Kwesi Des Vignes, Public Relations Officer of the Tobago Council of the People National Movement (PNM) on Wednesday defended island’s tourism tagline, ‘Tobago, Beyond Ordinary,’ against charges of plagiarism, saying that it was only one part of the marketing strategy.
“Whether there is another destination similar in terms of the tagline, as far as I am concerned, there is no place like Tobago.
“The question comes, how do we see Tobago to our target markets. We’ve come up with a strategy to do so and we’re saying this is the strategy to get people here. From seine pulling in Castara to sunsets in Charlotteville… that is what we need to be talking about,” he said.
Des Vignes, who is also the Secretary for Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment, was speaking at a press conference on Wednesday at the Tobago Council’s office in Scarborough. He was responding to concerns first raised by Tobagonians on Facebook last weekend who queried similarities between Tobago’s marketing tagline with Anguilla’s ‘It’s Beyond Extraordinary,” and wondered whether this was a case of plagiarism.
On Tuesday, Minority Assemblyman Farley Augustine called on Tourism Secretary Nadine Stewart Phillips to explain why Tobago’s tagline was similar to Anguilla’s.
“I am certain millions of dollars were spent in this campaign…I hope Mrs Stewart Phillips would come and address Tobagonians and apologise to Tobagonians for this extremely horrendous mistake and chart for us a new direction,” he said at the Minority Council’s press conference at James Park on Tuesday.
Augustine also wanted to know the cost of coming up with this tagline, and how thorough was the research that went into it.
On Monday, Tobago Tourism Agency’s (TTA) Chief Executive Officer Louis Lewis, also responding to the concerns by Tobagonians, insisted there “there is like no way in any way that we copied any of their (Anguilla) strategies, we are absolutely clear on that.” Lewis said the tourism rebranding process – which included changing the tagline ‘Clean Green and Serene’ - was part of a bigger process of tourism marketing for Tobago going forward.
Des Vignes on Wednesday also declared that the tagline was but one element of a marketing strategy.
“The agency would have outlined four key niches being looked at; leisure market, eco-tourism, weddings and honeymoons as well as soft adventure and diving; those are the areas that we are looking at and we are looking to see what are the ways that we can benefit and experience Tobago. Those are the messages that we have to send,” he said.
Des Vignes slammed the political party, Tobago Forwards, for attempting to distract the population from the goal.
“It’s unfortunate that we have a zombie party, who all of a sudden rise from the dead, they clearly have no interest in tourism because they want to put visine in the tourist water. They are now coming to speak about the branding for Tobago.
“We want to ensure that our tourists when they come, have a great experience. Let us stick to the plan, let us get tourists to the island, let’s ensure that they have a good time, let us ensure that their memories and their experiences are ones that they would never forget, let us ensure that they are telling their friends, their families and when they go on social media telling everyone that Tobago is the place to be,” he said.
Tobago Forwards on Monday issued a press release, declaring that similarities between the taglines of the two islands were ‘beyond embarrassing.’
“Considering that Destination Tobago was the last brand launch out of the three, allegations of plagiarism are hard to avoid. It is therefore up to the Tobago Tourism Agency and their various proxies, including the office of the Chief Secretary and the Minister of Tourism, past and present, to provide an explanation as to why taxpayers funds were used to mimic the advertising campaigns of two competing destinations,” the party said.