Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the tourism development agency for the region, joins the global community today in celebrating World Tourism Day 2018 under the theme, “Tourism and the Digital Transformation”. Digital advances have had a profound and transformative impact on our lives. They have influenced the way we learn, changed how we work, and altered the way humanity’s social fabric is connected. This behavioral evolution will continue; and in the travel and tourism business those who adapt will reap the rewards of technological innovation.
As the Caribbean’s primary foreign exchange earner, tourism remains the region’s lifeblood, contributing up to two-thirds of gross domestic product (GDP) in some cases. In order for the sector to drive continuous and inclusive growth in line with sustainable development goals, we must fully explore the economic, societal and environmental impacts of technology and innovation on tourism’s contribution to GDP.
The CTO is positioning Caribbean tourism to capitalize on emerging technologies. We’ve consulted with some of the foremost thought-leaders and are encouraging public and private sector investment in digital innovations that have disrupted traditional business models.
It is our duty to our members to explore and introduce new tools and capabilities which alter the way we approach tourism marketing and development; and we must do so at all levels. One of the best examples is our digital learning series of e-workbooks containing creatively designed audio visual and multi-lingual materials, designed to encourage and facilitate the teaching of tourism in Caribbean schools.
Among other objectives the e-workbooks are meant to build greater awareness among young students regarding the significance of tourism to the Caribbean; demonstrate the importance of preserving our environment for ourselves and for our visitors; enlist the creativity of students to enhance tourism’s success; and showcase the full range of career opportunities tourism presents to Caribbean people.
Then there is the Tourism Information Management System (TIMS), an online application launched by the CTO in 2015 to capture, analyze and display tourism related data for the benefit of our members. This tool captures arrival and departure data from embarkation and disembarkation records via a business analytics system which illustrates the data in a more visual and comprehendible way, facilitating additional reporting and actionable insights.
With the launch of our Visitor Intelligence Database for Analytics (VIDA) in 2016, some CTO member states began to maximize returns on their marketing investment with the VIDA segmentation tool, utilizing postal codes to reveal rich data on the region’s visitor demographics. Additionally, the CTO is actively collaborating with innovative and disruptive companies such as Airbnb, an online community marketplace that connects travelers with hosts in over 190 countries.
Together with Airbnb, the CTO is assisting Caribbean tourism officials and stakeholders to maximize the benefits of the sharing economy, and home-sharing in particular. This work includes informing stakeholders of the value of peer-to-peer review mechanisms; providing economic analyses of Airbnb’s impact; developing policy guidelines and recommendations for the consideration of Caribbean lawmakers; exploring ways to make the sharing economy beneficial to our destinations while working in concert with all segments of the accommodation sector; and identifying ways to more effectively market the Caribbean as a region.
We are also working with Bitt, a financial technology company to develop ways of using blockchain technology and mobile money systems to the advantage of the tourism industry in the Caribbean. This work includes promoting the inclusion of micro, small and medium tourism enterprises; providing fast, simple and secure methods for visitors and locals to complete a wide range of transactions; and assisting vendors and policymakers to improve data-processing and decision-making.
The CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) at Paradise Island, the Bahamas from 1-5 October, 2018, will feature a key session on ‘Modernizing the Experience: Using Technology to Enhance the Visitor Experience’. The discussion will cover a broad range of applications from customer-centric hospitality models leveraging technology, to the way industry leaders are using mobile and virtual reality innovations to differentiate brand identity.
In the coming months the CTO will continue to develop an agenda which encourages and assists member states’ efforts to create digitally-enhanced tourism services via entrepreneurship and innovation. It is our firm belief that more efficient resource management will empower our local communities and help build a truly inclusive tourism sector.
Tourism must bring benefits to all members of our society. Emerging digital technologies provide a range of new tools that can tackle challenges faced throughout our member states, increase profitability and bring about positive change for stakeholders that will improve the quality of life for all Caribbean people.

Vietnam Airlines, in collaboration with The Hanoi Municipal People's Committee, yesterday announced the Vietnam Airlines Classic - Hanoi Concert 2018. Following the success of last year's inaugural event, Vietnam Airlines Classic - Hanoi Concert 2018 marks the return of more than 90 well-known artists from the London Symphony Orchestra - one of the best symphony orchestras in the world, led by one of the world's finest conductors, Elim Chan. LSO will bring a performance filled with musical virtuosity and enthusiasm.

Taking place at the Ly Thai To Statue and Garden in Hanoi's famous Hoan Kiem District, from 7.00pm – 9.00pm on Saturday 6 October 2018, the concert will showcase the beauty of Vietnam; its people; and its thousand-year old capital Hanoi - a city of peace, and a world-class destination for international cultural events. The event will also be brought to an even larger audience via big screens placed in locations including Hoan Kiem Lake, Dinh Tien Hoang Street and Tonkin Free School Square.

This annual event will bring world-class cultural and artistic works to local audiences, as well as serving as a cultural bridge connecting Vietnam, and its capital Hanoi, to the world - not only in terms of tourism, but also as a country, and city, of rich cultural traditions and identity.

By Patricia Affonso-Dass
President, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association
The Caribbean's tourism sector is uniquely important to economic and social life in the region, and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) will indeed be celebrating  World Tourism Day 2018 when it is launched in Budapest, Hungary on September 27.
Apart from the importance of tourism to sustainable development, this World Tourism Day highlights the importance of digital technologies to the sector.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) also hails the power of innovation to boost growth for a more sustainable and responsible tourism sector.
Competing, as we do, in a global market, we in the Caribbean are leveraging digital technology to attract visitors and keep them coming, and also transferring those skills to our wider economy.
Digital technology helps us to customize our product, so that discerning travelers can decide what they want to do and what they want to experience.
The internet has fostered our economic growth through tourism by shortening the trip planning and purchase process, bridging the gap between dreams and the decision to book, allowing small operators to show their wares and answer questions, and allowing online bookings and follow-up.
Data-driven marketing and promotion allow suppliers to understand guest preferences so travelers can connect with our people and our destinations even before they land on our shores.
CHTA members are investing heavily in digital technology and we look forward to the upcoming launch of The Rhythm Never Stops marketing campaign as we, along with our partners in the public sector, build our region's brand and let the world know more  about the many exciting and diverse travel choices they can experience today throughout the Caribbean.
As the preeminent private sector travel and tourism association in the Caribbean, we will continue to lead the search for innovative ways to market our destinations and to improve the product and the profitability of the industry.
We welcome World Tourism Day with vibrant Caribbean enthusiasm and pledge our region's support for, and involvement in, technological innovation.

Lightwater Valley is set to be transformed into 'Frightwater Valley' as part of its spooky Halloween celebrations (October 27th-31st).

The North Yorkshire theme park will be hosting a series of spooktacular events and activities designed to appeal to visitors of all ages.

From family-friendly scares to truly terrifying encounters there's something for everyone to enjoy.

For younger visitors there will be Spooky Character Meet and Greets, Scary Magic Shows and Trick or Treat Doors.

Visitors can also join in the frightful fun as part of the Halloween Fancy Dress Competition which will be taking place on the Lightwater stage between 3pm-3.30pm each day.

For the more intrepid there's the chance to enjoy some grown-up thrills and chills inside the Live Scare Maze in the Events Hall and the Scare Maze Walkthrough in the Marquee; both of which will be open for risky business from 1pm.

The mazes are definitely not for the faint-hearted and are not suitable for children under the age of 12 due to the extreme nature of the scares.

The scares culminate with the Frightwater Finale lakeside fireworks spectacular (6pm Saturday, 5.30pm Sunday-Wednesday).

With over 35 rides and attractions for thrill seekers of all ages, Lightwater Valley Theme Park is one of the UK's most popular theme parks.

Among its signature rides is the 1.5 mile long Ultimate rollercoaster – the longest coaster ride in Europe - and the Eagle's Claw aerial ride.

Step into the shadows. Throw down your garlic. Put away those crucifixes. They’re of no use in warding off the newest challenge at The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience this Halloween*; The Blood Baron - a time vampire, rising to menace the maze!

The Blood Baron is the sworn enemy of all resident maze masters and has them quaking in their sequinned boots. As a time vampire, he will use his powers to steal time from competing teams in the maze.

Be warned, the Blood Baron is a master of manipulation, and betrayal is his greatest weapon. He will never miss a chance to try and trick you into betraying your own team, and for those willing to accept the Blood Barons traitorous missions, leaving their teammates screaming “BUT WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT???”, there will be both reward and redemption.

Your senses will need to be on high alert as the Blood Baron will be lurking in the shadows of the maze and creeping up behind you when you least expect it. For the ultra-competitive, adventure-seekers the stakes are raised; as if a team loses a game, they also lose a crystal, and, in the event of a lock in, the price is two crystals for release rather than the usual one.

Can you take on the maze and defeat the Blood Baron at the same time?

Will your teammates betray you?

Or, will you become the traitor?

In addition to the challenges within the Maze’s Aztec, Medieval, Industrial and Futuristic themed zones, you’re guaranteed a spooky Halloween experience much more frightening than a haunted house and unquestionably more adventurous than your typical trick-or-treat outing.

With two attractions, one in London** and one in Manchester***, be sure to book tickets in advance if you’re planning a visit to The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience this Halloween or October half term.

Saint Lucia continues to prove why she is a destination that inspires travelers to visit and explore her beauty and splendor.

Visitors can now enjoy a stress-free vacation while they play and stay at 22 properties on the island that are offering guests a holiday guarantee if their vacation were to be interrupted by adverse weather.

Though Saint Lucia is seldom affected by hurricanes, hotel operators associated with the Saint Lucia Hotel Association and Tourism Association created the holiday guarantee, so visitors could book their vacations with confidence at any time of the year. This unique Holiday Guarantee programme covers cancellations made prior to arrival and if the vacation is cut short because of a hurricane.

The guarantee becomes effective when a hurricane warning is issued by the Saint Lucia Meteorological Service and offers a waiver of cancellation penalties and an opportunity to rebook the vacation.

Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Mrs. Tiffany Howard said, “Given the impact of the 2017 hurricane season on the region, it is utterly important that this guarantee remains in effect to assure visitors that Saint Lucia takes pride in its tourism product. While Saint Lucia is rarely affected by hurricanes, this guarantee provide another security blanket to our visitors.”

Hotels offering holiday guarantees include Coco Palm Resort; Rex Resorts; Harmony Marina Suites; Hotel Chocolat; Ti Kaye Resort & Spa; Villa Beach Cottages; Bay Gardens Resorts; Cleopatra Villas;  Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort;  Stonefield Villa Resort; Sugar Beach- A Viceroy Resort; Villa C'est La Vie;  Marigot Beach Club; Dive Harmony Marina Suites; St. James Club; Calabash Cove, and Castles in Paradise.