CTO Names Gilman Figaro as its 2019 Distinguished Caribbean Citizen

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) will present its “Distinguished Caribbean Citizen Award” to Gilman Figaro, founder and chairman of the SUNSHINE Awards, for promoting the Caribbean’s culture around the globe by gripping audiences with exciting and entertaining art forms, including dance, music and poetry.

Figaro will be honoured during the Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards programme which recognises excellence in promoting the Caribbean and honours individuals whose outstanding, passionate and dedicated work has contributed to the development of the region. The esteemed awards dinner takes place on Thursday, 6 June, during Caribbean Week New York, when the Big Apple is captivated with Caribbean flair, pulsating energy and colourful sounds.

“The Caribbean Tourism Organization recognises Gilman Figaro’s drive for promoting Caribbean culture through the creative arts,” said Sylma Brown, Director, CTO-USA. “His untiring hard work, dedication and commitment to positioning the Caribbean as an important region for all art forms are praiseworthy and for that reason we will honour him with the Distinguished Caribbean Citizen Award.”

Figaro was born in Trinidad and migrated to the United States two years after graduating high school. His determination to enhance the integrity and global awareness of Caribbean art forms led him to create the SUNSHINE Awards. This organisation recognises excellence in the performing arts, education, science and sports of the various Caribbean countries.

Always placing a great emphasis on education, Figaro established the SUNSHINE Awards Student Recognition Programme which, annually, recognises and applauds the scholastic achievements of the top students from selected Caribbean island.

Figaro also co-authored “Song for Montserrat“, which brought together an ensemble of 119 top performing artistes from across the Caribbean in a fundraising concert for families in Montserrat who had lost their homes during the volcanic eruption of 1995.

Figaro also scripted and composed the First Annual Indo-Caribbean Music Awards for Jamaica Me Crazy Records for which he adopted a format comparable to the Grammy Awards. He produced and penned the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College’s First Annual Steelband Festival titled “The Pride of the Caribbean,” leading Figaro to subsequently create four shows for well-known pianists, as well as other successful musical endeavours.

Driven by his passion for the Caribbean and its art forms, Figaro has received multiple awards highlighting his dedication to the performing arts, music and Caribbean communities.

 

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Social Enterprise Award Added to the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Awards Programme

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (27 March 2019) – Caribbean enterprises that act as social change agents through tourism innovation will be recognised by the region’s tourism development agency.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is this year introducing the Tourism Social Enterprise award to its sustainable tourism awards programme to demonstrate in a tangible way its support for businesses or individuals that use creative ways to show how tourism can support societal development.

“Social entrepreneurship is exemplified when an enterprise’s core business activity has positive spin-off benefits to solve or bridge community-based problems. This business development approach is highly progressive and one which the CTO seeks to promote, as it focuses on creating positive changes in society through innovation,” says Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism development specialist.

“The award will recognise and validate the efforts and contribution of business ventures that are making a dedicated and tangible commitment to community development as an expression of their corporate social responsibility policy. It seeks to identify entities that are not just in the business of tourism, but rather those that have gone further to leverage tourism as a strategic means of addressing distinctive challenges faced by people in society,” Charles adds.

This Social Enterprise award is being introduced in collaboration with the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility – a partnership between the Caribbean Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Government of Canada and the UK Department for International Development – which supports innovative and practical solutions that stimulate economic growth and increase productivity in micro small and medium enterprises.

The new award is open to public and private sector entities, tourism enterprises, communities or individuals that seek to address specific social ills and unmet needs while generating widespread benefits from tourism business activities via tourism business activities. It is one of eight categories of awards to be presented at the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Conference scheduled to be held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in August.

 Applicants may also submit entries the following categories:

  • Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award
  • Destination Stewardship Award
  • Sustainable Accommodation Award
  • Community Benefit Award
  • Culture and Heritage Protection Award
  • Nature Conservation Award
  • Agro-Tourism Award

The closing date for receipt of applications is 16 June, 2019. For more information, including entry guidelines click on the following link: https://ctostawards2019.pgtb.me/rTV0cJ.

CTO’s sustainable tourism awards programme has been in existence for 15 years and recognises unique and innovative tourism products that embrace sustainable tourism concepts and core values, and help to enhance tourism product offerings. A panel of experts selected by the CTO, representing various sectors of the tourism industry at the national, regional and international levels, will judge the awards.

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CTO Scholarship Foundation Announces the Bonita Morgan Memorial Scholarship

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (26 March 2019) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) programme which supports Caribbean students pursuing studies in tourism and related subjects has announced the Bonita Morgan Memorial Scholarship in honour of its former head of human resources.

In a tribute to Morgan, who passed away in April 2018 after serving 22 years as the CTO’s director of human resources and later, the director of resource mobilization and development, the CTO Scholarship Foundation is offering up to US$5,000 to Caribbean nationals currently employed by national tourism organisations seeking to strengthen their skills in tourism education or human resources development.

“Bonita Morgan dedicated her career to the development of Caribbean people through education and professional training, and her passion guided her work within the CTO. She held the belief that the region needed to develop leaders for this critical industry and so she developed programmes to teach Caribbean students, at an early age, the importance of the industry to the economic well-being of the region, with the expectation that they would pursue a career in tourism,” said Sylma Brown, director of CTO-USA and treasurer of the CTO Scholarship Foundation. “She was a driving force behind the foundation, therefore, it is fitting that we should honour her memory and the work she did to develop a world-class tourism workforce in the region, by introducing this scholarship in her name.”

The Bonita Morgan Memorial Scholarship is one of several new scholarships introduced this year in an enhanced and expanded programme, which includes scholarships of up to $5000 in public relations and communications; tourism education or human resources development; hotel, resort, or villa development, design and/or planning; and aviation or air transport technologies.

The full list of scholarships and grants, along with criteria for qualification, can be found at https://bit.ly/2JhVfO3. Applications are currently being accepted and the deadline for submitting entries is Friday, 19 April 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. All applications must be submitted online at https://bit.ly/2VeNQUX. Applications will not be accepted via mail, email or fax. The foundation selects individuals who demonstrate high levels of achievement and leadership both within and outside the classroom and who express a strong interest in making a positive contribution to Caribbean tourism.

Individuals who wish to make a contribution to the CTO Foundation can do so via its GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/cto-scholarship-foundation.

The CTO Foundation is a 501 (C)(3) entity established in 1997 with the aim of training and developing future leaders for the Caribbean tourism industry by funding studies in tourism and tourism-related subjects, hospitality and language. Since its inception, the foundation has raised over US$1 million in scholarship funds and has provided over 280 grants and scholarships.

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CTO Foundation Expands Programme with Industry-Specific Scholarships for Caribbean Nationals

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (25 Feb. 2019) – In an effort to provide more opportunities for Caribbean nationals pursuing higher education and careers in the tourism industry, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Scholarship Foundation has enhanced and expanded its programme.

With the support of partners in the private sector, the foundation is this year introducing scholarships of up to $5000 in public relations and communications; tourism education or human resources development; hotel, resort, or villa development, design and/or planning; and aviation or air transport technologies. In addition, the Arley Sobers Memorial Scholarship for those seeking to enhance their skills in tourism research or statistics is being doubled from US$2500 to $5000, while a master’s degree scholarship of no less than US$5,000 is being offered for studies in tourism-related disciplines, including language, agriculture, fisheries, horticulture, event management, interior design, medical tourism, architecture, sports, culture and heritage, environmental protection and preservation.

The foundation is also offering a US$5000 scholarship to Caribbean nationals interested in pursuing a first degree in tourism management or marketing, as well as study grants of US$2500 to those seeking to improve their skills in any tourism-related field of study that will enhance the development of a sustainable tourism industry and boost service excellence in the region.

“By expanding the programme to include financial support for study in this wide range of tourism-related subjects, the CTO Scholarship Foundation seeks to meet its objective of ensuring that the brightest and the best are attracted to careers in the tourism sector or in areas that impact tourism, thereby helping to build a Caribbean tourism industry that is globally competitive and sustainable,” says Jacqueline Johnson, the foundation’s chairman. “The foundation is profoundly thankful to our partners who have come on board to make these industry specific scholarships possible, and we look forward to welcoming other partners in the future.”

The private sector partners financing various scholarships include Zelman Style Interiors which is funding the hotel, resort, or villa rental scholarship, and Delta Air Lines which funds the aviation and air transport technologies scholarship.

The full list of scholarships and grants, along with criteria for qualification, can be found at https://bit.ly/2JhVfO3. Applications are currently being accepted and the deadline for submitting entries is Friday, 19 April 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. All applications must be submitted online at https://bit.ly/2VeNQUX. Applications will not be accepted via mail, email or fax. The foundation selects individuals who demonstrate high levels of achievement and leadership both within and outside the classroom and who express a strong interest in making a positive contribution to Caribbean tourism.

Individuals who wish to make a contribution to the CTO Foundation can do so via its GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/cto-scholarship-foundation.

The CTO Foundation is a 501 (C)(3) entity established in 1997 with the aim of training and developing future leaders for the Caribbean tourism industry by funding studies in tourism and tourism-related subjects, hospitality and language. Since its inception, the foundation has raised over US$1 million in scholarship funds and has provided over 280 grants and scholarships.

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Caribbean Tourism on the Upswing

~ CTO projects 6-7 per cent growth in 2019 following better-than-predicted performance last year ~

CTO’s director of research (ag) Ryan Skeete addresses this morning’s news conference

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (13 Feb. 2019) – The Caribbean tourism sector is projected to record strong growth in 2019 on the heels of a stronger-than-expected performance last year.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the authority on regional tourism statistics and performance, is forecasting 6-7 per cent growth this year, continuing an upward trend which began last September.

“We are projecting that tourist arrivals will increase by between six and seven per cent in 2019, as the damaged infrastructure in the hurricane-impacted destinations returns to capacity. Similarly, cruise arrivals should expand by a further four per cent to five per cent,” Ryan Skeete the CTO’s acting director of research revealed at the Caribbean Tourism Performance Review news conference at the CTO’s headquarters this morning.

Skeete did caution of possible “significant headwinds to navigate”, including the outcome of the Brexit negotiations in the UK, the on-going trade war between the United States and China and potential extreme weather events in the destinations and marketplaces.

Still, he said, with global demand for international travel expected to remain strong, underpinned by healthy economic activity, and with improved air connectivity helping to boost arrivals, the outlook for Caribbean tourism in 2019 was cautiously optimistic.

The CTO research director revealed that a robust 9.8 per cent growth during the September to December period last year, led to a stronger-than-projected performance. It was a significant turnaround from the previous eight months of decline.

“Even the destinations that were severely impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, despite registering overall double-digit declines last year, experienced a significant turnaround during the last four months, registering triple-digit increases during this period,” Skeete told the briefing, which was streamed ‘live’ to an international audience.

The 29.9 million tourist visits in 2018 represented the second highest number of visitors to the Caribbean on record, surpassed only by the 30.6 million who visited in 2017. And while this represented a 2.3 per cent decline overall, it was better that the anticipated three per cent to four per cent fall-off.

“With a strong performance during the last four months of 2018, including a robust showing by countries impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, the evidence suggests that Caribbean tourism is on the upswing,” Skeete declared.

According to information compiled from CTO member countries, Canada was the strongest performing market – its 3.9 million visits represented a 5.7 per cent rise. The intra-Caribbean market had its best performance ever, reaching two million visitors, while South America produced 1.9 million tourist visits, representing a 3.6 per cent increase. Arrivals from Europe grew by a modest 1.3 per cent, with UK arrivals remaining flat at an estimated 1.3 million.

However, the United States, which remains the region’s leading market, was down, with the 13.9 million American tourist visits representing a 6.3 per cent fall. This was due mainly to steep declines in arrivals to popular destinations impacted by the hurricanes, such as Puerto Rico, which was down by 45.6 per cent, and St. Maarten, which fell by 79 per cent.

This notwithstanding, there was a healthy 28 per cent rise in arrivals from the US in the fourth quarter, reflecting the strong turnaround during this period.

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