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Stay up to date on current and upcoming tourist events! At Caribbean Biz in New York, USA, we keep you in the loop about the latest happenings and events in the region. The 28 Islands referred to as the melting pot, because of the high cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity has approximately 40 million individuals, each of which possess their own unique culture and economic characteristics.

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February 06, 2019


CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), William “Billy” Griffith, has been named Caribbean Tourism Director of the Year, an honour bestowed on him as part of the 2018 Caribbean Travel Awards.

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The announcement was made during the recently concluded Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) marketplace in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Griffith was present as part of the Barbados delegation of tourism professionals, led by Kerrie Symmonds, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, and Permanent Secretary Donna Cadogan.

In a statement from Alexander Britell, Founder of the Caribbean Journal which puts on the awards each year, he lauded Griffith’s contribution to the country’s tourism growth. “Barbados’ crucial tourism sector has seen remarkable strengthening in recent years, and that’s in large part due to the efforts of Barbados Tourism Marketing, the chief promotion arm for the destination. That strengthening has manifested itself in a number of ways, from high-profile new hotel agreements to a wave of new airlift to an impressive growth in sports and events tourism.

“That’s without mentioning the country’s surging improvement in the all-important United States market, which for a long time was an afterthought for Barbados. Behind all of these developments has been the steady hand of the forward-thinking Griffith, one of the industry’s true authorities,” Britell said.

Accepting his award, Griffith thanked the BTMI team for their continued support. “While I am truly honoured and grateful for this acknowledgment, nothing was achieved without the full team’s efforts. Since taking up the role of CEO in 2014, I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the best and the brightest in the local tourism industry, and together we have made a number of destination Barbados’ achievements possible,” he said.

Other winners at the Caribbean Travel Awards included the new Sandals Royal Barbados, which took home All-Inclusive of the Year.

The CHTA marketplace is the Caribbean’s largest marketing event. It brings together the region’s leading tourism professionals under one roof, providing the BTMI with the opportunity to meet face-to-face with wholesalers from around the world to sell destination Barbados. (PR


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January 01, 2019


Optimism the word for 2019


The following is the New Year message from Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

As the Caribbean tourism sector prepares to welcome the New Year, we look forward to 2019 with a sense of optimism, excitement and much hope. We are optimistic because we are seeing signs that the lows which Mother Nature imposed upon us during the latter part of 2017 into 2018 are being reversed.

We are excited about our prospects because of the incredible turnaround that we are seeing in the most impacted destinations. And we hopeful that the progress of our member countries and supporters can continue unabated, to maintain the momentum they developed since the storms of 2017 when everyone rolled up their sleeves and got down to work to build an improved and more sustainable product.

We are pleased to report that tourism accommodations are being rebuilt and reopened, airports are receiving their full schedule of flights with the return of airlines in full force and the diverse product offerings within our destinations are being restored.

At the same time, increases in the number of available seats, positive messaging and promotions in the marketplace have enabled the unaffected destinations to register continuous growth. The demand among international visitors is strong and Caribbean nationals have continued their quest to explore and enjoy the pleasures of their neighbouring destinations.

Regarding the cruise sector, most ports have been repaired and cruise calls have already returned to normal levels. Indeed, regional cruise visits grew in each month since May, with the region registering growth of 13.7 per cent during the May to September period and 17.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018.

In October, the region launched a digital awareness campaign The Rhythm Never Stops on social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, coinciding with augmented airlift for the 2018/19 tourist winter season. Travel professionals and their clients received the message that the Caribbean is a resilient region with an unstoppable resolve to succeed and to keep on moving in the right direction.

For 2019, the outlook is bright for our destinations. We’re quite excited about declaring 2019 as the Year of Festivals in the Caribbean. Simply stated, there’s a rhythm to the region that cannot be replicated anywhere on earth. There’s no escaping the melody of nature, as gentle breezes and free-flowing fronds combine beautifully in perfect harmony; no getting away from the heavenly choruses of tides caressing magnificent world class beaches; no missing the cadence of our conversation, the tempo of our movement.

The Caribbean is a festival of rhythms and a home of festivals – music, art, literary, sailing, lights, food, rum, religious, dance – all with their own attractive rhythms.

The Year of Festivals will focus on the fascinating events that have become an integral part of the Caribbean tourism calendar. Festivals help to energise communities across the region, while giving visitors more reasons to enjoy our destinations.

Despite all there is to celebrate in 2019, we must also approach the New Year with a degree of caution since there’s still much work to be done. While preliminary data from our member countries revealed increased demand for travel to the vast majority of the 24 reporting countries, and despite a 9.1 per cent increase in arrivals in September 2018 when compared to the same month in 2017, overall our performance was still down in 2018.

A third quarter decline of 3.2 per cent made this our best quarter, and the rate of tourist arrivals is now expected to slow to -1.0 per cent to -2.0 per cent - a definite sign that the tide is turning. Cruise passenger arrivals are projected to grow at an accelerated rate of around six per cent to seven per cent.

Without doubt, our region is in a stronger position than it was a year ago. We are encouraged by the prospect of even greater collaboration with our partners in the industry, including the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, and a range of travel professionals and industry partners who consistently offer Caribbean holiday experiences to their best clients.

Our confidence is buoyed by the progress our region is making to combine its resources to bolster our competitive position internationally. The evidence is clear that a strong, unified Caribbean gives the region a global advantage which individual member-countries on their own have little chance of attaining. The success of our countries rests upon our ability to speak as a region with one strong voice.

On behalf of the CTO Council of ministers and commissioners of tourism, the board of directors, members and staff of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, I thank you for all your commitment, hard work and support in 2018, and wish you a New Year of rich blessings and prosperity.




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