Caribbean Experts For Media PitchesJanuary 14, 2020 | By: Symeria Palmer
Looking to get some coverage about Caribbean destinations? Familiarize yourself with a few Caribbean experts who write about the region before pitching so you can work with them more constructively. Meet nine of our favorites and hear what they’re looking for in pitches.
1. Alexander Britell | Editor in Chief/ Founder | Caribbean Journal
Alexander Britell is the Editor in Chief and Founder at Caribbean Journal, covering travel and tourism from around the Caribbean, specializing in luxury hotels and resorts. He’s one of the Caribbean experts to get to know.
Before Caribbean Journal, Britell was a senior reporter and editor for the South Florida bureau of The Real Deal. He has previously written for publications such as the New York Sun, the Jerusalem Post and the Nassau Guardian. Alexander is a former Freelance Reporter for The Real Deal and served as Automotive Editor at Meadow’s Publications.
When it comes to pitches, for Britell, it’s all about the news hook. “The biggest thing is a pitch has to be newsworthy. It has to be relevant and, most importantly, information that travelers actually want. The reader is the most important consideration – always,” he said.
Caribbean Journal – 395,000 UVPM
2. Robert Curley | Caribbean Travel Expert & Freelance Writer | DotDash, TripSavvy, JAX FAX Magazine
Robert Curley is a freelance writer known well among Caribbean experts. He’s a former writer for TripSavvy, contributing more than 400 travel articles about the Caribbean Islands in 11 years. Island living is in his blood—he was born on Long Island, moved to his current home in Rhode Island, and later gained an appreciation for tropical island life while visiting the Caribbean.
A freelance travel writer and editor for more than 25 years, Curley is the author of the travel guidebook “Off the Beaten Path: Rhode Island.” He has also penned hundreds of magazine articles for Coastal Living, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Meeting News, Business Traveller, Oxygen, and many others. Curley also is editor of Caribbean Bob and founder and publisher of Rhode Island Travel. Other topics he’s covered include food, healthcare, arts and history.
DotDash – 10,939 UVPM
TripSavvy – 14,423 UVPM
JAX FAX – 60,000 Circulation; 17,298 UVPM
3. Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon | Blogger & Freelance Writer | JetSetSarah, Travel + Leisure, Essence, Islands etc.
Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon is a Miami-based Caribbean travel expert, award-winning travel journalist, TV host and self-described “Carivangelist,” who ventures to the beach and beyond to share the diverse culture, lifestyle and people of the world’s favorite warm-weather destination with brands such as Travel + Leisure, Brides, Martha Stewart Weddings, The Telegraph, Islands.com and Cruise Critic.
Formerly executive editor of the dearly departed U.S. newsstand magazine Caribbean Travel + Life, she’s now jetsetter-in-chief/blogger at JetSetSarah covering Caribbean, Miami, resorts, destinations, events, attractions, travel, fitness, running and retail.
Travel + Leisure – 962,011 Circulation; 3,168,640 UVPM
Essence – 1,072,335 Circulation; 2,122,703 UVPM
Islands – 429,558 Circulation; 429,558 UVPM
4. Lebawit Lily Girma | Contributing Writer & Blogger | Lily Lily Photography, Lonely Planet, TripSavvy
Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning Ethiopian-American travel writer, photographer and author of several Caribbean guidebooks for Moon Travel Guides. Her work has been published in AFAR, CNN Travel, BBC, Delta Sky, The Guardian, and Every Day With Rachael Ray, among others.
Her expertise ranges from cultural and sustainable travel to community tourism and social impact. A self-professed “culture-holic,” Girma is fluent in four languages, including French and Spanish, fluently and has lived in numerous countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, England, Jamaica, Belize, and the Dominican Republic. She has also explored some 30+ countries around the world.
In addition, Lily has extensive experience working with travel brands and tourism boards, providing destination content and strategy. Since 2017, she is also the Editor in chief of Belize’s sole visitor magazine, Destination Belize.
Lily is a former US corporate attorney who ditched her Washington DC office for the road in 2009 to pursue travel journalism. Among several awards, she is the recipient of the 2016 Marcia Vickery Wallace Memorial Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism from the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
When considering pitches, she looks for more niche topics than most Caribbean experts, especially around responsible travel. “I focus on sustainable tourism in the Caribbean, so I’m always looking for unique cultural/adventure/environmental initiatives taking place, whether it’s a hotel going solar, a new community tourism activity being offered, or a historical landmark/museum opening or being renovated,” she said.
Lonely Planet – 450,000 Circulation; 11,849,867 UVPM
TripSavvy – 14,423 UVPM
5. Brian Major | Executive Editor, Caribbean and Latin America | TravelPulse & Vacation Agent
A veteran travel journalist, media and content consultant, Brian is executive editor and Caribbean expert for travAlliance Media and has traveled extensively to emerging destinations including El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti. Brian also has an extensive background in cruise journalism and public relations.
He previously served as Director of Public Relations for the Cruise Lines International Assn. (CLIA). His articles have appeared on the Afar.com, Forbes.com and Fodors.com and he was the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s 2015 “Inner Circle King” Award winner for trade journalism feature writing. Brian’s travel photography has appeared in national publications including USA Today.
TravelPulse – 698,359 UVPM
Vacation Agent – 28,164 Circulation
6. Gay Nagle Myers | Contributing Editor | Travel Weekly
Gay Nagle Myers currently is a Caribbean expert for Travel Weekly, but she has covered many destinations and facets of the industry during her 30-plus years with Travel Weekly. She has been recognized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization; the tourist boards of Jamaica, the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Kitts; and the tourism association of Mazatlan, Mexico, for excellence in travel journalism. She received the Gold Adrian Award from HSMAI in February 2015 for a series of recent articles on Cuba. Myers is a New Yorker based now in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Don’t bother pitching Myers on tiny updates. She wants facts, numbers, dates, prices, and contact name all spelled out clearly alongside the real story. “I’m looking for news. I don’t want to get a release every time a hotel gets a new bedspread or sous chef, but I do want to know when one is opening, renovating, closing,” she said.
Also, be mindful of your language. “I don’t want and won’t use puff piece and those releases with lots of hackneyed phrases like gin-clear waters, turquoise seas, etc.,” she said.
Travel Weekly – 37,005 Circulation; 459,031 UVPM
7. Melanie Reffes | Freelance Writer & Editor | USA Today, JAX FAX and CaribbeanTravel.com
Melanie Reffes is an island girl at heart. Born in Manhattan, she now lives on the sunny island of Montreal and covers the Caribbean for a variety of publications including USA TODAY TRAVEL, CaribbeanTravel.com and MarryCaribbean.com.
A journalist with a boatload of writer awards under her belt, Melanie’s affection for the Caribbean started young when her family vacationed in Puerto Rico. An avid fan of spicy food, Melanie enjoys the diversity of Montreal, especially during the warmer months, when she’s not en route to the Caribbean.
Like most other specialists, Reffes wants the news, quickly and clearly. “Short and sweet and right to the point are the pitches I pay attention to. I also do not react well to pitches that pit one Caribbean destination against another one. IE: ‘We have the best beaches in the Caribbean’ is absurd.
Again, understand that wording is important no matter who you are pitching to these days. Don’t get cutesy and don’t pretend to be her pal. Reffes said, “Too many adjectives in a pitch also move my fingers closer to the delete key. Again, short, succinct and to the point are the types of pitches that appeal to busy journalists, especially those of us who cover the Caribbean with its diverse make-up and tourism products that differ from country to country.”
USA Today – 1,621,091 Circulation; 36,989,744 UVPM
JAX FAX – 60,000 Circulation; 17,298 UVPM
8. Matt Turner | Associate Editor & Caribbean Editor| Luxury Travel Advisor & Travel Agent Central
Matt Turner is the Associate Editor of Luxury Travel Advisor and the Caribbean Editor for both Luxury Travel Advisor and Travel Agent.
Previously, Matt has written for Rantsports.com, Scout.com, Baseball Player Magazine and his school newspaper, Pipe Dream. He has covered high school, college, and minor league baseball, basketball, soccer, wrestling, hockey and lacrosse. He has also spent two years bartending prior to his position with Luxury Travel Advisor.
Luxury Travel Advisor – 12,000 Circulation; 43,242 UVPM
Travel Agent Central – 50,013 Circulation; 154,622 UVPM
9. Ed Wetschler | Contributing Editor | Recommend Magazine
Ed Wetschler won the 2019 Marcia Vickery Wallace Memorial Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism. Among the top Caribbean experts, he is a two-time winner of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s annual Inner Circle King award for his coverage of Caribbean travel trends in Recommend magazine.
A part owner of Tripatini, a social network for travel, he has also contributed to The New York Times, Caribbean Travel & Life, Delta Sky, Frommers.com, various custom publications, and other prominent media outlets. He held the #2 spot for Caribbean Escapes and, before that, worked 20 years at Diversion, the travel-leisure magazine for physicians. There he served as executive editor and then editor-in-chief, expanding the publication’s coverage of the Caribbean and taking every opportunity to go there himself. His favorite island is whichever island he’s on right now.
Recommend Magazine – 48,311 Circulation; 51,206 UVPM
In order for your Caribbean tourism campaign to reach your intended audience, you have to reach out to the right Caribbean experts in media. At DCI, we know how to increase inquiries for Caribbean destinations and currently partner with Barbados to increase visitor arrivals and spending. Our team collaborates with top media and online influencers to drive consumer engagement. Contact [email protected] for more information on how DCI can implement a public relations program that increases your profile and increases travel bookings.