CTO News

St. Kitts Soars with More Airlift from North American Carriers

Basseterre, St. Kitts (October 17, 2018) – With airlift arrivals having grown for the past 18 months, there is a rising demand for St. Kitts as a leisure travel destination and North American airlines have taken note of the increased impetus for the island by providing additional flight options for travelers to reach the island in peak season and beyond.

“It is a testament to the strong relationships that the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism together with the St. Kitts Tourism Authority have built with the airlines that has led to this additional service,” said Minister Grant. “I could not be more pleased to see increased airlift to our shores from our airline partners to help us continue our momentum of growth in the tourism sector.”

American Airlines, the carrier with the most flights to/from St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport (SKB), will be resuming its second daily non-stop flights from Wednesdays through Sundays from Miami to SKB early this year following the normal seasonal hiatus, with those flights having returned as of October 3, 2018 providing an additional 5 weeks of the twice-daily flying as compared to the same period in 2017.

Delta Air Lines, having added non-stop Saturday flights to SKB from JFK as of December 23, 2017, will return earlier from hiatus this year, with those non-stops resuming as of November 17, 2018 adding 5 operations in 2018 as compared to 2017. Delta will also provide mid-week non-stop flights from Atlanta to SKB on Wednesdays/Tuesdays for peak season starting on December 26, 2018.

In addition to the carrier’s non-stop Saturday flights to SKB from its New York/New Jersey hub at Newark Liberty International Airport, United Airlines has added Wednesday flights to island starting January 9, 2019, providing an additional 9 operations for 2019 as compared to 2018.

From Canada, Air Canada will resume its seasonal non-stop Saturday flights from Toronto to SKB earlier this year, with flights starting November 3, 2018 providing an additional 7 operations for 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017.

Most recently announced, Sun Country Airlines will begin serving SKB with non-stop Saturday flights from its Minneapolis hub for peak season from December 22, 2018 through April 20, 2019 providing a total of 18 new operations for 2018/2019 that did not exist during the same period in 2017/2018.

St. Kitts’ airlift strategy consists of continuing to nurture relationships with the airlines to systematically build out air bridges to/from identified target gateways to grow service in a sustainable manner that will support new and existing hotel developments as well as other local tourism stakeholders while making the island increasingly easy for air travelers to reach.

About St. Kitts:

Intoxicating natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters, and sandy beaches combine to make St. Kitts one of the most seductive spots in the Caribbean. Located in the northern Leeward Islands, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are water sports, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on the beach. For more information about St. Kitts, visit www.stkittstourism.kn.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Five Allied Members Elected to Round Out CTO Board of Directors

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (10 October, 2018) – Five candidates of diverse backgrounds out of a record number 13 were elected to represent the allied membership on the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) board of directors for the 2018-2020 term. The elections were held on 5 Oct. 2018 during the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) held in the Bahamas.

The five representatives elected to CTO’s Board of Directors for the two-year term are Barry Brown of AFAR Media, Jule Guaglardi of Zelman Style, Jacqueline Johnson of Global Bridal Group, Barbara Magro of Questex Travel Group and John Lawrence Spears of The Concept Farm.

“This is the first time we have had more than eight people interested in holding an allied representative position on the CTO Board of Directors. This reflects an overwhelming interest in the industry and contributing to the development of our region,” said Sylma Brown, director of CTO USA. “Over the years, the allied members have used their talent and resources to demonstrate their commitment to supporting the growth of the Caribbean tourism industry. We look forward to the impact they will have over the next two years.

“Notable this year, is that without exception all 13 candidates vying for the five seats pledged their support to the work of the organisation. In the coming weeks, I will contact each person to determine how we can utilise their considerable talents on projects for the region,” added Brown.

Barry Brown, an allied member for 17 years, is an advertising and publishing professional who has been connected to the region for over 25 years. He also served and continues to serve on the board of the CTO Foundation and was on the Audrey Palmer Hawks Scholarship Foundation Board for many years. Brown has prioritized the education of the next generation of tourism leaders and worked with the CTO to develop the Caribbean Youth Congress. To inspire and reverse declining allied membership, promote advocacy and drive Caribbean tourism are Brown’s goals as part of the board of directors.

Having spent much of the past 25 years writing and photographing features for 12 different publications to showcase the Caribbean, Jule Guaglardi demonstrates her extensive knowledge of the Caribbean market by promoting the region through her editorial outlets. Currently, she operates a high-end design firm in Florida which employs a talented Caribbean design team, which makes up more than 50 percent of the staff. Guaglardi started to expand her work into the Caribbean by re-designing prestigious buildings as well as helping to facilitate Florida building codes in the Caribbean to hurricane standards in an effort to help ensure a more economically stable and sustainable tourism product across the region. Guaglardi plans to open a Caribbean office in order to work alongside local contractors and new rising Caribbean design students eager to learn necessary building standards along with the fundamentals of fine design.

Jacqueline Johnson is a pioneer in the publishing industry as the only minority to head up her own media company. As an expatriate, Johnson believes she owes it to the region to put her extensive networking resources to work to improve the quality of life for people in the Caribbean through tourism. During her more than 20 years as an allied member, Johnson served on the CTO Board and on the executive committee and has been Chairman of the CTO Foundation which provides scholarships to Caribbean students, and donates a substantial amount of her time to Caribbean Week and other CTO events. For her contributions and involvement in the Caribbean, CTO awarded Johnson the Outstanding Service Award. Johnson plans to create programmes and provide market research to contribute to the development of Caribbean tourism.

Barbara Magro has worked in advertising sales for premier food and travel magazines in the United States and Australia and is currently the Florida & Caribbean Director of Business Development with Questex Media Group for Luxury Travel Advisor, Travel Agent print and digital products, Travel Agent University e-learning and loyalty platform along with Travel Industry Exchange and Ultra Summit leisure events. During the last two years on the CTO Board of Directors she has given a generous amount of money to promote CTO’s travel agent trade shows, worked with Tourism Cares and ran free banners ads on how to donate to hurricane relief funds during the hurricanes of 2017 along with other forward-thinking actions. Magro plans to continuously give the Caribbean the exposure it needs to the travel trade through the various opportunities that occur within her organisation.

With 17 years of tourism experience, John Lawrence Speers has developed strategic marketing plans, communication strategies and digital innovations across many creative platforms for tourism boards in the Caribbean and other destinations. Having a particular passion for sustainable tourism, Speers recently worked in the hinterlands of Guyana with the indigenous people, creating deeper connections to ensure local cultural traditions prevail and flourish. Speers plans on using his international marketing expertise to connect Caribbean communities both digitally and physically with travellers from North America and beyond.

Posted in: 2018 News, Allied News, Blog

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Caribbean Launches “The Rhythm Never Stops” Marketing Campaign

MIAMI (October 10, 2018) – Inspired by the Caribbean’s sounds and sights, the region’s leading tourism entities have joined forces to launch “The Rhythm Never Stops” – a vibrant marketing campaign enticing travelers to revel in the Caribbean’s incredible natural beauty, diverse cultures and hidden treasures.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) unveiled the fruit of months of collaborative efforts to showcase the Caribbean in a new, dynamic digital campaign, which started on Wednesday, October 10.

Supported by a select group of destinations and private sector partners, the video presentation targets social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Google Display. It features the electronic dance music of “Lean On” by Major Lazer x DJ Snake (feat. MØ), one of the most-streamed songs of all time on Spotify.

Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, said the Caribbean aims to be the world’s most desirable tourism destination. “With the resilience of our people and the year-round nature of our product, we are determined to ensure that in the Caribbean ‘The Rhythm Never Stops’.”

“In undertaking this collaborative marketing thrust, we hope to reinforce the power of ‘Brand Caribbean’, definitively showcasing and celebrating our diverse cultural appeal through a campaign that will encourage visitors to find their own rhythm in the Caribbean,” he said.

Frank Comito, Director General and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, pointed out that, from Bermuda in the north to Barbados in the south, the region comprises more than 30 countries, territories and overseas departments, offering constantly evolving rhythmic segues for travelers.

“Visitors, past and present, have not been introduced to the offerings of our vast and diverse region. We will change that by highlighting the charms contained in the million square miles of Caribbean Sea, home to French, English, Spanish, Dutch, Creole, African, Asian, American and many other cultures,” he said, encouraging residents and visitors to experience more of the region’s rhythms.

The initial phase of the online campaign runs for 12 weeks. It highlights destinations such as The Bahamas in the north; Cayman Islands and Jamaica in the western Caribbean; the French department of Martinique and its eastern Caribbean neighbor Saint Lucia, as well as Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago in the south.

Both CHTA and CTO will track results of the digital advertising and social media-sharing campaign and continue to encourage other tourism-related entities to get on board with their longer-term collaborations.

Click link for campaign video: https://youtu.be/yJlbu2Ig_m8

Phase two of the campaign will be announced soon.

For further information, visit www.caribbeantravel.com.

About The Rhythm Never Stops

The Rhythm Never Stops is a unique partnership between the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organization. The campaign will operate in phases, with phase one made possible by Mastercard, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and Saint Lucia Tourism Enhancement Fund, Grenada Tourism Authority; Jamaica Tourist Board, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Martinique Tourism Authority, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, and the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Tourism. The multifaceted awareness campaign calls attention to the rich diversity of the Caribbean – including its cultures, experiences and tourism products – and showcases that the entire region is thriving and open for business. For more information, visit www.caribbeantravel.com.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Remarks by Hugh Riley Sec. Gen. CTO, State of the Tourism Industry Conference, Friday 5 October, 2018

I’m excited at the prospects for the CTO and the critical role it can play in unifying the Caribbean, not simply as a tourism destination, but as a people destined for greatness.

I’m convinced that a well-supported, well-funded, CTO can take its place alongside other venerable institutions to lift the people of the Caribbean to incredible heights that are attainable but not yet achieved.

The organisation’s leadership in tourism and its contribution to the development of our human resources will help drive strong economies and build reliable, competent and productive workforces and Caribbean populations that are ready to face an ever-changing global environment.

The CTO’s leadership was on full display this week through the experts we brought together to share insights into how we can better build a lasting and sustainable tourism sector that will benefit every individual, every community, every country in this region.

We dared to challenge the region to build better, not just the infrastructure, but the entire industry. We explored applicable recommendations for the use of technology, not only to improve the visitors’ experience, but our lot as a people. We boldly tackled controversial issues such as commoditizing our cultures without exploiting them and embracing the Caribbean as a region of roots.

We brought these issues to the forefront not because they’re popular, but because we are convinced they must be successfully addressed sooner rather than later, if we are to truly build a Caribbean tourism industry for the future.

And there’s no better way to shape the future than to involve our young people. There isn’t a single person among those who were in the room for yesterday’s youth congress, or among the approximately three thousand people who watched it live on the CTO Facebook page, who will disagree with me when I say we have some of the most creative, imaginative and smartest young people anywhere.

They are the ones who will be challenged to continue building the tourism industry on the foundation that has been laid by today’s leaders and yesterday’s pioneers. Based on the strength of their performances yesterday, I’m confident that the future of tourism is bright.

In this context, allow me to congratulate the youth congress winner, Jamaica’s Bryanna Hylton, as well as St. Maarten’s Kiara Meyers and Caroline Pain of Martinique, who placed in the top three.

I know you’d also like an update on our The Rhythm Never Stops campaign; I’m happy to advise that the campaign will be launched this coming Monday, thanks to the public- and private sector stakeholders who contributed to this important first phase.

On the region’s tourism performance, it has been a tale of two situations. On the one hand, we have robust growth in countries that were not affected by last year’s hurricanes.

On the other, we have seen dramatic decreases in arrivals to those hit by the storms, although the performances of these countries are steadily improving.

Of the 22 reporting destinations, 13 of them registered increases in tourist arrivals during the first half of the year, ranging from 1.7 percent to 18.3, while seven recorded decreases of between a negligible -0.3 percent and 71 percent.

The top performing destination during this period were Guyana at 18.3 percent, Belize at 17.1 percent, the Cayman Islands at 15.9 percent, and Grenada at 10.7 percent and the Bahamas at 10.2 percent.

These individual results substantiate the regional messaging of the openness of the destinations for business and the confidence in destinations to deliver quality experiences.

The performances of the key source markets varied considerably, with some destinations recording strong growth, while others registered declines.

In the US market, for example, while Jamaica reported growth of 8.4 percent, the Dominican Republic was up by 6.3 percent and 11 other destinations achieved growth, six of which were by double digits, the Caribbean received Seven million visits from the US during the first half of the year.

This was a 15.8 percent decrease when compared to the corresponding period last year, due mainly to a 54.6 percent fall in arrivals to Puerto Rico and decreases in arrivals to Cuba.

On the other hand, there was a new record in arrivals from Canada for this time of year, with 2.4 million overnight international tourists, representing a 4.7 percent increase.

Arrivals from Europe also increased, though marginally at 0.3 per cent, with three million tourists visiting the Caribbean during the first half of the year.

Belize led the way with 24.3 percent growth, followed by Guyana at 9.4% percent, Curaçao 6.2 percent and Saint Lucia at 4.5 percent. However, overall growth was impacted by steep falls in arrivals to Anguilla, Puerto Rico and Bermuda.

There was also a marginal decline of 0.5 per cent in cruise visits, although there are signs of improvement. Of the 23 reporting destinations, 15 realized improvement upon their 2017 performances with Trinidad & Tobago registering increases of 166 percent, St. Vincent & the Grenadines up by 84 percent and Martinique at 54.7 percent, leading on growth rates.

However, this was countered by declines of nearly 90 percent in the British Virgin Islands, Dominica was down by 88.4 percent, St. Maarten down 27.5 per cent, and the US Virgin Islands decreased by 22.5 percent. Puerto Rico, though hurricane-impacted, posted a 1.1 percent increase during the period.

The region’s competitive advantages of a diverse tourism product and safety and security are still intact. Destinations are rebuilding, and new tourism products and services are being restored daily in the destinations impacted by last year’s hurricanes.

Our research department anticipates an overall decline of between three and four per cent this year, but predicts a 4.3 percent increase next year.

Cruise, on the other hand, is projected to grow by five per cent to six per cent this year.

Let me take the opportunity to thank Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar, director general Joy Jibrilu and team at the Bahamas ministry of tourism, as well as our own CTO staff for working so hard to pull off a wonderful State of the Tourism Industry conference, and I thank you for your participation.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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More Flight Options Announced to Grenada, Just In Time for the Busy Winter Season

St. George’s, Grenada W.I. – October 3, 2018 – With the winter season around the corner, it’s easier to escape the cold weather to visit Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean, with its newly announced flights. With record visitor arrival numbers logged for 2018, the continued demand for Grenada has positively impacted airlines such as Air Canada and American Airlines, who have announced additional flights in December to bring vacationers to the three-island destination.

From December 22 through March 30, American Airlines is adding an additional flight to its schedule, departing Miami International Airport on Saturdays at 9:40 a.m. and arriving at Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport at 2:23 p.m. This new flight will be in addition to the later flight that departs Miami at 10:40 a.m. which will allow seamless connections from other cities.

“With this new frequency to Grenada we further strengthen our Caribbean route network, which today includes more than 900 weekly flights to 36 destinations in the region. Grenada is an important market for American, and we look forward to starting this new seasonal flight helping us better meet customer demand,” said Alfredo Gonzalez, American’s Managing Director for the Caribbean.

Starting December 18, Grenada will have three direct flights per week from Canada’s Toronto Pearson International Airport on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This additional weekly flight will give Canadians more options to fly from Toronto direct into St. George’s, Grenada.

“This is great news for Pure Grenada as airlift is critical to the continued growth of our destination’s tourism industry,” noted CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority, Patricia Maher. “The US and Canada represent two of our largest source markets and we are thrilled to see that our airline partners recognize that Grenada is trending upwards and validate our growth with additional airlift.”

The destination continues to offer visitors from North America non-stop seasonal flights from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport every Saturday with Delta Airlines. JetBlue also continues its daily flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport and will be offering its premium Mint service on Saturdays from December 1, 2018.

About Grenada

The tri-island destination of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique is located in the eastern Caribbean just south of Barbados. Grenada is best known as the “Spice Island of the Caribbean” for its cinnamon and nutmeg production, but the lush destination draws visitors for so much more. The Pure Grenada experience beckons visitors to its 40 white sandy beaches such as the world famous Grand Anse Beach, 15 breathtaking waterfalls, 4 chocolate factories, 3 rum distilleries and more than 30 unforgettable dive sites, including the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean ‘Bianca C’ and the World’s First Underwater Sculpture Park. Grenada’s approach to hospitality is infused with a warm charm which is apparent from its luxury resorts to barefoot chic boutique hotels and villas. There are direct flights to Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport from the US, Caribbean, Canada, UK and Germany making the island accessible to visitors from around the world that wish to experience Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Saint Lucia voted Chair of the CTO

NASSAU, Bahamas (2 October, 2018) – Saint Lucia has been voted in as chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with the election today of its Minister of Tourism Dominic Fedee, ending the two-year term of the Bahamas, which ascended to the position in Barbados in 2016.

His election took place late this evening at the Atlantis, Paradise Island resort where the CTO held its annual general meeting ahead of the official opening of the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC).

Following his election Mr. Fedee said he was humbled and proud that his colleagues had placed their trust in him. The new chairman also stated: “We have an opportunity to advance the strength of our collective purpose. We have to spare no effort to use our collaboration at the CTO level to help to advance the wider integration movement and the CTO can be seen in the same ilk as West Indies cricket and the University of the West Indies as success stories to unite the Caribbean further.

“The Caribbean is one of the strongest and one of the most iconic and aspirational travel brands in the world but also it is the most underutilised and the opportunity exists for us to ensure that we utilise the strength of the brand for the collective good of the destinations of the Caribbean.”

The Saint Lucian minister has named Tiffany Howard, the acting chief executive officer of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, as chairman of the CTO board of directors, since, according to the CTO constitution, the board chairman and the chairman of the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism must come from the same member country.

In addition to the election of the chairman, vice chairs were elected to serve on the executive committee of the board of directors to represent various sub-groups – Curacao, representing the Dutch Caribbean; Haiti representing the French Caribbean; Bahamas and Jamaica, representing the independent Caribbean Community countries and the Cayman Islands representing the British overseas territories. This committee will be completed with representatives from the private sector.

Today’s vote was in keeping with the CTO constitution which mandates that elections must be held every two years and that the chairman cannot serve consecutive terms.

This year’s conference at the Atlantis, Paradise Island resort is organised in collaboration with the Bahamas’ ministry of tourism and is sponsored by Martinique’s Aimé Césaire International Airport, Cititech Solutions, JetBlue and Delta Air Lines, with support from American Airlines, Bahamas Air, Caribbean Airlines and InterCaribbean Airways.

To view a short video clip of the new chairman, please click on the following link: https://bit.ly/2xPxQzB, and for more information on SOTIC, visit www.sotic.onecaribbean.org.

About the Bahamas

The Islands of the Bahamas have a place in the sun for everyone. Each island has its own personality and attractions for a variety of vacation styles with some of the world’s best scuba diving, fishing, sailing, boating, as well as, shopping and dining. The destination offers an easily accessible tropical getaway and provides convenience for travelers with preclearance through U.S. customs and immigration, and the Bahamian dollar is on par with the U.S. dollar. Do everything or do nothing, just remember It’s Better in The Bahamas. For more information call 1-800-Bahamas or visit www.Bahamas.com. Look for The Bahamas on the web on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News, SOTIC

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