Current News - April 2015

Family Matters: Take a New Look
at A Very Profitable Niche

The family travel trend that emerged following 9/11 is still going strong more than a decade later. Approximately 44% of adults bring family members along on leisure travels, and viewed as a group, they take more trips per year (4.5) than the average traveler, according to a MMGY Global/Harrison Group survey. Read the full story >

CHTA President Emil Lee Underscores
Need For Collaboration on Tourism to
Strengthen Region’s Economies

“Commitment and collaboration between the public and private sectors at an unprecedented level is essential if the Caribbean is to realize the potential which tourism presents in elevating and transforming the economies of the region and generating employment at all levels,” stated Emil Lee, president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA). Read the full story >

CHTA’s 'CHIEF' Hospitality Forum
Exchanges Best Practices & Hands-On
Learning For The Tourism Industry

CHTA is staging the new Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), an event designed for hospitality and tourism professionals, which provides best practices and hands-on learning opportunities in an exchange of ideas among attendees. CHIEF will be held Oct. 2-4, 2015 at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Puerto Rico. CHIEF will offer three days of value-packed fun and engaging exchange sessions focused on helping businesses to generate revenue, reduce costs and become more relevant and efficient. Educational tracks will be lead by multi-industry experts featuring roundtable panels with one-one-one discussions in operations, sales and marketing, and Go-Green: Improve Profitability. The interactive tradeshow format, featuring an open floor plan, is designed so participants and exhibitors interact through live demonstrations of new products. To sign-up for updates and more information, click here. Interested in becoming a sponsor, email

Meet the Competing Culinary Teams Going to Taste of The Caribbean, June 12-14, 2015 In Miami
CHTA's Taste of the Caribbean helps develop the professional skills of aspiring and established bartenders and chefs while showcasing the region’s cuisine and mixology to the public in the "Taste of the Islands" event. Taste of the Caribbean is scheduled for June 12-14, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency in Miami. The event features teams from Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Bonaire, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Suriname and the U.S. Virgin Islands competing for the industry's top honors while honing their professional skills. Event attendees can participate in educational seminars and network with food and beverage-related companies at the tradeshow. Registration is also open to industry professionals. For more information on sponsorship, please email

Caribbean Travel Marketplace Slated For Jan. 21-23, 2016 At Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas; Event To Feature Expanded Selection Of Seminars Designed To Increase Revenue
CHTA' s Caribbean Travel Marketplace will return to The Bahamas with the Atlantis, Paradise Island hosting the region’s largest and most important marketing event Jan. 21-23, 2016. CHTA is in the midst of evolving the event to offer seminars aimed at increasing revenue for hotels and Caribbean travel suppliers through supplemental revenue options, increased bookings and yield management strategies. Registration for Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2016 opens in July 2015 with full conference details available via the CHTA website. Interested in becoming a sponsor, email

Dates for CSHAE Leadership Conference, and Committee and Board of Director Meetings
Prior to Caribbean Travel Marketplace, CHTA will host the Leadership Conference for hotel association executives on January 18-19, 2016 and the Committee and Board of Directors meetings Jan. 20-21, at the Atlantis, Paradise Island. The Association Executive Training session provided during the Leadership Conference is sponsored by ARDA-ROC.

Submit an Article for our May Newsletter:
The Food and Beverage Issue!

As we prepare to celebrate Taste of the Caribbean, our May newsletter will focus on all issues pertaining to Food & Beverage in the hotel and tourism industry. CHTA members, strategic partners and sponsors are invited to contribute an article to this exciting issue. Email your articles to with the subject “May Newsletter Contribution”. Read the full story >

Important Dates for Taste of the
Caribbean Culinary Teams

Taste of the Caribbean is back, bigger and better than ever. The Caribbean’s premier culinary competition will take place June 12-14, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Miami. Thus far, we have ten culinary teams confirmed to be participating in this gastronomic showoff. Those teams are: Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, BVI, Bonaire, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Suriname and USVI.Participating teams must arrive in Miami on Thursday, June 11th to attend the Orientation Session at 4:00pm. The event officially opens on Friday, June 12th and culminates with the Awards Ceremony on Sunday, June 14th. Photo: Bonaire Culinary Team.

Multi-generational Family Travel
Dori Martin,

Our families are always changing and growing, and the blending of families continues to increase in our modern society. What better way to begin this new journey than with a Destination Wedding, where there’s something for all members of the new family! From Mom and Dad, to the kids or teenagers, and even to the grandparents; there are resorts throughout the Caribbean that offer plenty of activities for everyone. Increasingly, resorts are attending to the wishes of families offering all sorts of amenities; such as, water parks, fun zones and kids clubs, to couples’ YHI Spas, adult-only pools and clubs. Most resorts provide meal plan options that are as sophisticated or affordable as the needs of the many families that are discovering the conveniences of all-inclusive meal plans. Wedding couples are opting to spend more quality time together as a family. They are planning and enjoying multi-generational vacations for anniversary celebrations, vow renewals, and Destination Weddings at many resorts that are catering to the distinctive wishes of entire families; a lucrative and growing market segment, no longer just a trend.

Children Shape Desires and
Decisions of Family Travelers
MMGY Global

CHTA Member MMGY Global, a leading marketing company serving travel, leisure and entertainment-industry clients, completed a study for Preferred Hotel Group on emerging trends in multi-generational family travel. Fueled by grandparents’ wallets and grandchildren’s sense of wanderlust (with an unexpected assist from Facebook), multigenerational travel is poised for rapid and sustained growth according to this new nationwide survey. Read the full story >

Small Sail Boats: Easy and Safe Family Fun
Marc Golob, Tiki Water Sports

Crisp blue skies, warm mellow sun, the only sound is jib flapping in the salty air and waves gently lapping at the hull below. There isn’t a more soulful experience in the world than captaining your own sailboat. It’s easier than you think. Many small craft need little to no instruction and with new innovations in the sailing world, anyone can do it. The sport is growing among families and youth everywhere. Many people enjoy small craft due to the fact they are affordable, easy to sail and trailerable so owners are able to avoid dockage fees. Read the full story >

How to Create Immersive Family Experiences
Nina Zapala, Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort

Celebrated Family Vacation Critic, renowned travel expert, Peter Greenberg, plus bespoke family concierge and travel curator, Red Carpet Kids, all agree that authentic and immersive family vacation experiences are hot travel trends for 2015 and beyond. Mark Ozawa, Managing Director at Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort, Saint Lucia states, “The resort is known as family-friendly all-inclusive destination. Yet, we also understand that today’s modern families are sophisticated and look to expose their children to experiences that aren’t available in their everyday lives. We are in step with these lifestyle trends and offer immersive, authentic experiences to attract families,” adds Ozawa. Read the full story >

First International Tourism Expo in Caribbean,
May 13-16, 2015

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company announced that ETI –Expo de Turismo Internacional, the first international tourism expo in the Caribbean, will take place at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, May 13-16, 2015. The inaugural international tourism expo, ETI- Puerto Rico, is designed to showcase the beauty, sports, nature, adventure, and gastronomy experiences available throughout the Caribbean and beyond, bringing together members of the tourism industry from across the globe. “We are confident that this event has the potential to be a mainstay on the international calendar of tourism events.” said Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism company, organizers of ETI. The event will be held at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, the largest and most technologically advanced business conference venue in the Caribbean. The four-day event will include group meetings, social and cultural events, field trips, workshops, destination trainings, keynote addresses and more, while the Exhibit Hall will be open two days to travel trade and one day to consumers. Additional information is available at

Teri Schwartz honored at the CayFilm Cayman International Film Festival
The CayFilm Cayman International Film Festival (June 18-21, 2015) will present Teri Schwartz, Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (UCLA TFT), with the inaugural Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Producing. The Award was created in recognition of those individuals whose outstanding achievement and contribution to the art of cinema have elevated the art form. Ms. Schwartz is an award-winning feature film producer whose many films, including Sister Act and Beaches, have garnered nominations for Academy®, Emmy®, Golden Globe, Grammy® and MTV awards. The Tribute will take place on June 20th, 2015 at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman during the festival’s Closing Gala and Awards Ceremony. For more information on the film festival click here.

Summer 2015 Caribbean Music Festivals
Feature Jazz And Beyond

In recent years, summer jazz music festivals have become as much a part of the Caribbean travel experience as sea, sun and sand. This year’ Caribbean jazz and music festivals will feature what is likely the most diverse musical presentation yet, with a variety of the most popular Caribbean destinations getting into the act, so to speak. The presentations planned at various Caribbean islands even include a music festival dedicated to blues. Read the full story >

Four Ways To Differentiate Your Hotel
Today’s trend words - “unique,” “authentic," "boutique" - all have one definitional element in common: they all are somewhat synonymous with “different” in one way or another. Guests are looking for different experiences in the different cities they visit, particularly road warriors. “Different” in that context doesn’t necessarily mean “better,” just not “the same.” If this is not your year for a major renovation, and you won’t be turning your lobby into an experiential gathering place or your restaurant into an eclectic journey of discovery, there are still things you can do to be different and successful. Read the full story >

Cheaper Long-Haul Flights
As UK Air Tax Rules Change

With the new UK Air Passenger Duty rules going into effect this month, a family of four travelling long-haul to the Caribbean will pay up to £56 less. The UK Government has simplified the banding systems used to calculation APD contributions when flying from a UK airport. The change will benefit those travelling more than 4,000 miles. Those flying to the Caribbean, for example, which previously sat in Band C, will now pay £71 per person, rather than £85. The UK Government will also scrap APD for children aged under 12 starting on May 1, 2015. In 2016, it will be abolished for all children under 16. Read the full story >

Virgin Launches New Tobago Flights
Virgin Atlantic officially made its return to Tobago recently. The carrier is now operating a weekly Sunday service that will expand to two flights per week during the winter season later this year. The flight is operating as an additional sector between the carrier’s nonstop service to St Lucia, meaning a short stop in St Lucia before the flight continues to Tobago.
Read the full story >

CHTAEF Inducts Six New Members
On Board Of Trustees

The CHTA Education Foundation (CHTAEF) has inducted six industry professionals to its Board of Trustees for a three-year term where they will be involved with awarding scholarships to Caribbean nationals pursuing higher education and professional development in the tourism and hospitality field. Additionally, the Board members help cultivate relationships with potential corporate and individual donors. The new members are Neil Forrester, Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association (Antigua), Gaizka Fraser, Virgin Holidays (UK), Rachael Nathaniel, Hyatt Regency (Trinidad), Mark Ozawa, Windjammer Landing Resort (St. Lucia), Omar Robinson, Round Hill Hotel & Villas (Jamaica)and Gilda Gumbs-Samuel, Anguilla Hotel & Tourism Association (Anguilla).
Read the full story >

Get Ready for Earth Day!
To commemorate the 45th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2015 CHTA is encouraging its members to participate in Earth Day Network’s Acts of Green Initiative. There are a multitude of small Acts of Green we can all do to make a difference in our environment, from stopping junk mail deliveries, to adjusting our water heaters, to carpooling to work. On April 22nd take a picture of your Act of Green and post it to the CHTA Facebook Page with the hashtags #EarthDay #CHTAGreen. The most popular pic wins a discounted registration to CHIEF in October.

Green Certifications Explained
Eco-friendly tourism is vital to the health and growth of our industry, especially in the Caribbean. Operating a green certified hotel and having a system in place to ensure sustainable operations is not only a factor for operators, but for travellers and booking agents as well. TripAdvisor will recognise eco-friendly properties and help travellers plan green trips. Accommodations meeting a minimum standard of green practices will be awarded TripAdvisor Green Leader status through the top travel booking website. Thus incentives for accommodations to follow sustainable practices and be visible and vocal within their practices to the consumer is of benefit. Read the full story >

World Responsible Tourism Awards
The World Responsible Tourism Awards at World Travel Market are a global search and celebration of the most inspiring and enduring responsible tourism experiences in the world. Founded in 2004, and now in their 12th year, the idea behind the Awards, which are open to any organisation anywhere in the world, is to surprise and inspire tourists and the tourism industry by what it is possible to achieve with Responsible Tourism, and to shine a light on the best of the best. The World Responsible Tourism Awards 2015 at WTM are now open for submissions! The entry deadline has now been extended to April 20th, 2015. Over the past 10 years they have received 14,500 nominations from the public, and after a rigorous Judging process Chaired by Professor Harold Goodwin, given Awards to 394 incredible people and organisations. Click here to enter your submission.

Interval International Extends Multi-Year Affiliation Agreement With Dawn Beach Club in St. Maarten
Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services and an operating business of Interval Leisure Group (Nasdaq: IILG), and Babitbay Beach Development Corporation, B.V., have extended the affiliation of Dawn Beach Club in St. Maarten. Read the full story >

TravelZoo joins CHTA Leadership at Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association meeting
President Emil Lee met with TravelZoo Representatives during recent visit to The Bahamas. Elizabeth Persons, TravelZoo’s Vice President of Business Development and Angela Tablac, Senior Business Development Manager for TravelZoo shared recent consumer research findings at the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association meeting where President Emil Lee also presented. Joining them is Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association President and CHTA 2nd Vice President Stuart Bowe.

New Member Spotlight: Tiki Water Sports
For over thirty years Tiki Water Sports has been outfitting the Caribbean with it’s favorite sailboats, kayaks, paddle boats and paddle boards earning the reputation as the go to dealer for all things on the water. They are an authorized dealer for Catalina, Precision, Marlow-Hunter, Com-Pac and Hobie Cat and the area’s largest distributer for Future Beach just to name a few. Tiki Water Sports also have a prolific on site factory that fabricates custom fiberglass products for boats, marinas and beach hotels. Items include dock boxes,piling caps, fish cleaning stations and even pirate ship cannons. Proudly made in the U.S.A., “their mantra is you dream it...we build it!” Tiki’s courteous and knowledgeable staff will help you find what you need need and get it to wherever you are. For more information call (305) 852-9298 or visit

Book Your Own Weeklong Family Dream Vacation for only $40 a Night
As an exclusive offer to CHTA members, Interval International is offering weeklong vacations for as low as $40 a night. The Dream Vacation Week Certificate costs only $5 and offers you significant discounts on condo units at more than 50 destinations worldwide (limit 20 certificates per CHTA member). It is also an excellent gift to reward top performing staff and an incentive award for staff challenges. How does this program work? Once you purchase a Dream Vacation Week certificate from CHTA for the low price of $5.00 you will receive an email with instructions, including the certificate (s) number and security code (s) and a link to the Dream Vacation Week website. You can then distribute this information to your selected recipients and they can go online to browse the various destinations available and book a week of vacation. If you have any questions, please e-mail Gabi Doria-Simpson at

CHTA Mourns the Passing and Celebrates
the Legacy of Three Industry Pioneers

Gabriel Escalante Torres, a hotel industry leader in Cancun and former president of the Cancun Hotel Association, passed away on February 26, 2015. Mr. Escalante was an active and strong supporter of CHTA. He served as an elected Vice President, and a 1st Vice President as well. He will be gravely missed. He is survived by his wife Teresa Castillo and their three children: Rodrigo, Alejandro and Gabriela.

Noble Masi, Heritage Professor and Chef, passed away at Vassar Brothers Hospital, Poughkeepsie, NY at 6:30 P.M on Sunday March 9th 2015. He was 76. Noble was a friend of the Caribbean for many years, serving as both a judge at many Caribbean events and as a teacher and a mentor across the region. His legacy and the impact he had on so many who he taught and mentored both in the Caribbean and around the world will not be forgotten. He was laid to rest in the family plot in the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery on Friday March 13th. He is survived by his wife Robin, his son John and his daughter Andrea.

William “Billy” Saunders, the founder of Majestic Tours, one of the largest tour operators in the Caribbean, passed away on February 23, 2015. He was 85. He was a pioneer in the transportation and tourism industry, a longstanding CHTA member and a Lifetime Director for the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, where he was a Director for over 50 years. In 2002, Mr Saunders received the Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George, presented to him by the Prince of Wales at London’s Buckingham Palace. The royal honour was bestowed in recognition for his services to tourism in The Bahamas, and followed his receipt of the Bahamas’ Order of Merit. Mr. Saunders leaves behind sons BJ and Scott and daughter Janis, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.


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