The Caribbean Tourism Organization is the official body for developing and promoting tourism through the Caribbean, whose membership is comprised of 34 destination countries, hotels, airlines, travel agencies and cruise operators, involved in the Caribbean tourism. Choosing CTO, you open the door to the personal Caribbean holidays paradise with a selection of 33 rich and varied destinations that offer you everything from adventurous cruising to exciting carnivals.
The origins of the Caribbean Tourism Organization can be traced back to 1989, when it was formed as a result of the merger of the Caribbean Tourism Research and Development Center founded in 1974 and the Caribbean Tourism Association established in 1951. Among the first priorities of the organization was the establishment of the close links with CHA, in order to introduce more changes to the Caribbean tourism to change its course into the 21st century.
In 1991 the first Caribbean Conference on Ecotourism was organized in Belize City, which provided government tourism officers, cruise liners, hoteliers and non-governmental organization with the opportunity to discuss issues related to the protection of the environment. CTO has managed to organize five more such conferences, until the decision to embrace the concept of sustainable tourism was reached in 1997.
In 1995 CTO launched its website, which according to early reports, ranked with the most popular websites for consumers. Today tourism information from all the organization's members is available on CTO world-class websites, including getaways in UK and Dutch, US English, Spanish, Italian, French and German.
With headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in Toronto, London and New York City, CTO is the development agency of the Caribbean tourism and works to promote sustainable tourism, sensitive to cultural, social and economic interests of the Caribbean people and to provide tourists with the top quality service. The organization offers technical assistance and specialized support to its member states in the areas of sustainable development, human resource development, marketing, statistics and research.
The premier regional tourism organization, CTO consists of government and private sector operatives of the tourism industry across the Caribbean. It is responsible for collecting and disseminating data and research on the regional industry's development. The organization's offices can be found in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Barbados, while CTO Chapters are situated in Holland, Germany, France, in the Caribbean and across the United States.
The mission of CTO Chapters is to play the leading role in the Caribbean travel industry by providing a forum in which travel agents meet for the purpose of expanding profit and travel opportunities. Membership in CTO doesn't imply membership in Chapter, since these are recognized as two completely different entities. Each membership category must be obtained separately, based on payment of membership dues. As of 2005, CTO earnings topped $23 billion dollars.