbean Tourism Organization we feel so strongly about this that we created a monitoring mechanism for destinations. Guestpitality – Total Visitor Satisfaction asks visitors to assess their destination experience in seven critical sectors. This is on-the-ground feedback on how a country is doing in the most vital areas of a visitor’s experience. Just as high scores are validation of what you are doing right, Guestpitality also points out the sectors that need attention. If we want to be excellent, we must make collecting feedback a habit!

We all know that there are good habits and bad habits; and as we also know, habits are hard to break. So let’s choose good ones, and then make them impossible to break!

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, HR Conference

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Region to be challenged to move from good to great at CTO Tourism Human Resources Conference

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (15 April, 2016) – The Caribbean’s economic viability and sustainability must continue to attract the attention of leaders and policymakers in all walks of life as the region continues to grapple with the challenges of the 21st century.

“As companies and nation states, we must consider that what we have done in the past may not be good enough; what got us this far may not get us to the place where we create the loyalty and profitability we desperately need,” said M. Ian Blanchard, an action business coach and former chief executive at telecommunications company Cable & Wireless.

Mr. Blanchard will be a presenter at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s 8th Tourism Human Resources Conference in Antigua & Barbuda from 11-13 May. He will speak on the topic, From Good to Great: Driving Leadership & Organizational Excellence and will challenge participants to “become better versions” of themselves and fulfil the Caribbean’s true potential.

“We live in an age where opportunities abound, where we have access to a global audience in ways that are much cheaper and easier than ever before. In order for us to move from good to great and derive leadership and organizational excellence we must care more, not just about or own island, our own nationals, our own families or employees, but about the wider, the broader, the bigger picture. We must care about legacy, about building transgenerational capacity and about making a difference that will outlast us,” he said.

The session will address four key areas – clarity, accountability, reflection and execution – that are essential to drive leadership and organizational excellence.

“We will explore our path and create clear actions for moving forward,” he added.

The conference theme is, Making Excellence a Habit: Service, Loyalty and Profitability in Caribbean Tourism. It is being organized by the CTO in collaboration with Antigua & Barbuda’s Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority and will be held at the Jolly Beach Resort and Spa.

For more information, including how to register, visit www.onecaribbean.org or email Marvelle Sealy at the CTO at [email protected]

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, HR Conference

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