About West Indies Tourism Today: WITT

Daily tourism news and events - in the Caribbean - from the Caribbean - for the Caribbean

News that is actionable is about timeliness, relevance, accuracy and credibility.

visualisation of witt process

What is West Indies Tourism Today??

Unique reports of tourism related news, captured from most* local Caribbean News Services. Primarily intended for local MSME business owners however everyone benefits by saving valuable time. The goal is to deliver current, relevant tourism news from reliable local sources in a light-weight and low cost format.

The product is a daily round-up of news about the tourism sector focussing on the Caribbean region. News about the people, destinations, air travel, promotions, tourism data and all matters relating to Caribbean tourism as published by local Caribbean news sources.

With the Europe Media Monitor service as its core, using advanced information extraction techniques to gather relevant news. After including regional news outlets, the result is an aggregation of about 90 feeds. The objective is to be informative and inclusive, from a Caribbean point of view. To my knowledge, this is the only service that offers this unique perspective.

Gathering Caribbean tourism news from individual news outlets is a slow and arduous process, so ...

Here is an opportunity to help you to reach these goals and free valuable time for more productive purposes.

Unique reports of tourism related news, captured from most* local Caribbean News Services. Primarily intended for local MSME business owners however everyone benefits saving valuable time. The goal is to deliver available, relevant news in a light-weight and low cost format.

The product is a daily round-up of news about the tourism sector focussing on the Caribbean region. News about the people, destinations, air travel, promotions, tourism data and all matters relating to Caribbean tourism as published by local Caribbean news sources.

With the Europe Media Monitor service as its core, using advanced information extraction techniques to gather relevant news. After including regional news outlets, the result is an aggregation of about 90 feeds. The objective is to be informative and inclusive, from a Caribbean point of view. To my knowledge, this is the only service that offers this unique perspective.

News delivery and uptake are in a state of flux like never before. People are demanding new and innovative ways to find news. Plus, there is simply too much information and too many sources available for one person to absorb. How news distribution responds to these forces is critically important.

* Local services that provide a news feed; Sourced from all available news items in the EMM RSS Feeds as well as the local Caribbean Feeds; Compiled daily.

Who may find this useful?

Targeted mainly to the people in the business of supplying tourism services: tour companies, hotels and so on.

Unique Features:

How WITT fits in the context of current news distribution:

Visualisation of how WITT is a subset of larger information sources.

How this is done:

Visualisation of method to create and deliver WITT report

RSS feeds from 21 EMM and 70 local Caribbean news services are captured. Then, news are discovered based on a keyword appearing in the title or description in the original RSS feed. For this process, the chosen keyword is 'tourism'. The description usually includes a paragraph or, alternatively, about 250-300 characters of the text of the news item. The keyword must appear within this text range of the news item in order to be found using this method. This data is cleaned and reformatted for presentation as a report. The product is an aggregation of actual news as discovered from bona-fide local Caribbean news outlets, primarily traditional print media.

Six reports available in several formats:

1/ Main report with headings for each island/country - news appears in feed as placed by EMM or in RSS feed from media outlet.

2 / Comprehensive version: A more comprehensive version is available separately, typically featuring from 150 - 200 news on any given day*

3/ Archived version EMM content (Two versions)

4/ Archived version of local Caribbean content

5/ Global Affairs Canada travel advisories report including Canadian embassy information + KML version for Google Earth

6/ Caribbean Emergency Numbers in KML version opens in Google Earth + summary version.

Note: Also possible to create reports for multiple keyword groups as well as for other topic categories.

Keep in mind that there are roughly 2000+ news* available from included news sources on any given day. However, most are not relevant or useful. This report goes a long way towards filtering relevant news, so the potential for time-savings is obvious.

To maintain exclusivity, this report will be distributed only to paid subscribers. Cost and method of subscription yet to be determined. Payment by PayPal.

Reports are customizable, at additional cost, within limits. This may include altering frequency, reporting period, source location and/or keyword selection.

About: Europe Media Monitor

The EMM monitors over 20000 RSS feeds and HTML pages from 7000 key news portals world-wide.

The EMM News Brief is a summary of news stories from around the world, automatically classified according to thousands of criteria. The EMM News Brief is generated automatically by software algorithms without any human intervention. See: EMM Overview.

These reports include a selection of 51 news sources - in the Caribbean region - out of the sources EMM gathers.

Sources from Europe Media Monitor (EMM) News Feeds used by permission as well as available local Caribbean RSS feeds, where available. There are more than 125 unique feeds being scanned - delivering hundreds of tourism related news on a daily basis.

Visualisation of method to merge EMM and local Caribbean news feeds


This method captures most current available news. For various reasons, it is still possible to miss some relevant news but is kept to a minimum. News editors routinely pull news from multiple news sources, so it is possible that some items may appear more than once while some news may get overlooked. Unfortunately, no current technology is capable of capturing all news from all available sources, there is just too much.

EMM RSS feeds used for this report filter new items by source location. Quite often islands/countries have no reports to show on a given day for that country. This means that there are no news available within this reporting system for the reporting period. (See: Notes)

Also, timing of distribution is a bit tricky. The release of news is controlled by the media outlets and also depends on when news happens. So, reporting must not be too early to possibly miss release of news reports but early enough to provide timely update for the working day. A relevant news item may not show until the next day, depending on when it appears in the included media. It may be possible to send mid-day updates, conditional on availability of new content.

Finally, the source news outlets control content and also when items are posted or removed from the available services. It is possible for the content of news to be edited or altered at any time without prior notice. This is sometimes done to correct errors, or for other reasons.

It is also possible that reports may not be available on a given day or at a specified time due to unforeseen circumstances, particularly when RSS feeds are not available. Alternate reports may be substituted to fill the void. Due to technical issues, no report can be guaranteed for completeness.

Every attempt is made to conform to fair use and respect for copyright/trademark.

Future development

It is important for all islands to be represented both in terms of the name mention but also promoting local news services and local suppliers. This means engaging with local news sources to supply relevant news for readers in all Caribbean destinations. It is vital for local services to provide content relevant to local readers, including visitors.

Development objectives:

Tourism is increasingly valuable as an economic force. In order to benefit local people, reporting more - and better - tourism related news from local Caribbean news sources needs to be promoted. Therefore, future work will concentrate on finding news and promoting better reporting within local media.

For example, local suppliers, tour guides, as well as other services should be encouraged to supply relevant press releases to local media for important news and events.

It is important to note that this is not a marketing report. Most marketing news and press releases originate in source markets outside the Caribbean. These are not included in this reporting method. It may be feasible to create such a report.

Continual improvement of the presentation is always going to be top of mind. Finding and including more sources is also being looked into. Depending on demand, inclusion of other media sources outside the Caribbean, or possibly a web page for news feeds. Also, news about advisories and warnings focussing on Caribbean destinations. Such as: Current Global Affairs Canada Travel Advisory status summary for Caribbean countries. Ultimately - this report is for the reader, so suggestions will be considered.

Questions that need to be asked:

For at least one in ten people (and maybe as many as one in six or seven) — tourism is not a leisure activity, it is a means to earn income and a business opportunity. For some, it is a way of life. This reality spawns the need for news media, as well as travel and tourism vested interests to be delivering relevant information and resources. This helps these people do business and keep up with trends, best practices and competitive business strategies within their own destination as well as from other places.

The goal is to deliver all available, relevant news and assist local business owners to make more informed decisions. This is a sensible, accessible and low cost way for news media to participate in the promotion and development of local tourism products and services and contribute to bettering the lot of their own audience.

In this context, local news outlets have a responsibility to distribute accurate and timely information for local readers. It is also important to mitigate damage and avoid being sensational in reporting events that might otherwise cause unnecessary harm and/or inconvenience.

These are important questions.

At some level, all citizens are tourism ambassadors, so local citizens need to be informed about news events and to share news information responsibly. There may be a tendency for residents to treat local news as gossip but in the internet world, news goes everywhere the instant it is reported. A person on the street anywhere is as likely to read a local news report as is your neighbour. What's more, they are reading the same report but, at a distance. So, they do not have the perspective or the background information that a local resident has. So, news is not gossip and cannot be treated as such. In fact, the deep and far reaching consequences of negative news and irresponsible reporting cannot be undone.

The WITT report is extracted from a wide swath of Caribbean news sources. The breadth of the coverage includes all Caribbean insular countries and most of the news outlets available in these places. There are 91 RSS feeds used to generate these reports. The bulk of these news are being generated in places that are already successful as destinations.

Wouldn't it make sense to follow their lead?

Look at this another way. In most major Caribbean countries, there is a serious shortage of news available for the one in ten people in the tourism business. This means the average reader has got to work very hard, accessing news from multiple sources, to keep up to date with current Caribbean tourism news.

People need to know about ecological, environmental, political and business issues and how these impact their ability to make decisions.

Large-scale developers tend to concentrate on numbers and they operate more or less independently. These enterprises take the approach of negotiating with each island, one by one, contributing to the competition between islands. They also tend to place less importance on the negative impacts of large-scale tourism development.

However, the Caribbean is small, in terms of population, geography and resources, so the need to bring together the various different entities is of utmost importance. It is clear that the different islands, while distinct in their character, share many of the same problems.

Tourism is at its base, a grassroots, people-to-people activity and those entrepreneurs who concentrate on these aspects will be better equipped to grow their businesses.

It is the awareness of all these issues that WITT Report is intended to improve.

Thank you for your time.


For some islands/countries, EMM RSS feeds are usually empty and therefore do not have any relevant news available. This includes: Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico and Turks & Caicos Islands. Either there is no news source with reports in English or the news source does not provide a RSS feed. Local news sources with RSS feeds only partially fill missing data. Also, some countries are missing from the available news sources. This includes: Bonaire, Saba, Statia, St Martin and St Barthélemy. It is possible that reports from available countries may supply coverage for missing countries.

The process by which this report is made is technically complex and involves gathering, processing and presenting data from a wide range of sources and formats. Due to multiple sources as well as the large quantity of data and technical issues, content can vary widely. Service is contingent upon availability of source information and subject to change at any time. The day when all this goes without a hitch is rare indeed. Continual development and modification are taken for granted so a final version is never possible.

RSS feeds may work intermittently or not at all!!

A considerable amount of effort has been expended to create these reports, therefore, subscription terms strictly prohibit forwarding or otherwise re-transmitting these reports or email messages in any form. See: Terms & Conditions.

Links are provided for convenience and information purposes. Not responsible for content of external links. All trademarks remain the property of the rights holder.

* Approximate figures, varies on a daily basis.

** RSS/HTML Compatible format for ease of inclusion.

News in the Age of Social Media

Services such as Google News are effective at gathering 'Top' Caribbean tourism news but it does not cover, or distribute, but a fraction of what is available and includes media from all over the world. As well, there are other news services that cover the topic very broadly, appealing to a general audience.

Social media - as popular and pervasive as it is - still does not reach the majority of Caribbean readers. For example: Facebook usage in Latin America / Caribbean is estimated at 18.8% (June 2017), well below the world average. (Note 1)

According to ICT Pulse, although higher in certain countries the regional penetration is around 42%. (Note 2) These figures show subscription levels - which is not the same thing as active users.

Furthermore, the news is only one of a myriad of messages and distractions within the social media universe. And do you really want to be sending viewers (revenue) to powerful American media?

Social media reaches a significant portion of the population but how do you reach them all?

Read the local news! Readers of local media are more likely active users on a consistent and more dependable basis. Readers are paying attention to the message and are less distracted. Local media outlets are clamouring for support amid overwhelming competition from foreign sources. It is not a level playing field and serves powerful interests that are drawing attention (revenue) away from local businesses. Something to think about.

Important: No intentional use of or reference to Google News or other news aggregator. As much as possible, news is gathered from sources with local reporting and editorial staff. In some cases local services will legitimately include reports from other local services. Sources that are news aggregators only (no reporting or editorial staff) are not used.

Note 1: http://www.internetworldstats.com/facebook.htm

Note 2: http://www.ict-pulse.com/2017/07/snapshot-facebook-membership-trends-2017-update/

A little about me ... My name is Alan Barry Ginn and I live near Ottawa, Canada.

I have conceived, developed and made all aspects of the WITT Report. Therefore, any errors or shortcomings are mine alone. I welcome creative and constructive suggestions on ways to make it better. I want it to be a useful tool for anyone to capture local current Caribbean tourism news.

I have a keen interest in the Caribbean region and have studied most aspects quite extensively. I enjoy the culture and ambience of Caribbean islands: the food, the music, the people. I have travelled to many countries including most of the Caribbean islands.

This experience has always been beneficial but it has also made the vulnerabilities of the islands, and the peoples, very clear.

I feel strongly that the most important people to benefit from Caribbean tourism should be the residents themselves. The WITT Report is intended to contribute to making Caribbean tourism better for everyone.

I hold a Bachelor of Geography degree from Carleton University.

My Caribbean tourism websites

Presenting opinion and editorial (Op/Ed) articles centering on Caribbean tourism and in particular, Tobago tourism.

This is intended to provide a basis for further discussion. We all need to be aware as well as to discuss these issues. To be sure, within the context of a 'doom and gloom' scenario, there are still opportunities, extant, for valuable experiences. This is my contribution and I encourage feedback, good or bad. There is much to consider.

The path to the future is uncertain but it is certain that someone will have a hand in creating it. If anyone knows a better way, please share it.