CTO News

CTO Helps Dominica Prepare To Cope With The Impact Of Climate Change

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (30 July 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, has been working closely with its member country, Dominica, to be better able to plan for, withstand and recover from the negative impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

The CTO has completed a two-day climate sensitisation and disaster risk management workshop in Roseau, aimed at facilitating the sharing of knowledge and best practices on strategies related to climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as identifying sound disaster risk management approaches.

Dominica suffered a direct hit by category five Hurricane Maria last September, which wiped out 226 per cent of its gross domestic product, two years after Tropical Storm Erika passed over the island, destroying an entire village, killing 20 people and leaving behind damage to 90 per cent of the country’s GDP.

“The topics of climate change and disaster preparedness are very pertinent to us in Dominica and in the wider Caribbean. We live in a region that is prone to the effects of climate change and disasters especially hurricanes. Of course, we have first-hand knowledge and recent experience with hurricanes,” Colin Piper, the chief executive officer of Discover Dominica Authority (DDA), the island’s tourist board, said at the opening of the workshop

“Anecdotal data indicates that tourism arrivals after natural disasters reduce by up to 30 per cent for up to three years. We are in fact experiencing a reduction in promotable visitor arrivals. For some properties, their occupancy levels may be up due to aid and agency short stays, but we must address this issue which threatens our livelihood within the hospitality industry and as nation,” he added.

Thirty tourism practitioners and decision makers from the public and private sectors participated in the event, which formed part of the “Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry” project currently implemented by the CTO, with funding and technical assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank, through the joint Natural Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) programme for Caribbean Forum states, undertaken in conjunction with the African Caribbean and Pacific Group and the European Union.

The 26-27 July workshop, facilitated by strategic planning expert Dr. Jennifer Edwards, was the latest in a series of training programmes being conducted by the CTO for Dominica.

Earlier this month a “Delivering Quality Service” workshop was held for 55 craft and souvenir vendors, hair braiders and tourism taxi service providers to help them better appreciate the importance of their roles in visitor satisfaction; improve people relations through effective communication and understand how positive visitor interactions result in satisfied visitors.

That workshop, facilitated by the CTO’s regional human resources development consultant Sharon Banfield- Bovell,  covered areas such as understanding the customer, the importance of delivering quality customer service and the ten principles of customer service, all areas which Dominica said were critical in ensuring the service providers are equipped with the necessary skill set to deliver the highest level of customer service.

In addition, 25 participants each are to be trained in the management of sites and attractions at a workshop which targets forestry park wardens and the Waitukubuli National Trail Project among others, and a management of service quality workshop for senior executives and general managers in private and public sector tourism enterprises.

The CTO’s resource mobilisation and development division offers several training and development programmes, for member countries and the tourism sector, in keeping with its mandate to assist in developing and strengthening human capital in the region’s tourism sector so as to offer high levels of professional service.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Climate Change, Corporate News

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Tourism Human Resource Professionals To Plan Strategies To Build High Performance Workforce

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (26 July 2018) – When human resource professionals from across the region meet in the Cayman Islands in November for the 9th Tourism Human Resources Conference, they will be challenged to develop effective strategies and plans to build a high performance and motivated workforce.

The 28-30 November conference, organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT), comes at a time when the Caribbean faces increased competition in the global, high-tech, innovation driven industry, and amidst increasing calls for a total rethink of the way tourism leaders engage with the workforce.

“There is an urgent need for a high performance, resilient workforce which is critical for sustainability of the tourism sector in this ever-changing environment,” Sharon Banfield-Bovell, the CTO’s regional human resource development consultant said as planning for the conference intensifies.

Building high performance teams come with challenges, she said, including employees’ unwillingness or lack of motivation to change; low employee productivity and morale; and the scarcity of relevant skills, as well as weak or outdated leadership thinking and styles.

However, Banfield-Bovell said, while technology can help drive efficiency, “the real value in tourism is our human resources – the power of people – and the ability of a well-trained, highly valued, and fairly compensated workforce to transcend beyond process and profit”.

The conference, which has as its theme Building a Resilient, High-Performing and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Workforce For Global Competitiveness, will feature experts in human resources, tourism and labour, including Claudia Coenjaerts, director of the International Labour Organization’s decent work team  and office for the Caribbean, who will deliver the keynote address on, The Future of Work – What will become the New Normal.

The CTO team has been working with the CIDOT to produce a dynamic programme of plenaries, masterclasses, a students’ forum and a tour.

“As Caribbean nations, it is imperative that we make the necessary investments which drive visitation in this globally competitive industry. While these investments often come in the form of property development or increased marketing, it is my belief that the greatest asset any tourism product has is its people,” commented Rosa Harris, director of tourism for the Cayman Islands. “The Cayman Islands has continued to develop our local tourism workforce through nationwide customer service training, tertiary education scholarships and the establishment of a vocational certification programme through our School of Hospitality Studies. We are proud to host the 2018 Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Human Resources Conference and look forward to inviting professionals from across the region, to share best practices on ways we can strengthen our tourism workforces for collective success.”

Registration and other information available at www.onecaribbean.org.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, HR Conference

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New Directions for Caribbean Tourism at SOTIC 2018

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (25 July 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is examining new strategies to stimulate growth in the region’s tourism industry at this year’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) themed Rejuvenate, Recreate, Reconnect – New Directions for Caribbean Tourism.

Scheduled 2-5 Oct. 2018 at Atlantis, Paradise Island in The Bahamas, SOTIC 2018 will consider ways to build a tourism industry that is resilient and able to adapt to changing trends, demands and situations.

“Globally, the tourism industry is constantly evolving. At the Caribbean Tourism Organization, we must be in the forefront of anticipating and managing the changes that affect our region – extreme climate phenomena, political and economic realities at home and abroad, and the rapid rise in technological developments,” said Hugh Riley, secretary general and CEO of CTO.

“In order to continue to grow our tourism in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to our communities, we must be open to new thinking, which often means breaking out of traditional comfort zones. SOTIC 2018 is intended to inspire action to develop innovative concepts, tools and models, and implement strategies that recognise the changing demands of international travellers. Exceeding the expectations of increasingly knowledgeable consumers is a challenge the Caribbean must always be prepared to meet,” Riley added.

The SOTIC theme ties in CTO’s declaration of 2018 as the “Caribbean Year of Rejuvenation and Wellness,” with multifaceted themes for each of the three conference days:

  • Day one is centered on “Recreate” with discussions focused on innovation, business development and building better, not just the physical infrastructure, but an entire immersive experience that is driven by technology.
  • The second day will delve into “Rejuvenation,” featuring a blend of creative ideas and cutting edge thinking on what can be done to add vitality, energy and freshness into the Caribbean tourism product. Discussions will also focus on efforts by regional carriers to make travelling through the region less challenging and enhance the visitor experience.
  • Emphasis on day three will be on “Reconnecting,” where participants will explore ways to distinguish the Caribbean tourism product by incorporating the region’s unique cultural hybridism and endemic wellness customs into programmes.

Throughout the three-day event, delegates will address visitors’ desire for new experiences, while being conscious of the impact they have on the communities they visit.

Caribbean tourism practitioners, policymakers, travel professionals and strategic partners from the public and private sectors throughout the region and internationally participate each year in SOTIC.

SOTIC is being organised by the CTO in collaboration with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. The conference will be preceded by business meetings on 1 – 2 Oct. 2018.

Sponsorship opportunities and details are available from CTO USA 212-635-9530 or via http://sotic.onecaribbean.org/sponsor.

For further details on the conference, including how to register, please visit http://sotic.onecaribbean.org/.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, SOTIC

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CTO Honours Top Travel Journalists and Influencers at Expanded Media Awards Ceremony During Caribbean Week New York

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (9 May, 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has announced the finalists for the Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards, an expanded media awards programme which will, for the first time, feature categories for social media influencers and campaigns in recognition of the changing media landscape and increasing relevance of non-traditional media. The winners will be unveiled at an elegant dinner ceremony at the New Yorker Hotel on 7 June during #CaribbeanWeekNewYork2018.

A distinguished panel of media and industry judges were enthusiastic about the quality of work represented at this year’s event. In particular, the expanded programme attracted a significantly greater number of entries for the No Anansi Story! and Me Too! I Rediscovered Home! categories which honour Caribbean-based and Diaspora media, respectively. The number of submissions for the newly introduced social media categories also surpassed expectations. The judges panel indicated that the prestigeous competition attracts a higher calibre of submissions each year.

A contest in which readers can select the winner for the Oh My Word, I Blogged! Best Caribbean Travel Blog Posting will continue to allow voting through 18 May, 2018.

For the remaining categories, the following finalists have been selected:

I Couldn’t Have Written It Better Myself: Best Feature Article in a U.S.-based Consumer Newspaper

  • Melanie Reffes: “Cost No Object: Caribbean Vacations for the One Percent” – USA Today
  • Jessie Serwer: “Grenada’s Grand Anse May Be the Most Authentic Caribbean Beach” – New York Daily News
  • Mark Rogers: “Graze the Grenada Spice Market” – USA Today

Been There, Wrote That: Best Feature Article in a U.S.-based Consumer Magazine

  • Charlotte Peterson: “Spring Regatta Spices Things Up” – Sailing Magazine
  • Ryan Grim: “What Mangoes Mean to the island of Nevis” – Extra Crispy
  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates: “Home for a Hamilton: Don’t Throw Away Your Shot at Visiting Nevis” – USA Today Go Escape

Inner Circle King/Queen: Best Feature Article in a U.S.-based Trade Publication

  • Ed Wetschler: “8 Resorts Whose Kids Programs Teach Real Skills” – Recommend
  • Dan Peltier: “Cayman Islands Tests U.S. Meal-Kit Service to Boost its Food Tourism Marketing” – Skift
  • Mark A. Thompson: “Stopping to Smell the Flowers at Martinique’s French Coco” – Travel Weekly

Oh Snap! Best Photograph in Conjunction with a Feature Article

  • Patrick Dykstra: photo of sperm whale of Dominica accompanying “What’s New in the Caribbean” by Elaine Glusac – The New York Times
  • Alex Mustard: photo of schools of silversides accompanying “Keepin’ It Easy: 60 Years on, Grand Cayman Dives are as Spectacular as Ever” by Ted Alan Stedman – Scuba Diving Magazine
  • IKenna Douglas: photo for “Photography Takes Centre Stage” – Panache

Golden Mic: Best Feature Broadcast

  • Harold Jessurun: “No Small Feat: Displaced Children of Barbuda” – Isla y Vuelta
  • Nneka Faison: “Take a Trip to Curacao” – WCVB/WABC Boston
  • Darley Newman: “Travels with Darley in Martinique” – Travels with Darley

Virtual Visitor Award: Best Feature in an Online Publication (not including blogs)

  • Alexander Britell: “Following Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Bimini” – Caribbean Journal
  • Alexander Britell: “Grenada, the Caribbean Capital of Chocolate” – Caribbean Journal
  • Lebawit (Lily) Girma: “13 Fun Things to Do in Curacao Right Now” – CNN Travel

Up the Social Ladder: Best Social Media Marketing Campaign by a CTO Member Country

  • Saint Lucia – “Let her Inspire You”
  • Grenada – “Free to Wander”
  • Bahamas – “No Filter”

Look, I’ve Gone Social: Most Outstanding Social Media Coverage of an Event or Activity (by a journalist or influencer)

  • Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon and Brian Major: “Get to Know Grenada” – JetSetSarah
  • Krista Simmons: “Experiential Offerings in Grenada” – Tastemade Travel
  • Yashekia Powell: “Full Travellers Guide to Jamaica Food & Drink Festival” – The World Up Closer

Me Too! I Rediscovered Home! Best Feature by a Diasporan Journalist in U.S. or Caribbean Media

  • Dora Isaac Weithers: “St. Kitts: The Little Caribbean Island with Large Tourist Appeal” – HubPages.com
  • Kristin Braswell: “Empathy Not Embargoes: The Hypocrisy of the U.S. Cutting Ties with Cuba” – Essence
  • Danielle Pointdujour: “4 Reasons to Fall in Love with this Classic Bahamas Resort All Over Again” – Essence.com

No Anansi Story! Best Feature by a Caribbean-based Journalist (that appeared in Caribbean-based media)

  • Marie-Claire Williams: “Pilgrimage to the Home of Reggae” – Barbados TODAY
  • Catherine Morris: “Families Flock Pirates Cove: Freeport Welcomes First Bahamian Theme Park” – Welcome Bahamas
  • Kinisha Correia: “More than Just Beads: Story and Myth” – Panache

CTO assembled a panel of expert media and travel industry judges to review submissions and determine the award-winners, led by head judge Yuriy Boykiv, CEO at Gravity Media, LLC:

  • Yuriy Boykiv, CEO at Gravity Media, LLC, was responsible for the entire spectrum of global markets in his previous role driving the growth and business of the for the WorldDirect platform as Director of International Business at DIRECTV
  • Tiffany Dowd, Founder and President, Luxe Social Media, advises luxury travel brands on social media marketing and online strategy and was recognized among the “25 Best Luxury Digital Experts To Follow”
  • Tony Fraser, veteran journalist with over 40 years of experience, a graduate in journalism, history, sociology, politics and economics, and international affairs, and part-time lecturer in journalism at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus
  • Terry Gallagher, President, Lou Hammond Group, New York, and destination marketing leader with over 30 years’ experience planned and implemented strategic campaigns in the travel industry that resulted in award-winning placements
  • Mark Edward Harris, award-winning travel/documentary photographer whose work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Forbes Life, Islands, National Geographic Traveler, Playboy, Marie Claire, The New York Times and Vanity Fair
  • Andrea Hutchinson, a dynamic public relations expert and freelance events director with a degree in journalism and public relations, and experience in sponsor relations, marketing, logistics and creating strategic alliances on behalf of global brands
  • Josh Kahn, a well-respected tourism industry consultant and public relations specialist at award-winning boutique agency KTCpr as well as Immediate Past Chairman for the prestigious New York Chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)
  • Norie Quintos, award-winning journalist and Editor at Large for National Geographic Travel Media helping destinations and travel companies find and tell their stories as a consultant on communications strategy, media relations, custom content and messaging
  • Ruthanne Terrero, Vice President – Content/Editorial Director at Questex Travel Group, which includes Travel Agent Magazine, Luxury Travel Advisor, American Spa and Hotel Management, among other well-respected titles

Winners will be announced during #CaribbeanWeekNewYork2018 at an elegant awards ceremony and dinner gala on Thursday, 7 June, 2018. Tickets are available for $250 per person or $2,250 for a table seating 10 persons.

Learn more about the awards programme at https://www.onecaribbean.org/caribbean-media-awards-2018/ or visit www.CaribbeanWeek.com to browse events and activities planned throughout #CaribbeanWeekNewYork2018.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Week, Corporate News

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CTO Mitigates Climate Impact With Launch Of “Regional Tourism Education And Awareness Campaign”

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (1 May, 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) will officially launch a Regional Tourism Education and Awareness Campaign on 1 May to foster a discussion on climate resilience and sustainability on both the regional and international stage. The initiative is dedicated to the memory of CTO colleague Bonita Morgan, a beloved regional champion of Tourism Education and Human Resource Development prior to her untimely passing.

“The Caribbean tourism product is to a large extent based on the natural environment, and as such CTO and our member countries are committed to safeguarding these resources on which our very lives and livelihoods depend,” said Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the CTO. “Having recently celebrated Earth Day, we are reminded to respect and protect the fragile planetary resources that are critical to maintaining the integrity and economic stability of our countries. Through the Education and Awareness campaign, it is our intention to inspire and empower the regional tourism stakeholders to concerted action,” he added.

The campaign will run for seven months through November 2018 as part of a series of activities delivered in support of the Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry (CSSCTI) Project made possible by funding from the Caribbean Development Bank via the African Caribbean Pacific, European Union, Caribbean Development Bank Natural Disaster Risk Management (ACP-EU-CDB NDRM) in CARIFORUM Countries Programme.

It will be delivered via CTO’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn social media pages, as well as through the Barbados-based CaribVision Television and the http://ourtourism.onecaribbean.org campaign hub. Tourism stakeholders, media and friends of the region are encouraged to share the campaign via the hashtag #TEAC2018. Photo submissions and short videos of Caribbean tourists and tourism ambassadors for inclusion in the campaign are also welcome.

Materials submitted by CTO-member destinations will be utilized during the campaign for monthly features delving into key themes in sustainable tourism development, including:

  • The work and role of the CTO in tourism sustainability
  • Participating in ‘Sustainable Action Challenges’
  • Fun facts about Caribbean tourism and CTO-member destinations
  • Climate resilience and disaster management in tourism
  • Key players in Caribbean tourism development
  • Sharing in the stories of Caribbean people

“Our efforts will continue to focus on advocacy to mitigate negative impacts on our communities and the environment, including to reduce the overall environmental footprint,” Riley noted. “In this regard, we add our voice to the global appeal as we join the international community in supporting the campaign to End Plastic Pollution!”

The Regional Tourism Education and Awareness Campaign is led by the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Division with support from The Youth Project Agency and the Caribbean Media Corporation. Other campaign partners include CTO member countries, digital media company Travelspective, industry partner the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and CTO’s PR agency partner KTCpr. LIAT and Caribbean Airlines will also be engaged to support dissemination and outreach activities.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Corporate News

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