Stay up to date on current and upcoming tourist events! At Caribbean Biz in New York, New York, we keep you in the loop about the latest happenings, events, and trending tourist destinations.

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Tourism Updates

Stay up to date on current  properties and upcoming tourist events! At Caribbean Biz in New York, USA, we keep you in the loop about the latest happenings 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, thousands of properties, each of which possess their own unique brand, culture and economic characteristics.


Featuring 3 outdoor pools, a miniature golf course, and the Baian Breeze Restaurant, this resort is on the shores of the Caribbean Sea. In tropical gardens, it is a 10-minute drive from downtown Bridgetown.

Each brightly colored suite at the Divi Southwinds Beach Resort is furnished with a complete kitchen and a furnished balcony. The living area includes a TV and a sofa bed. Wi-Fi is available.

The Pure Ocean restaurant is on the beachfront, serving fresh local cuisine. Joslyn’s Café is open for lunch and located next to the beach.

Offering direct access to half a mile of sandy beach, the resort is ideal for surfing, scuba diving, and windsurfing. Guests can work out in the on-site gym or play on the tennis courts.

Grantley Adams International Airport is within a 15-minute drive of Southwinds Divi Beach Resort. The Garrison Savannah Horseracing Track is 5 minutes away by car.

Saint Lawrence is a great choice for travelers interested in nightlife, restaurants and sandy beaches.

Couples in particular like the location – they rated it 8.9 for a two-person trip.





March 30, 2020


Tourism Minister confident that industry will rebound

CMC,


Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has expressed confidence that the industry will rebound at some point – but it will not be a “business as usual” approach.

In a recent podcast on titled ‘Tourism Resilience and Recovery’, Bartlett said the coronavirus (COVID-19) will inevitably subside, but how quickly will depend on guidelines being followed and citizens putting country above selfish impulses.

“As we continue to fight this crisis together, we are reminded that we have been here before and like we overcame in the past, so shall we again,” he said.

“How quickly we do so will depend significantly on the extent to which we, as citizens, are able to act selflessly and obey precautionary measures, on the one hand, while the State and the private sector must work collaboratively, on the other hand, to deploy resources and lead initiatives to encourage economic resilience as well as to help those who are suffering the greatest,” he added.

The Tourism Minister said that to this end, individuals must continue to practise social distancing and limit interactions that will increase exposure to infections.

“We must also continue to observe regulations about public gatherings, while desisting from circulating misinformation or fake news that can contribute to more panic and confusion,” he emphasised. (CMC)


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March 12, 2020


CTO Statement on COVID-19


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (12 March 2020) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) continues to closely monitor the coronavirus virus (COVID-19) situation. We continue to engage our member countries, as well as the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and our tourism partners, to inform travel-related health measures that are proportionate to the public health threat and based on local risk assessment.

While there continues to be a limited number of imported coronavirus cases and no cases of local transmission in the region, the health authorities across our membership are taking the necessary steps to limit the number of new cases and to curb the possible spread among our populations from the confirmed imported cases.

The CTO would like to emphasise that the World Health Organization (WHO) has not called for any travel and trade restrictions as a result of the coronavirus. As a matter of fact, the WHO continues to advise against such restrictions. Local populations and visitors alike are assured that the Caribbean remains open for business.

Consequently, we advise travellers to follow the health and travel advisories issued by the authorities and to take appropriate precautions.

Closely monitor www.carpha.org and www.onecaribbean.org for important information and updates

Avoid contact with sick people.

Avoid travelling if sick.

Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.

Follow local authority instructions

Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing immediately of the tissue and performing hand hygiene

Refrain from touching mouth and nose.

Follow proper food hygiene practices

In addition, before you travel, please check whether any travel restrictions have been issued by your intended destination. You should also consider investing in comprehensive travel insurance.


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March 10, 2020


GOOD NEWS FROM THE BAHAMAS

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, March 6, 2020 – The Bahamas continues to show the world why 7.2 million tourists visited the island nation in 2019. Five top-ten placements in USA Today 10Best’ 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards heralded the islands as having some of the best beach bars, restaurants, rum distilleries, golf courses and, of course, beaches in the Caribbean. New hotels and events coming to Bimini, Andros and Nassau means there is much excitement coming to The Bahamas.

AWARDS AND ACCOLADES

The Bahamas Wins Big in USA Today 10Best 2020 Caribbean Readers’ Choice Travel Awards –The Bahamas secured five top-ten placements in this year’s USA Today 10Best Caribbean Readers’ Choice Travel Awards. Tony Macaroni’s Conch Experience was voted one of the Best Caribbean Beach Bars; Banana Bay and Graycliff Restaurant were voted two of the Best Restaurants in the Caribbean; John Watling’s Distillery was voted one of the Best Caribbean Rum Distilleries; Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Course and Baha Mar Royal Blue Golf Course were voted two of the Best Caribbean Golf Courses and Tahiti Beach, Fortune Beach and Gold Rock Beach were voted some of the Caribbean’s Best Beaches.

NEWS

Grand Lucayan Sold – The Government of The Bahamas sold the Grand Lucayan on Monday, March 2 to a partnership between Royal Caribbean International and ITM (Bahamas Port Investments Ltd.). The partnership is expected to invest $250 million in the hotel and redevelopment of the cruise port, which will result in 3,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Overwater Bungalows Coming to Bimini – Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts is set to break ground on its first property in The Bahamas and Caribbean region this spring. Banyan Tree Illa Bimini Resort & Residences will feature 50 Maldives-style overwater bungalows and 54 luxury residences.

Kamalame Cay’s First Annual Poseidon Challenge – The luxury resort is partnering with Blue Tide Marine for the first annual Poseidon Challenge March 19 – 22, 2020. The invite-only two day series will feature rigorous challenges designed by Blue Tide Marine and inspired by their Navy SEAL and Special Operations training. Official race events include an ocean swim, canoe relay, trail runs, Frogman challenge, stand-up paddle race and more.

Atlantis’ Sensation Spring Break Beach Party – Atlantis, Paradise Island is debuting its first annual ‘Sensation Spring Break’ beach party with nightly entertainment at Aura Nightclub March 8 – 17, 2020. Headliners include Lil Jon, DJ Irie, Loud Luxury, Konflikt, Brandi Cyrus, Brooke Evers and Chase B.


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March 04, 2020 


 The Government of The Bahamas sold the Grand Lucaya

From: Bahamas Information Services

By Robyn Adderley


FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – The Government of The Bahamas sold the Grand Lucayan on Monday, March 2, 2020 to a partnership between Royal Caribbean International and ITM (Bahamas Port Investments Ltd.), which is expected to make a $250 million investment between the hotel and the redevelopment of the cruise port.

The Heads of Agreement Signing Ceremony was held on the Great Lawn of the property, some 11 months following the signing of the Letter of Intent on Wednesday, March 27, 2019.

Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis described the day as a wonderful one, as the government’s intention was never to hold on to the property, but initially purchased it to save jobs of Grand Bahamians and businesses.

“As we stated at the time, it was our intention to privatize the property as quickly as possible. We wanted to ensure that we found the right buyer who shared our vision for the renewal of Grand Bahama. Our vision was the renewal and rebirth of Grand Bahama’s tourism sector and product as an essential element in the restoration of this island’s potential.”

The Prime Minister also noted that discussions are currently ongoing to determine the best way to redevelop the Grand Bahama International Airport, which will require a major investment.

Minister of Tourism & Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, said, “I am extremely excited that the intended purchasers of this hotel are Royal Caribbean and the ITM Group. Between them, they are well funded to bring to the table a great deal of experience in the tourism sector, and have a proven track record of successful projects.”

The development projected for the Grand Lucayan will bring about a total transformation of the resort. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be invested into the property to refurbish/renovate/reconstruct 500 rooms in Phase One and another 500 rooms along with 500 villas in Phase Two. Additional features will include a new casino, a spectacular water theme park and a new shopping, restaurant and retail center. In addition, a new cruise port will be built in the Freeport Harbour to accommodate three ships in Phase One and up to seven ships in subsequent phases. As a result of the purchase, 3,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created in construction as well as in employment at the hotel and cruise port.

Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson, gave welcome remarks. Also giving remarks were Robert Shamosh, Chief Executive Officer, Holistica Destinations; Mauricio Hamui, Chief Executive Officer, ITM; and Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

Also, in attendance were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Peter Turnquest and other Ministers of Cabinet; Members of Parliament, Permanent Secretaries, Senior Government Officials, representatives from the business community, taxi drivers, and straw vendors.

Immediately following the official ceremony, guests were treated to the pulsating sounds of a Junkanoo Rushout followed by a reception.


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March 03, 2020


Tourism industry planning for “uncertain times”


MIAMI –  CMC. The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) says the upcoming Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), will provide industry stakeholders with an opportunity to address anticipated new challenges and share active solutions to help steer a course through uncharted waters.

The June 26-28 event will be held under the theme Riding the Wave – Smart Actions in Uncertain Times, and the organisers said CHIEF’s overarching goal is to help ensure the industry’s profitability and that the region remains one of the world’s most desirable destinations.

CHIEF will draw more than 400 hoteliers, suppliers and other hospitality and tourism sector stakeholders from across the region, as well as from the United States and Canada.

“Through CHIEF, owners, managers, supervisors and tourism industry leaders will connect and compare lessons learned about effectively addressing the impacts of devastating storms, threats of pandemics, shifting marketplace dynamics, escalating operational costs, and the mind-bending array of marketing and technical options as they look to protect and build resilience and profitability,” said CHTA’s chief executive officer, Frank Comito.

Regional and global industry experts will lead panel discussions and connect one-on-one with attendees as they share their expertise in hospitality, tourism and the cultivation of diverse and high-performing talent at all levels focusing on enhancing efficiencies in operations, sales and marketing, and environmental sustainability.

Comito said that quickly recognising and acting on rapidly emerging trends to stay ahead of the competition is a major focus of CHIEF.

CHIEF is taking place concurrently with CHTA’s Taste of the Caribbean featuring top culinary teams from participating Caribbean nations and territories competing for recognition and awards, from June 26-30.


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February 26, 2020


RECORD YEAR FOR CARIBBEAN TOURISM


~ The region registered its highest ever stayover and cruise arrivals numbers in 2019_

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (26Feb. 2020) - Sparked by robust recovery in the destinations that were affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, Caribbean tourism rebounded soundly to post record stayover and cruise arrivals in 2019.

Stayover arrivals grew by 4.4 per cent to reach 31.5 million, outpacing the international rate of growth of 3.8 per cent reported by the World Tourism Organization, and the highest growth rate in the Americas.

At the same time, cruise visits increased by 3.4 per cent to 30.2 million, representing the seventh consecutive year of growth.

In presenting the Caribbean Tourism Performance Report for 2019 in an online presentation this morning, Neil Walters, the acting secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) said this record performance was triggered by steep rises – as high as 80 per cent in the case of St. Maarten – in the hurricane affected countries.

“Overall, the destinations most impacted by the hurricanes in 2017 saw some of the highest rates of growth,” Walters said.

In addition to St. Maarten, all the worst-affected destinations reported double-digit growth. Anguilla was up by 74.9 per cent, the British Virgin Islands increased by 57.3 per cent, Dominica rose by 51.7 per cent, the US Virgin Islands saw a38.1 per cent improvement and Puerto Rico increased by 31.2 per cent.

After two years of decline, the US was the best performing market in 2019, registering an increase of 10 per cent to reach a record 15.5 million visitors.

However, Canada, from which there was sustained growth in each of the last three years, was sluggish in 2019 at 0.4 per cent, equivalent to 3.4 million tourist visits, Walters revealed, who added that while arrivals from Europe were down, the intra-regional market was on the up.

“The European market dipped by 1.4 per cent from 5.9 million in 2018 to 5.8 million. The UK was down by 5.6 per cent to approximately 1.3 million visitors. On the other hand, intra-Caribbean travel increased by 7.4 per cent to reach 2.0 million, while the South American market declined by 10.4 per cent to 1.5 million,” the acting secretary general told the online audience.

However, Walters warned that while 2019 was a great year overall for Caribbean tourism, there are a few potential hurdles on the horizon – such as environmental, political and social uncertainty and the impact of climate change - that could impact its performance this year. These concerns notwithstanding, the CTO predicts growth of one to two per cent this year.

To view the presentation please click on the following link: https://www.facebook.com/CaribbeanTourismOrganization/videos/907374246366046/


The CTO’s Headquarters is located at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados BB 22026; Tel: (246) 427-5242; Fax: (246) 429-3065; E-mail: [email protected];


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February 14, 2020


St Vincent’s Largest Ever Tourism Project – a Five-Star Luxury Resort – Breaks Ground


St Vincent and The Grenadines is embarking on its most ambitious tourism project to date – the Royal Mill Hotel Luxury Resort and Residences which is set to be a premier 5-Star private community and contender among luxury resorts in the region.

The single largest private sector tourism investment in the country is being undertaken by A&A Capital.

And Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves expects it to have huge spin-off potential.

“Upwards of 400 families island-wide are expected to benefit directly or indirectly from the hotel. I anticipate a major shift in our tourism economies and wealth creation through direct employment, taxes and National Insurance contributions,” he said.

“Though St Vincent and the Grenadines entered the mass tourism market late, it is evident through other hotels on the island that our country’s product is of excellent stature. Overall, I expect the Royal Mill to be an immense contribution to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Currently, the staff base at the construction site is about 70 workers, and that is expected to increase considerably to more than 200 in the coming months. The local job creation from the project ranges from site engineers to foremen, masons, carpenters and other labourers.

The US$60 million Royal Mill Hotel Luxury Resort will comprise 15 independent and private residence homes, while the resort will provide 18 high-rise apartment units and two rooftop penthouse units. The property will house a business centre, a conference/meeting centre, a gym, an aqua centre, an exclusive spa, a pool area and bar, an urban lounge viewing the ocean, a rooftop bar and restaurant and parking for more than 60 vehicles.

The residence portion of the project has an expected completion date of December 2020, while the hotel section is due to be done by mid-2022.

Principal Investor and co-founder of A & A Capital, Alex Lodde said he was happy to see the pace of the new development, and the cooperation and assistance of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Government, and was looking forward to the completion of the project.

CEO and Co-Founder of A&A Capital, Adem Adem, added that he was excited about the Royal Mill Hotel project and looked forward to it benefitting the country.

“I have been visiting St Vincent and the Grenadines for the past 15 years and I never thought I would have seen this day and our dream has come true. I am grateful for the commitment of my team, the support of family and the warm welcome of the people and the leadership of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

“It is important to note that the most critical aspect of the project for us is ensuring that the people of the country benefit meaningfully from a trickle-down economy and are always safe and secure while employed at the hotel. We see the Royal Mill Hotel spanning generations of St Vincent and the Grenadines.”

He further assured that A&A Capital was strongly committed to and invested in the completion and longevity of the development.

“One of the major proofs of commitment is the levels of employment already realized as well as the importation and purchase of millions of dollars’ worth of major equipment and material, both for construction of the hotel and for use by St Vincent and the Grenadines. We realized the need for heavy-duty equipment on the island and felt that the country can benefit from our equipment resources as well. We have also purchased over 10 million dollars’ worth of integral material which would fulfil the completion of the hotel,” he said.

The Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines (BOSVG) has given its backing to the project. The bank, through its Managing Director Derry Williams, has acted as a principal collaborator.

“As a bank, we must provide assurances to investors coming into any unknown to take investment risks. From our end, it’s not just about conducting the investor’s transactions effectively but also providing feedback from the banking community, the trajectory of the economy and governing policies. The passion, thoughtfulness and commitment to developing St Vincent and the Grenadines were also very important. A&A Capital has proven, to date, their commitment to the project and seeing it to its absolute fruition and this is truly good news for our country,” Williams said.

Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Finance and Parliamentary Representative for East St George – the constituency in which the project is located – this is the exact type of tourism that the country is interested in leveraging.

“One which brings people into the island and will realize an entire set of ancillary spin-offs which will benefit the economy. Already, the construction sectors are profiting from the construction phase of the project,” he said.

In addition to the Royal Mill Hotel Development, A&A Capital has acquired the family-owned Grand View Hotel. Renovation works have already started on the 20-room boutique hotel.

“This boutique property will be ideally positioned for tourists, regional travellers, businesses and organizations that wish to host conferences on the island. It will also play host to special events and weddings….Works are progressing rapidly to have the small property ready for guests in April 2020,” Lodde said.


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January 29, 2020


NEW CEO APPOINTED FOR NEVIS TOURISM AUTHORITY


Nevis, W.I (January 29, 2020)- The Nevis Tourism Authority, (NTA) has a new CEO. The NTA Board of Directors conducted an exhaustive review of more than 40 applicants. These 40+ applicants were shortlisted based on their knowledge of the destination, background in tourism, industry experience and qualifications. The board conducted extensive interviews with the finalists which focused on their vision to grow the destination, relevant and creative traditional and digital marketing strategies, proposals for engaging domestic and international stakeholders, human resource competencies and the ability to manage limited resources.

Ms. Jadine Yarde has been selected as the new head of the NTA. She is an American born, and has Barbadian and Grenadian citizenship. Ms. Yarde has lived in the major US cities of Boston and New York for the majority of her life, before moving to Barbados and working in tourism, marketing and entertainment and later as a consultant in both Barbados and Grenada. She has worked with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and has been involved in the development of Limitless Concierge Service, which is a Barbadian and Grenadian based concierge service. This has allowed her to immerse in the Caribbean lifestyle while understanding the traditional tourist and their needs and wants. With over 10 years of experience in marketing, tourism and entertainment, Ms. Yarde, who holds a BSc in Marketing, brings to the table a creative vision for the future of Nevis’ tourism industry, an analytic tourism outlook, a strong digital marketing mindset and clear understanding of how important a business’ digital footprint is.

Ms Yarde assumes office effectively on February 1st , 2020.

MEDIA CONTACT: Portfolio Marketing Group, Nana Delatour Tel: 212.490.2098 Email: [email protected]


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January 22, 2020


SAINT LUCIA DOES IT YET AGAIN CAPTURING NUMEROUS ACCOLADES AT 27TH ANNUAL WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS


Castries- (January 22, 2020) Fresh off the heels of the announcement naming Saint Lucia as the World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination 2019, the inspirational Caribbean Island has done it yet again, this time capturing the title of Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination 2020, at the 27th Annual World Travel Awards (WTA) that took place on January 20, 2020 in Nassau, Bahamas. Saint Lucia has won this award a record 11 times, with the most recent honor coming in 2019. World Travel Awards is the pre-eminent leader in the travel and tourism industry recognizing and upholding excellence across all sectors.

Upon receiving the award, Tourism Minister, Honourable Dominic Fedee noted, “We are encouraged by this award and it demonstrates Saint Lucia’s commitment to excellence and our unmatched romance product offerings. The destination offers limitless inspiration that is second to none and it just doesn’t get more romantic than that.”

The red-carpet World Travel Awards Gala Ceremony also bestowed honors on several distinguished industry partners. Marigot Bay Resort Spa & Marina has been named Saint Lucia’s Leading Beach Resort 2020, Boucan by Hotel Chocolat – Saint Lucia’s Leading Hotel 2020 and Hertz Car Rental - Saint Lucia’s Leading Car Rental Company 2020. Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa and Beach Resort was named in two categories, namely Saint Lucia’s Leading resort 2020 and Caribbean's Leading Honeymoon Resort 2020.

Apart from winning the highly coveted award, Saint Lucia was also nominated in three other categories, namely Caribbean's Leading Cruise Destination 2020, Caribbean's Leading Destination 2020 and Caribbean's Leading Luxury Island Destination 2020.

The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) remains resolute in its mandate to market Saint Lucia globally as the experiential destination of top choice and the island where the greatest love stories unfold and where romance is unsurpassed. In that vein, the Authority will continue to target the weddings & honeymoon market - a major niche in its marketing agenda.

##END##

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1-800-456-3984, or 1-888 4STLUCIA or visit http://stlucia.org/


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December 30, 2019


Barbados Named Top Place To Travel In 2020


Travel + Leisure magazine has released its list of 50 Best Places to Travel in 2020, and Barbados has made the cut.

The annual anticipated list of cities and countries put Barbados in the company of top tourism destinations such as Hawaii, Dubai and France.

A world leader in travel and tourism, the magazine touted Barbados as “largely famous for its powder-white beaches, British-colonial roots, manifold rum shops, and native daughter Rihanna”.

In compiling the list, Travel + Leisure said: “For definitive answers on the best vacation spots of the moment, we hit the books scouring tourism statistics; scoping out major events; charting new flight routes and logging hotel debuts.”

Perhaps the most unique highlight of the destination in the article was next year’s national initiative, We Gatherin’.

“The country’s first female Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley sent out a rallying cry for anyone with Bajan roots to return to the island in 2020 to partake in a year-long calendar of events celebrating Bajan heritage and culture,” the article cited.

The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) is working to promote We Gatherin’ in its top source markets, especially engaging the diaspora to get involved in the 52 weeks of events and investment opportunities which kick off on Wednesday, January 1, 2020, with a free picnic at River Bay, St. Lucy. For more on We Gatherin’ visit https://www.wegatherinbarbados.com

The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) is working to promote We Gatherin’ in its top source markets, especially engaging the diaspora to get involved in the 52 weeks of events and investment opportunities which kick off on Wednesday, January 1, 2020, with a free picnic at River Bay, St. Lucy.

For more on We Gatherin’ visit https://www.wegatherinbarbados.com (BGIS)


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October 14, 2019 


Bahamas continued support 


The Cruise Industry Remains Committed to Both the Recovery of Grand Bahama and Abaco and Bringing More Guests to the Unaffected Majority of The Bahamas


Miramar, FL (October 14, 2019) - While the world mourns the destruction of Abaco and Grand Bahama and seeks ways to help the destinations build back better, the cruise industry continues to prove its commitment. Just a month after the historic event, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), the trade association that represents the mutual interests between the cruise industry and Caribbean and Latin American destinations and stakeholders, and its Member Lines, which operate more than 95 percent of the global ocean cruising capacity, have already provided and/or raised $8 million in donation pledges, more than 10 million pounds of food and supplies, 20,000 meals a day, hundreds of millions of dollars in accelerated investment plans and hundreds of thousands of marketing dollars focused on educating that most of The Bahamas is open, including 14 of its most-visited islands that are welcoming guests every day, and the best way consumers can help is to visit.

"Though we still mourn for all those impacted in Abaco and Grand Bahama, it is humbling and heartwarming to see our Member Lines' enormous effort to not only provide the necessary relief, but also work with those in the destination toward sustainable recovery," said Michele Paige, president, FCCA. "On behalf of FCCA, we are honored to help support that recovery in any way we can, and currently one of the best things any of us can do is visit The Bahamas, as nearly half of its GDP relies on tourism, and broadcast the message that most of its islands are open and welcoming guests every day."

FCCA Member Lines have already donated and/or raised $8 million in relief efforts for The Bahamas, while also launching efforts to collect and provide support, resulting in more than 10 million pounds of food and supplies - filling over 250 shipping containers - by Carnival Corporation; 20,000 meals per day, as well as water, medical supplies, generators, and a team of specially trained employees and volunteers to assist with logistics and food and beverage efforts by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; 400 pallets of humanitarian aid - along with 300 qualified volunteer and 150 Bahamians - on a single relief mission by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line; MSC Group using its cargo and cruise resources to help, with a focus on providing semi-permanent prefabricated modular housing; and Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings also using their cruise ships to deliver supplies and support.*

Additionally, FCCA Member Lines have sent high-level delegations to work directly toward both providing the most impactful relief and building toward sustainable recovery, while also reaffirming and accelerating investment projects that represent $455 million by Carnival Corporation and RCCL.

FCCA Member Lines also worked with the destination to relaunch cruise tourism and re-inject its economic benefit as soon as possible, with cruise tourism calculated to have generated $405.75 million, in addition to 9,004 jobs paying $155.71 million in wage income, in The Bahamas during the 2017-18 cruise season and one average cruise call to the destination representing more than $650,000 in local economic benefits.

FCCA included The Bahamas in its award-winning, multi-faceted marketing campaign, Caribbean Is Open / Caribbean for Everyone, which began in September 2017 following Hurricanes Irma and Maria and generated more than 5.77 billion impressions, while showing a measurable improvement in Caribbean cruise bookings, between Oct. 2, 2017 - Oct. 28, 2018.

For initiatives tied to The Bahamas, focused on educating that most of The Bahamas is open, including 14 of its most-visited islands that are welcoming guests every day, and the best way consumers can help is to visit, as of Oct. 11, the efforts have already generated an audience of 78,656,435; 490 media placements; and promoted content with 13,873 clicks, 17,987 engagements and 150,527 video views with 59,357 minutes viewed, on track for more than 200,000 views by the end of October on social media alone - and other planned initiatives including the cover story in Travel & Cruise, the official magazine of the cruise industry, and sponsored e-mail content in partnership with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Additionally, FCCA has remained in constant contact with The Bahamas, while leveraging its resources throughout the industry to help the destination and its people in any way possible, including assisting to coordinate relief efforts and meetings, as well as providing numerous ways for Bahamian locals to further capitalize on the cruise industry's economic potential.

Many of those opportunities and discussions will be engaged at the upcoming FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show, the largest and only official cruise conference and trade show in the Caribbean. With more than 150 high-level executives, including a record number of chairmen and above, from FCCA Member Lines on hand for the series of meetings, workshops and networking opportunities from Oct. 21-25, the #BahamasStrong delegation will have the chance to work directly with the cruise industry, and FCCA has coordinated specialized meetings and events for the delegation.

*For more information about individual FCCA Member Line relief efforts, please visit www.f-cca.com/relief.


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May 23, 2019


Re-branding the Bahamas


Caribbeantoday.com/ Author Dawn A. Davis


When planning a vacation to The Bahamas most holiday makers automatically think of Nassau, the bustling modern capital, Freeport, the second city on Grand Bahamas island, or Bimini, known for its pristine beaches. But, there is so much more to the Bahamas than these three well-known destinations. Thus, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is on a mission to change all that.

Ellison Tommy Thompson“We are promoting The Bahamas with a 16-island strategy. We are introducing the individual names of the islands of The Bahamas, with each island being branded according to what the island can deliver,” explained Ellison ‘Tommy’ Thompson, the Tourism Ministry’s Deputy Director General.

Caribbean Today caught up with Thompson recently at a Bahamas marketing event held on the Seafair mega yacht in the Miami bay.

A mere ‘shouting’ distance from Miami, Florida, The Bahamas is an archipelago of islands that stretches over 100,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean dotted with large and small islands, and many cays, all with different characteristics. It is these differences the Deputy Director General is promoting.

Said Thompson: “If you go to Crooked island, that’s a bone fishing paradise. And the neighbouring island, Acklins, least known of all the islands and a pristine natural wonder, will showcase its unique beauty with the first annual Cascarilla Festival this June.”

The Cascarilla herb, known for magical powers of protection and cleansing, is also a major ingredient in the Italian liqueur Campari.

“Cascarilla is a huge business,” he added. “So, we’re trying to make it as sustainable as possible. The aim of the festival is to get the younger people involved in it, so we’re working with the schools. We have acres of farmland, and we will give some of that to the schools so that they can get students involved in sustainability of the crop and also teaching them the financial benefits of the business.”

Another festival which takes place in March each year is the Mutton Festival on Long Island. The two days of festivities highlights the creativity of Long Islanders in the creation of mutton dishes.

“Part of what we’re doing is to look at how do we create economic benefits from tourism. Our branded festivals are a great way to draw attention to these islands and also to bring business to the islands,” Thompson emphasised.

Rockstar Lenny Kravitz

Giving a boost to the marketing strategy, the Tourism Ministry has Partnered with rockstar Lenny Kravitz to bring a dash of celebrity status to the islands. Indeed, the famous singer/songwriter’s Bahamian heritage and his occasional presence on the islands, even before he became a household name, lends authenticity to the advertising and marketing rollout.

A well-produced television commercial featuring Kravitz walking on an expansive beach, talking to locals, and driving along the coastline with his hit song “Fly Away” playing in the background skillfully beckons visitors to The Bahamas.

“So, we have superstar Lenny, but also you have the nice, real authentic, unfiltered Bahamian telling the story of their particular island. We try to infuse more of the culture of The Bahamas in a very authentic way,” said a beaming Thompson.

Thompson added: “We’ve created a Tourism Development Corporation that is looking at ways to get Bahamians involved in the ownership of tourism. If you have a bed and breakfast, give tours, or sell souvenirs, we are trying to get more diversification in tourism.”

In fact, according to the Deputy Director General, 2018 was a record breaking year for The Bahamas with more than 6.6 million visitors, a significant 486,176 increase over figures recorded in 2017. He also revealed that forward bookings (measured March to May) are looking extremely healthy, with international arrivals running 9 percent ahead of last year. And, with its new rebranding strategy, the Lenny Kravitz expected ‘effect’, and a strong repeat customer base, visitor numbers are again expected to beat the previous year.

Part of the ‘effect’ is expected to reach potential visitors further afield, evident in the Ministry’s recent trips to Canada, Germany, and New York to promote The Bahamas. However, Thompson acknowledged that about 80 percent of the tourism business to The Bahamas comes from North America (the US and Canada). And, just 50 miles off the Bahamian coast, Florida is dubbed number one for visitors to the islands.

“We see ourselves as a global brand. We know where our major market is, but part of the tourism marketing strategy is also reaching potential visitors from across the globe.”






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