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CTO & CHTA Redesign Public Relations Council To Facilitate Exchange Of Ideas, Action Plans For Regional Communications

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), in conjunction with the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), has repurposed and redesigned the CTO Public Relations Council, originally created in 1999 to provide a collective voice for the Caribbean region.

"The PR Council is a forum for the exchange of ideas and the formulation of actionable plans among public relations professionals and other parties representing interests in the Caribbean," said Hugh Riley, secretary general of CTO as he addressed the 43 participants attending the first gathering of the PR Council in 2016 held recently in New York.

"The PR Council is open to all members of both CTO and CHTA and representatives of CTO and CHTA members in good financial standing," Riley added. This includes National Tourist Office representatives in North America, Caribbean hoteliers and their marketing representatives.

The plans are for the PR Council to meet at least twice a year or at such frequency as the CTO and CHTA deem necessary. In the past, the PR Council was very effective in mitigating crisis situations by meeting, planning and working together to formulate and disseminate coordinated messaging.

"Following the widespread cancellations of all travel after Sept. 11, 2001, the PR Council worked well together to promote the Region resulting in Caribbean tourism recovering faster than anywhere else," said Richard S. Kahn, president of KTCpr, the firm which manages the PR Council for CTO.  

Kahn added: "Several times in the past, the PR Council coordinated the messaging following a hurricane that impacted a select few Caribbean destinations, but left most of the region unscathed. The efforts by the PR Council resulted in fewer cancellations to unaffected countries."

"We see the PR Council as our means of communicating and collaborating on essential messages for our destinations and hotels to manage the reputation of the Region and each of our countries and resorts that participate," said Frank Comito, director general and CEO of CHTA.

"The more hotels and national hotel and tourism associations that participate, the stronger the unity and messaging for the entire Caribbean and everyone benefits," Comito added.        

While the PR Council will continue to focus on crisis communication, the new body will also function as a PR innovator. "It will be both the generator and the testing ground for new public relations ideas that can be applied to events and promotions organized by the CTO and the CHTA," Riley said, adding: "We fully expect the Council to be a conduit for public relations strategies that will benefit individual members and the entire Caribbean."


There is no cost to participate in the PR Council. It is another benefit of membership in CTO and CHTA. Participants in the PR Council will receive monthly communications on regional marketing, best practices and success stories that are shared by other members.

The PR Council will also share potential promotions and initiatives that are available through the Caribbean Tourism Development Company (CTDC), a marketing and business development entity jointly owned by the CTO and CHTA.        

One of the Council's newest responsibilities will be to contribute to the success of the "The Year of Romance in the Caribbean," so designated by the Caribbean for 2016. 

KTCpr will act as a clearing house and the overall convener for the PR Council including potential promotions and action plans for CTO and CHTA and CTDC initiatives.

Crisis communications will be an important part of the PR Council operations to be prepared with messaging for hurricanes, crime and health issues or anything that adversely impacts the region.

The first meeting, held in the New York offices of USA Today, saw a detailed discussion of Caribbean Week New York plans which resulted in creative new ideas and initiatives aimed at substantially enhancing that annual June event. .        

For more information contact any of the following organizations:

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: The CTO's New York office is located at 80 Broad St., Suite 3302, New York, NY 10004, USA: Tel: (212) 635-9530; Fax: (212) 635-9511