CTO News

CTO Looks To Double The Number of Hospitality Assured Caribbean Businesses With Support From CDB

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (21 March, 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is looking to double the number of businesses recognised as Hospitality Assured (HA), the certification programme that promotes business and service excellence.

At present, 33 of the 80 tourism and hospitality businesses involved in the programme have been certified as Hospitality Assured, according to Sharon Banfield-Bovell, the regional human resource development consultant with the CTO, who along with Janice Smith-Kipps, an experienced HA assessor and trainer of HA assessors, recently conducted a regional HA programme assessor training workshop at the Ocean Terrace Inn in St. Kitts and Nevis.

“The aim is to raise the number of certified business this year by 30,” Ms. Banfield-Bovell said.

The assessor training workshop, the third of its kind, is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which has approved over USD$223,000 in support of the HA (Caribbean) certification programme, and which, through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network, has been  promoting the HA programme as a key means to support the development of tourism quality, business excellence and customer service delivery in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), especially owner-managed businesses in the tourism sector.

“The CDB’s injection of funding support will allow for 30 micro, small or medium tourism enterprises in specific CDB borrowing member countries – Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and The Grenadines – to participate in the HA certification programme and to achieve one of our strategic goals of strengthening the business performance and overall competitiveness of the tourism sector in the Caribbean,” Ms. Banfield-Bovell stressed.

The project will come to end in June this year and the CTO is encouraging tourism businesses to get onboard and fill the remaining 18 available spaces and seek to put in place an effective service quality management system, with the support of the programme’s key personnel, the business advisors and assessors.

At the opening of the St. Kitts workshop, Michel Thomas, the CBD’s operations officer, noted: “CDB fully supports the programme, as the Bank recognises the importance of enhancing the competitiveness of MSMEs in the tourism sector, which plays an integral role in the social and economic development of a number of CDB Borrowing Member Countries”.

Twenty-one participants from 13 CTO member countries – Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Turks and Caicos Islands – participated in the five-day workshop, which was aimed at providing the necessary training to equip participants with the knowledge and performance requirements of HA assessors.

The assessors’ role includes evaluation of businesses, while maintaining commercial confidentiality; ensuring that assessments are undertaken in accordance with certification requirements; providing clear information to businesses in respect of areas for improvement; and clearly identifying best practice, which would benefit these businesses.

Permanent Secretary in the St. Kits Ministry of Tourism Carlene Henry-Morton reminded workshop participants that the initiative “is a service and business excellence programme designed to promote a culture of quality, service excellence and continuous improvement through the use of a business improvement tool and framework that is internationally recognised.”

“Some of the real benefits of this designation are service excellence, customer loyalty and referrals, continuous improvement and international branding,” she said.

Hospitality Assured is a service quality management certification owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the United Kingdom, managed and operated by the Hospitality Limited, U.K. and developed specifically for the tourism sector, to promote and reward the highest levels of service and business excellence. Hospitality Assured in the Caribbean is managed and promoted by the CTO. Any hospitality, leisure, tourism or service-oriented organization is eligible for Hospitality Assured certification, be they large or small, single or multi-operational.

Posted in: 2018 News, Corporate News, Hospitality Assured

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Tourism Congress to address theme of Building Resilience in the Tourism sector

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (March 12, 2018) – When the XXIV Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism opens on Wednesday, March 21 at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, one of the key areas for presentations and discussions will be the matter of building resilience in the Tourism sector in the Americas. In the latter months of 2017 the hemisphere of the Americas received a painful reminder of the relevance and significance of this theme after several countries felt the devastating impacts of hurricanes, floods, fires and earthquakes. In fact 2017 is regarded as a record-setting year for natural disasters in terms of the number, severity and financial costs of the disasters that occurred.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria that lashed the region last year prompted both emergency and strategic responses as property was destroyed almost overnight and economic livelihoods compromised. While in no way minimising the need for resilience due to storms and natural disasters, the Congress is taking a wider view of the concept of resilience, preferring to see it as a concept that embraces a more comprehensive range of strategies and measures that governments need to adopt in order to ensure the survivability of the sector come what may.      

A number of Tourism heavyweights from the Americas will be addressing this theme at the Congress. Secretary General and CEO of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Mr. Hugh Riley will be giving a CTO perspective on the theme, while Minister of Tourism of Jamaica, Hon. Edmund Bartlett will look at global efforts to promote resilience. Those addresses will be followed by a Presentation by Ms. Kim Osborne, the Executive Secretary for Integral Development at the Organisation of American States (OAS). Finally the Vice-Minister of Tourism of Colombia, Ms. Sandra Howard will discuss Tourism resilience by looking at the impact of the peace process on tourism in Colombia. Those presentations will then be followed by a Ministerial Dialogue.

About the Conference:

The XXIVth Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism under the theme “Connecting the Americas through Sustainable Tourism” will be held on March 21-22, 2018 in Georgetown, Guyana. The Congress is jointly coordinated by the Organization of American States and the Department of Tourism, Ministry of Business.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Donald Sinclair

National Coordinator of XXIV Congress

Director General of Tourism, Department of Tourism

Ministry of Business

229 South Road, Lacytown

Georgetown, Guyana

T: (+592) 225 4237

E: [email protected]

 

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO and Caribbean Development Bank Partner with Ministry of Tourism, St Kitts to Stage Successful Climate Smart Tourism Forum

 

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (19 December, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in collaboration with the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism hosted the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum, as the first regional activity related to implementation of the Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry  (CSSCTI) project, funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).  The landmark event, in observance of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development was held in Basseterre, St. Kitts from December 12-14, 2017.

The Forum brought together local, regional, and international representatives from public and private sector tourism entities, as well as development agencies for three days of dynamic and interactive engagements. It examined climate change adaptation, mitigation, and opportunities for sound management of Caribbean destinations. Key Forum Sessions included: Tourism Resiliency through Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation; Innovative Models & Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism; S.M.A.R.T Destinations: Using Climate as an Opportunity; The Tourism Recovery Roundtable; and Roadmap to Disaster Management. The keynote presentation was delivered by Mr. Greg McKenzie, senior news presenter, producer and television broadcaster from the BBC, London U.K, who explained that as more Caribbean countries developed their tourism industry, it would produce significant impacts on their natural resources, consumption patterns, as well as ecological and social systems. He therefore argued that sustainable and responsible planning and management was imperative for the industry to survive. “A balance has to be found between limits and usage so that [we] continuously change monitoring and planning [to] ensure that tourism can be managed. More importantly, sustaining development must include the interests of all stakeholders, including indigenous people, local communities, visitors, industries and of course more importantly, government united in the effort to mitigate and combat global climate change and its related impacts” Greg McKenzie, BBC.

The first two days of activities included presentations by experts showcasing best practices for a climate resilient sustainable tourism industry; the sharing of experiences and benchmark initiatives by country representatives; practical workshops to reinforce lessons learnt; and experiential field visits showcasing key initiatives in St. Kitts. Presentations were received from Dr. Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Mr. Hugh Riley, CTO’s Secretary General and CEO, Dr. Yves Robert Personna, Project Manager for the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank- Natural Disaster Risk Management (ACP-EU-CDB NDRM) in CARIFORUM Countries programme, at the CDB, and Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré, best known for serving as commander of the Joint Task Force Katrina responsible for coordinating military relief efforts post Hurricane Katrina in the United States, who presented on the topic, Lessons from Katrina.

On the third day a tourism sector strategic consultation workshop was held for the CSSCTI project, chaired by the CTO Sustainable Tourism Specialist and CSSCTI project Manager, Ms. Amanda Charles. Also presiding over the meeting was Dr. Yves Robert Personna, who delivered a presentation on the NDRM programme highlighting ongoing activities to include support given to countries.

“CBD has partnered with CTO to help incorporate climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction considerations into national and regional tourism policies, plans and operations. While the tourism industry is crucial to the economic growth and development of the Caribbean, one must also recognise that this sector is highly sensitive to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. These events have adversely affected the flow of environmental goods and services on which the sector is largely dependent. Therefore, it is essential to develop and implement sound initiatives to increase the tourism sector resilience to climate-related risks to ensure its sustainability”, said Dr. Personna.

The Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum was an opportunity to share and exchange best practices, hear and learn from experts and engage in rich dialogue and networking with tourism industry stakeholders, as well as regional and international partners, in seeking to enhance climate resiliency and strengthen disaster risk management strategies in the Caribbean Tourism industry. “We are indebted to the CDB for their support of the Caribbean tourism sector in providing the financial and technical assistance for the implementation of the Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry project, which facilitated the convening of the Forum. The threats posed by global warming and climate change require a well-coordinated and urgent response, given the vulnerability of the Caribbean region and the tourism sector specifically.” Hugh Riley, Secretary General and CEO.

This CSSCTI project will support the mainstreaming of climate and disaster risk reduction considerations in tourism business operations and destination management, and through the delivery of training and tools, enhance regional competencies for climate change adaptation and disaster risk management.

Funding for the project and related activities is being provided under the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank- Natural Disaster Risk Management in CARIFORUM Countries programme, which aims to reduce vulnerability to long-term impacts of natural hazards, including the potential impacts of climate change, thereby achieving national and regional sustainable development and poverty reduction goals in those countries.

For information and photos from the event please visit www.caribbeanstc.com

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About the Caribbean Development Bank

The Caribbean Development Bank is a regional financial institution established in 1970 for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs). In addition to the 19 BMCs, CDB’s membership includes four regional non-borrowing members – Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela and five non-regional, non-borrowing members; i.e., Canada, China, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. CDB’s total assets as at December 31, 2016 are USD2.89 billion (bn). These include USD1.59bn of Ordinary Capital Resources and USD1.29bn of Special Funds. The Bank is rated Aa1 Stable with Moody’s and AA+ Stable with Standard and Poor’s and Fitch. Read more at caribank.org.

Contact:

Sueann Tannis

Head of Corporate Communications

Mobile: 246-826-3343

Office: 246-431-1882

Email: [email protected]

 

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Climate Smart Forum

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New Year’s Message from CTO Secretary General, Hugh Riley

Bridgetown, Barbados (28 Dec 2017) – This has been a challenging year for Caribbean tourism. While the first half of the year saw exciting growth in both tourism infrastructure and tourist arrivals over the previous year, in September we were hit hard by a series of unusual hurricanes that not only destroyed property, but also took the lives of many of our citizens. We must never forget the souls we lost along the way.

Physically, we will recover. Our Caribbean people are a resilient population. We will put the bricks and mortar back together and the hotels and vegetation will rise again and shine in the brilliant sunlight.

We take this time, a season of celebration and joy and the promise of a new beginning, to both reflect on the preceding year and look forward to tomorrow. And we will take the time to give thanks.

Travellers coming to the countries that were impacted by the storms will now see various stages of the rebuild/recover effort. Some are already fully up to speed and ready for the winter; others, only partially so. Our affected islands respect the safety and security of guests and staff and are therefore being frank and open about their state of readiness.

As tourism is the main economic driver for most of the Caribbean, we place enormous emphasis on delivering value and a superb visitor experience. In the hurricane-affected islands guests in 2018 and beyond will expect to see a product that is rebuilt stronger, better and even more attractive than before. That’s the plan, however long it takes to deliver.

We are thankful that the vast majority of the Caribbean never got touched by the hurricanes, so those islands have continued to welcome visitors every day. For them it’s business as usual. We are grateful to the travel professionals, the many visitors and our citizens themselves who continue to share images of the Caribbean today. Those pictures tell a thousand realities.

We want to use this time to thank our member countries that were quick to come to the aid of others not so fortunate. We want to thank our partners, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, the airlines, cruise lines and the hotels across the region that have worked and are still working to bring the Caribbean back to normal operations. We want to thank our marketing and sales partners, the tour operators, wholesalers and travel agents from around the world who have stood by the region and continue to promote and sell our destinations. And we want to thank the media that have, for the most part, painted a proper picture of our region that is clearly open for business. Through it all, we are also eternally grateful to our visitors and to the Caribbean Diaspora who stand shoulder to shoulder with our region in times of need.

Even as we prepare to greet a New Year let us take a moment to look back on a few of the successes of 2017.

Recently we embarked on a strategy to substantially enhance the Caribbean’s engagement in Canada, to develop business in non-traditional areas and work closely with our members’ representatives for maximum impact. New travel agent training and certification, increased use of targeted social media, enhanced deployment of the CTO’s data analysis tools, and more focused engagement with the Caribbean Diaspora were all components of the 2017 strategy for Canada. The Canadian market was a strong performer for most of 2017, with arrivals up by 6.4 percent. We can now look forward to more expansion of that market in 2018.

We also continued to focus on our two primary markets, the United States and Europe, with the UK, in particular, taking a central role. These markets were more robust in 2017 and we trust this will continue in 2018.

We realized too, that intra-Caribbean tourism, which has also been on the rise, would need our continuous attention, especially under the current circumstances where the task of educating the travelling public and removing the barriers to intra-Caribbean travel will continue to be a challenge.

At the start of the year we declared 2017 the Year of Adventure in the Caribbean and we capitalized on this in multiple promotions with member countries and industry partners. The Caribbean Year of Adventure linked directly with the United Nations Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and allowed us to pair adventure with sustainability.

The year culminated with the World Tourism Organization holding its Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth, in Jamaica, followed by the CTO’s partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank to host the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum in St. Kitts.

For the New Year the CTO has declared 2018 The Year of Rejuvenation in the Caribbean. With wellness and rejuvenation being important aspects of the Caribbean tourism product, we are encouraging our member countries and private sector partners to plan and organise events and activities around that theme.

For travellers who focus on renewing body and spirit, the options are virtually endless; from beachfront workouts and yoga retreats, to wellness resorts and spa treatments, the notion of being rejuvenated in the Caribbean is one more reason to let us pamper you in 2018.
The 2018 Caribbean Year of Rejuvenation will be promoted through social media and traditional media channels and will create opportunities for locals, travellers and holiday/vacation planners to share their ideas on how to capture the Caribbean’s huge capacity for wellness and rejuvenation. It will be a time of rebirth for us and for those who come to share the joy of a Caribbean vacation experience.

We look forward to 2018 with optimism and excitement.

On behalf of our CTO Chairman, The Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Minister of Tourism, the CTO Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism, the Board of Directors, Members and Staff of the CTO, I thank you for your continued support of our region, and I wish you and yours a safe, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO S.G. Urges Support of Tourism for Caribbean Recovery at UNWTO Confab on Jobs, Growth

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (18 Dec, 2017) – Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, urged building upon the resilience of tourism and supporting Caribbean tourism to prepare, manage and recover from crises, to more than 1,500 participants at the Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism, held recently in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Mr. Riley called for exploring potential strategies for the tourism sector to plan for future preparation, management and recovery, specifically after the category five hurricanes that impacted a handful of member counties. He advised participants of the scope, size and resilience of the tourism sector and of the CTO, and highlighted CTO’s focus on sustainability and the depth and breadth of the relationships CTO has created, as well as the resources the organization makes available for CTO member countries.

The secretary general also urged establishing energy policies and observing protocols that improve the region’s climate resilience, effective disaster risk management and reduction, enforcing and maintaining proper building codes.

“It was truly an honour to present at this conference where the goal was centered on a new, collaborative framework for tourism, moving towards the 2030 agenda for sustainable development,” he said.

Addressing the topic of resilience, Mr. Riley shared the six areas of focus that the CTO considers essential to building support for Caribbean tourism: sustainable development, resource mobilization, brand leadership, research and market development, human capital development and advocacy.

“Resource mobilization should utilize available resources to sustain, develop, improve and rebuild,” he told the audience. “Rapid recovery of tourism is needed for debt reduction, employment and poverty alleviation, and to most especially to generate foreign exchange.”

Brand leadership should reinforce the value and attributes of the Caribbean brand, Mr. Riley noted. “We need to educate the public and the travel industry on the geography of the Caribbean,” he said, adding: “Every one per cent decline in arrivals could mean a significant loss of revenue.”

Regarding human capital development, the secretary general wants to train, re-train, certify and equip. But he was quick to add: “Being good hosts is not just the responsibility of a select few. As long as the region continues to boast that its people are its most sought after tourism asset, every citizen has a role.”

In closing, Mr. Riley urged the region to enlist champions among celebrities as well as public and private sector leaders. “Effective advocacy speaks powerfully to the issues that facilitate the development of travel and tourism globally,” he added.

In addition to his presentation, Mr. Riley moderated the “Caribbean Tourism within the Context of the Americas” session.

Organised by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Government of Jamaica, the World Bank Group and the Inter-American Development Bank, the global conference brought together world leaders from governments, the tourism industry, donors, and international development and finance organizations, to design and coordinate an international road map and foster collaborative relationships for inclusive economic and social development of tourism.

An official event of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, the event gathered more than 1,500 participants and over 150 speakers to help identify successful models and initiatives of public-private partnerships that will contribute to sustainable tourism development globally. In order to achieve results, the conference yielded practical plans to guide future development initiatives including specific development protocols and opportunities related to the achievement of global partnerships for sustainable development.

For more information about the UNWTO Global Conference on Building Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism for Development, visit http://know.unwto.org/event/unwto-global-conference-building-partnerships-sustainable-tourism-development.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Investment Guide Distributed in Toronto and at Caribbean Business Events

TORONTO, Canada , 21 November, 2017 – The Caribbean Tourism and Hospitality Investment Guide, a bi-annual publication of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), was distributed during Caribbean Week in Toronto to Canadian entrepreneurs, business organizations and Diaspora leaders.

Caribbean Week activities in Toronto and Montreal run from November 10-17.

The Investment Guide showcases a wide range of investment opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector in CTO member states and lists incentives that Caribbean Governments are offering to attract new business.

The publication was distributed at the recent Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit (CHICOS) in Bermuda and is available to delegates at this week’s Miami Conference on the Caribbean organized by Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA).

Tourism Ministers from across the region and selected companies and business organizations received copies of the publication during Caribbean Week events in New York.

The publication includes information on the performance of the region’s tourism industry with highlights from the CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley and Acting Director of Research Ryan Skeete. It also provides an outlook for the region’s hotel sector.

The Investment Guide highlights new investments in the region’s tourism and hospitality sector including properties in The Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Cayman Islands.
“The Caribbean has a strong competitive advantage due to our natural and physical resources, and is ripe for new hotel and tourism infrastructure projects. There are opportunities for investments in airports, seaports and shopping centres, as well as unique tourism products such as outfitting heritage sites with modern technology and clean energy sources,” CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley said.

The Investment Guide is produced by Marketing, Communications and Investment Promotion Specialist, Sandra Ann Baptiste, who heads Florida-based Carigold Signature.

“CTO member countries are also seeking investment to expand the medical tourism and health and wellness sectors. There are investment opportunities for new restaurants and cafes, sports tourism facilities and new convention centers, yachting and marine services, new attractions, river and land transportation services, and to develop the creative industries,” Baptiste said in the editorial.

The Investment Guide is one of the projects of the New York-based CTO USA Inc. office headed by Sylma Brown Bramble.

The publication will be available on www.onecaribbean.org for a minimal fee.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week, Corporate News

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