Pictured here at the official plaque unveiling are: (l-r) Chief Executive Officer of Barbados Port Inc., David Jean-Marie; CEO at the BTPA Dr. Kerry Hall; Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy; and Deputy Chairman of the Barbados Port Inc. Captain George Fergusson. (Photo Credit: PRMR Inc.)

Refurbished Lighthouse A Tourism Plus

The recent refurbishment of the South Point Lighthouse has provided yet another opportunity for Barbados to further expand its tourism offerings.

This assertion was made by Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, while speaking at the official unveiling and reopening of the lighthouse last Thursday, at its Atlantic Shores, Christ Church location.

According to Mr. Sealy the lighthouse, which was constructed in the mid-19th century, is a valuable addition to Barbados’ tourism product, especially because “lighthouses globally are considered serious tourist attractions”.

“The story of the Barbados lighthouses is one that can be told and marketed to improve our tourism offering; they also can serve as an opportunity to tell Barbadians a little bit about our history…. It is my view that it will be a fundamental improvement as a tourism offering to our destination. I look forward as well to the commercialization of this facility,” he said, while citing the possibility for financial gain.

The Minister added that refurbishing the 90-foot cast iron lighthouse was a “worthwhile investment”, especially since it was “literally a piece of history”.

Erected in 1852 the 119 step lighthouse, was recently given a complete facelift inclusive of the installation of new windows and vents.


Salt Cay also known as Blue Lagoon Island

WTTO PROJECTS BAHAMAS TOURISM GROWTH

Despite the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTO) report that it can take up to four years for the Caribbean to fully recover from the tumultuous 2017 hurricane season, The Islands Of The Bahamas is forging ahead with growing its Travel and Tourism to GDP.

Recently, the WTTO launched a report on Resilience and Recovery in the wake of the 2017 hurricane season to analyze the immediate and long-term effects on the region.

Joy Jibrilu Director General of Tourism  Bahamas

Last week, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation Director General Joy Jibrilu represented Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar as Chairman of the UNWTO Regional Commission in Asunción, Paraguay.

The 63rdmeeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for the Americas was attended by 16 Ministers of Tourism from countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Jamaica among others.

Ms. Jibrilu also represented the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in Buenos Aires, Argentina at a press conference held by the WTTO to discuss the impact of hurricanes on the Caribbean region.

According to officials from the WTTO, the direct contribution of Travel and Tourism to GDP in 2017 in The Islands Of The Bahamas was $1.726 million or 19 percent of GDP.

This figure is forecasted to rise by 3.4 percent to $1,784.4 million in 2018.

“This primarily reflects the economic activity generated by industries such as hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services excluding commuter services. But it also includes, for example, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists,” the WTTO reported.

Studies from the Tourism Economics, an Oxford University subsidiary, show that Travel and Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors in the Caribbean, contributing 15.2 percent of the Caribbean’s GDP and 13.8 percent employment.

However, in around half of the countries analyzed, the sector accounts for over 25 percent of GDP – more than double of the world average of 10.4 percent.

The analysis showed that in 2016, 46.7 million visited the Caribbean with a spend of $31.4 billion and supported 2.4 million jobs.

According to WTTO officials, the 2017 hurricane season resulted in an estimated loss of 826,100 visitors, who would have generated $714 million and supported 11,005 jobs.

WTTO officials believe that the season has cost the Caribbean a loss of $3 billion.

“Quantifying the impact on Travel & Tourism post-crisis provides a level of understanding of the enormous economic contribution that the sector brings to the region and the impetus for recovery. Natural disasters will continue to hit the Caribbean, perhaps on an increasingly frequent basis as a result of climate change. As the economies of islands grow ever more reliant on the sector, it is critical that governments and destination management organizations develop strategies to minimize the long-term impact of natural disasters and encourage visitor spending to return to pre-hurricane levels of growth,” the report said.

In The Islands of The Bahamas, Hurricane Maria inflicted severe damage on Ragged Island and Acklins Island, but the nation of 700 islands is fortunate that most were spared the worst of both Irma and Maria.

Ms. Jibrilu called on the Caribbean to come together to continue to rebuild.

“The events of last fall were tragic for so many across our Caribbean region, and our thoughts are still very much with the countries, businesses and families that are rebuilding their lives now. The best, most effective way to support this endeavor is for all of us to work together. This partnership must bring together public and private entities in our countries and region, and we must also be mindful that the progress of one country will tend to benefit our marketplace position as a region,” she said.


Plate of Green Fig Salad

Green Fig (Banana) Salad

Ingredients

6 green bananas

2 sweet peppers, finally chopped

1 small onion, finally chopped

1 cup of mixed peas and carrots

4 tablespoons of avocado mayonnaise

Salt and pepper

4 ½ ounces flaked salted cod fish (optional)

Preparation

1. Wash and peel the figs (bananas).

2. Boil for approximately 10 minutes and drain. Allow to cool, then dice and place in a bowl.

3. Add the onion, sweet peppers, and mixed peas and carrots.

4. Add avocado mayonnaise, salt and black pepper to taste. Mix and refrigerate until ready to serve.

NOTE: Avocado mayonnaise is made by pureeing avocado and regular mayonnaise in a blender with some lemon juice. The lemon juice will prevent the mix from turning brown.

Optional Salted Cod Fish Preparation

Boil salted cod fish until tender and all salt has been removed. Let cool. Once cooled, shred into pieces and add during the 3rd step of the fig salad preparation.



ENJOY A CULINARY JOURNEY AROUND JAMAICA

THROUGH ITS DIVERSE FARM-TO-TABLE EXPERIENCES

Jamaica is fast becoming a popular destination for food lovers and more visitors are interested in exploring the island’s rich culinary heritage. The widespread “farm-to-table” trend has taken root and shows no sign of waning, showcasing the diversity of Jamaica’s culinary offering.

“We’re excited to see that Jamaica is now considered among the options for visitors looking for an epicurean getaway,” said Donnie Dawson, Jamaica’s Acting Director of Tourism. “The growth of the farm-to-table concept is especially significant as it promotes sustainability and the local agriculture sector. These authentic experiences add tremendous value to our tourism product and benefit not just the visitors, but our residents.”

Whether visiting the capital city, the famed north coast or the laidback south coast, visitors can eat their way around the island enjoying one of these unique farm-to-table experiences.

Plate of food

KINGSTON

EITS CafeBegin your gastronomic journey in Jamaica’s capital city of Kingston at one of the island’s hidden culinary treasures, EITS Café. Located near Newcastle, in the Blue Mountain region is EITS ("Europe in the Summer") café, part of the Mount Edge Guest House which is home to the Food Basket farm. The café has a rustic laid-back feel but serves gourmet European-Jamaican food, offering the best of both worlds. Most of the food served in the café is grown on-site at the Food Basket Farm, with the rest coming from neighboring farms in the community. Since the food is sourced locally it is usually harvested within hours (or even minutes) of being served, offering a fresh "farm to table" experience.

After leaving the capital, take a smooth ride via the North South Highway and in under an hour you’re on the North Coast.


breakfast table near a beach

OCHO RIOS

Table outside

Jamaica Inn SuiteGuests at Jamaica Inn can get a firsthand farm-to-table experience by traveling with Executive Chef Maurice each Friday at 10:30 a.m. as he visits one of his favorite places in the area, the local Farmer’s Market. There he shops for his weekly supply of fruit, vegetables and organic fresh herbs. While there, sip fresh coconut water during a special insider’s Farmer’s Market Tour” of Chef’s favorite farm stands. After shopping, return to the hotel to see what Chef has in mind for cooking that day. Enjoy a 30-45 minute cooking demonstration in the Upper Dining Room and discover how Chef Maurice uses the purchases from the market to whip up a delightful Jamaican-style farm-to-table dish.

Stush in the Bush Farm-to-TableNearby in the community of Free Hill, on a 15-acre organic farm called Zionites is Stush in the Bush, a tropical farm-to-table destination. Located in the cool mountains where there are stunning views, visitors are intrigued by the experience. Meals are prepared with farm vegetables grown from organic seeds and freshly made preserves, sauces, and dressings. The meals are prepared with pleasure and passion by Lisa and Chris and represent a love story told through food, hospitality and love for the land. It is the combination of Rastafari and Chic. Due to the intimacy of the experience, reservations are mandatory.

Breakfast food

Pantrepant Farm-to-tableGuests staying at any of Blackwell’s Island Outpost hotels can spend a day at Pantrepant, a working farm nestled on the banks of Jamaica’s gentle Martha Brae River in the famous Cockpit Country. This lush, tranquil property, owned by Chris Blackwell, dates to the 1700s when it was carved from rolling hills and forests into a thriving sugar plantation. Farm-to-table events are held regularly at Pantrepant which is a destination unlike any other: it is a home, a working cattle farm and an exquisite escape. The atmosphere is luxurious and laid back, where visitors can do as much or as little as they like: riding into the fields on horseback, exploring an ancient cave, observing cattle herding, hiking or just relaxing in an oversized hammock.

Continue your epicurean escape with a stop in the tourist capital where your tastebuds will be teased and appeased.


Plate of vegetables

MONTEGO BAY

Round Hill Chef In Organic GardenAt Round Hill Hotel & Villas, they have a strong commitment to using locally grown, sustainable produce. This commitment extends to educating guests and staff, helping them develop a deeper understanding of the link between the food consumed, health and well-being. They focus on both bringing in the freshest organic ingredients from local farming communities and preparing the meals using healthy practices. Even if you’re not a guest at Round Hill, you can experience the farm-to-table dinner every Thursday and Sunday night, as these memorable family style dinners feature a wide range of delectable dishes the whole family will enjoy.


Basket of vegetables

NEGRIL

Zimbali Farm-to-tableOn any visit to Negril, one of the activities on your checklist should include a trip with friends for lunch at Zimbali Retreats. The overall experience is sure to delight and while lunch is being prepared, feel free to take a guided tour of the 7 acre farm with Clifford. Then Chefs Eli and Alecia will entertain while preparing a refreshing salad, soup and a delicious entree. Vegan and gluten free options are available and all of the ingredients are organic. So whether you are a seafood lover, meat lover or vegetarian, you will find something tantalizing that will fill your appetite. The quality of the food is superb and the presentation is always first class.

Make your way to the interior of the island where you can connect with the community, soak up some luxury along with the warmth of the natural healing mineral baths.


Table outside

SOUTH COAST

Jakes Farm-to-Table DinnerEach month, on the Saturday closest to the full moon, Jakes hosts its Farm-to-Table dinners, set on one of Jamaica’s first farms to convert to organic agriculture. The food is grown by Farmer Dool, from fields just down the road from Jakes. Visitors dine under the stars, in the company of fellow guests who travel to the South Coast from around the world or from other parts of the island. Groups range in size from about twelve to forty people. Contact the Jakes Front Desk to confirm availability and to book your reservation.


Crowd cheering at music festival

THE 22ND ANNUAL ST. KITTS MUSIC FESTIVAL

St. Kitts Music Festival showcases a diverse assortment of international headliners as well as talented up-and-coming artists over the span of three days in June. This year Ms. Lauryn Hill, Patti LaBelle, and Spice will be performing in the 22nd Annual St. Kitts Music Festival. In addition to the music, there are several Fringe Activities including lunchtime concerts featuring local musicians, Caribbean beach parties, boat rides and official after parties.

Since 1996, when the festival was inaugurated, many of the most talented and celebrated artistes, of all genres, have graced the stage, delivering world class performances that gratify the cravings of thousands of fans who make the journey from the United States, Canada, Europe and closer to home in the Caribbean.

After two decades, the event is now the top music festival in the entire Caribbean, blending Soul, Soca, Jazz, R&B, Calypso, Meringue, Zouk, Cadence, Dancehall, Reggae, Gospel and Blues, into a potpourri of musical delights. At the St. Kitts Music Festival, there is music for everyone.

But the festival is more than music. It is a party of unimaginable island experience, bringing Kittitians together with visitors to explore the rainforest, discover the pristine marine underworld of the stunning beaches that mark the landscape, engage in the finest Caribbean cuisine, all night parties and to soak up the pleasures of life in a tropical paradise.

The St Kitts Music Festival has earned the reputation for being the most diversified music show in the Caribbean.

St. Kitts Music Festival showcases a diverse assortment of international headliners as well as talented up-and-coming artists over the span of three days in June.

This year Ms. Lauryn Hill, Patti LaBelle, and Spice will be performing in the 22nd Annual St. Kitts Music Festival. In addition to the music, there are several Fringe Activities including lunchtime concerts featuring local musicians, Caribbean beach parties, boat rides and official after parties.

Wed, June 27, 2018 - Sun, July 1, 2018, Warner Park Stadium for more information go to stkittsmusicfestival.net


Jet Blue plane

JetBlue Grows Again in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood with Start Date Set for New Grand Cayman Service

Apr 17, 2018

New Daily Flights Advance JetBlue’s Position as a Leading Airline in South Florida and the Caribbean

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- JetBlue (NASDAQ: JBLU) today announced it is again growing in South Florida and in the Caribbean with the start of nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood (FLL) and Grand Cayman (GCM). JetBlue first announced its intent to fly this route in January. Service will operate once daily beginning October 25, 2018. JetBlue is celebrating the news with an introductory fare starting at just $59 one-way (a).

“As the #1 carrier in Ft. Lauderdale, and building on the momentum of our success in both South Florida and Grand Cayman, we are excited to offer more choice and more destinations to customers with the addition of this new service,” said John Checketts, vice president network planning, JetBlue. “And with even more connecting choices from across our network, Grand Cayman has never been so close.”

Set in the western Caribbean just an hour flight from South Florida, the Cayman Islands are known for their white sand beaches, world-famous scuba diving, delicious cuisine and rich culture. 2017 marked a record-breaking year for the trio of islands as it attracted more than two million annual visitors. JetBlue is also boosting service to the islands as the number of visitors arriving by air is also on the rise. New Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood service will complement JetBlue’s existing service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and seasonal service from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).

Schedule between Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Grand Cayman (GCM)

Beginning October 25, 2018, FLL-GCM Flight #1397 10:26 a.m. – 10:53 a.m. GCM-FLL Flight #1398 11:53 a.m. – 2:29 p.m.

The new service also advances JetBlue’s position as the top airline at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, where the airline plans to operate 140 daily flights in the coming years. Additionally, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood service to Grand Cayman will open up a variety of new connecting opportunities between Grand Cayman and U.S. cities such as Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta and multiple west coast markets.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood is one of JetBlue’s fast-growing focus cities, serving customers throughout South Florida and offering a fast and convenient alternative for Miami-Dade travelers. The airline also recently expanded its operation to two new gates in Terminal 3 and began utilizing Terminal 1 for additional international arrivals to help support future growth.


United planes

United Airlines Receives "Best-of-the-Best" Award for Commitment to Diversity

United Airlines was honored by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC) with the "Best-of-the-Best" designation, lauding the airline's industry-leading results across all diverse segments, creating a better future for all diverse communities in business.

"Connecting people and cultures across the globe is at the heart of who we are at United Airlines," said Patrick Quayle, vice president of International Network at United Airlines. "Thank you to NGLCC and the NBIC for working alongside us to continue to help move society forward by advocating for inclusion and uniting the world."

United's robust diversity and inclusion initiatives represent the company's commitment to engaging with and advocating for the LGBT community, people of color, women, veterans and people with disabilities. Actions taken every day to support the airline's efforts include building and sustaining a diverse and inclusive workforce and developing partnerships with key organizations with common goals.

United takes action to build a more inclusive economy and world for all through such actions as developing and employing anti-discrimination policies, implementing employee training focused on inclusion, creating and expanding Business Resource Groups (BRGs) across the U.S. and internationally for employees, and hosting Girls in Aviation Day events in locations across the system, among other initiatives.



MORE FOR ALL

When Chelsea Handler sent an elated tweet last month saying she felt like she was at Sandals, her audience didn’t need an explanation of what that meant. They knew. Sandals Resorts was the pinnacle of good living, a Caribbean haven where the best of everything is included.

While Sandals has entrenched itself in the imagination of travelers worldwide, becoming a household name and bringing fame and fortune to its iconic founder and chairman, Jamaica’s the Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart, the real winners of this brand’s meteoric rise may well be the people of the Caribbean.

For Stewart, that was always part of the plan.

“When we made the decision to stay [in Jamaica despite the country’s economic woes caused by the falling price of bauxite and brush with socialism], we made the decision to do what was necessary to bring much-needed foreign currency into the Jamaican marketplace,” said Stewart.

As the well-told story goes, Stewart’s plan to bring in that overseas investment was the purchase in 1981 - despite no hotel experience, of a rundown hotel on a magnificent beach in Montego Bay. Seven months and US$4 million in renovations later, Sandals Montego Bay opened as the flagship of what is today, the most popular award-winning, all-inclusive resort chain in the world. Stewart has never laid claim to starting the all-inclusive concept, couples-only format but he is recognized worldwide for the consistent innovation and unsurpassed level of luxury he has brought to the all-inclusive experience he created expressly in the Caribbean.

With a simple philosophy of finding out what people want, giving it to them and in doing so, ‘exceeding their expectations,’ Stewart set out a framework for hospitality that not only helped usher in a period of unprecedented growth of visitors to the region, but demonstrated to Caribbean people that a Caribbean company could take charge and lead the economic possibility and promise of the region’s most important export: tourism.

“It occurred to me that for the region the to be successful, Caribbean people needed to be connected to its most important asset. Having grown up on the beach in St. Ann’s Bay, I deeply believed – besides the warmth of the people, that our sun, sand and clear blue sea were irresistible to a great many in the world’s largest and cold market to our north,” said Stewart. “Knowing that without opportunity, our best and brightest are lost to that market, I was determined to be a Caribbean person who lived and built his business at home and would find a reason to bring that market here.”

By sheer force of determination and a mission to exceed expectations, Stewart has fostered a company free to imagine and free to consistently raise the bar. This has earned him the title of “King of All-Inclusives,” changing the face of the all-inclusive format and establishing Sandals Resorts as the most successful brand in the category – boasting year-round occupancy levels of more than 85 percent, an unequaled repeat guest factor of 40 percent and demand that has led to unprecedented expansion including the creation of Beaches Resorts, now the industry standard for excellence in family beach vacations.

Today, Sandals Resorts International operates nine resorts and three private villas in Jamaica, three resorts in Saint Lucia, three in The Bahamas, one in Antigua, one in Grenada, two in Barbados and one in The Turks & Caicos Islands – and is poised for continued growth. For 22 years in a row, Sandals Resorts International has been named the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company at the prestigious World Travel Awards and has been recognized by the industry and consumers for excellence worldwide.

The success of this Caribbean-born company is without comparison as is its influence and impact in the region. Sandals Resorts is the region’s largest private employer. To the greatest extent possible, goods, services and employees are Caribbean. Through partnership with locally-based vendors, everything from fresh fish and Irish potatoes to uniforms and rum are sourced and purchased in the Caribbean. The not-for-profit Sandals Foundation, is the organization’s philanthropic arm, aiding projects that better the environment, communities and educational opportunities in the Caribbean.

Perhaps most importantly for Stewart is Sandals Corporate University, the company's adult education program for Caribbean nationals employed by Sandals, and a testament to his belief in human development and the untapped talent waiting to be discovered in the Caribbean.

Stewart proudly recounts the many times he’s been in a restaurant or hotel in the world’s big cities - New York, London or Paris and a staff member will come up to him and say, “thank you, I got my start at Sandals.”

“I love my job and what my team and I have built. I love that we have been able to share the Caribbean with the world and the chance we’ve had, to play a part in sharing that world and its limitless possibilities with the people of the Caribbean,” said Stewart.