At the recent International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin, Tobago received overwhelming response and garnered great interest, said Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles, who accompanied the Tobago contingent to ITB from last Wednesday to Sunday.
The initiative was aimed at increasing the island’s market share in the European market, as ITB is one of world’s leading travel tourism shows. ITB provides an opportunity to promote Tobago’s tourism to major European markets, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland. These three markets represent more than 15 per cent of Tobago’s international passenger arrivals.
Speaking with the Tobago media present on closing day, Charles said, “Coming to ITB is part of our purpose for ensuring that we continue to take action that would revitalise our tourism industry, and indeed the response has been extremely marvellous and encouraging. As a matter of fact, when we did the formal launch, those persons who were there did, in fact, indicate that they were happy that we were reconnecting again with our market in Germany and in fact, they indicated that they were quite willing to give us the necessary exposure.”
He said four new large tour operators had decided they would market Tobago.
Describing ITB as a “fantastic experience,” Charles said: “I think that my presence here is one that sends a particular signal: it indicates that we are taking tourism seriously, that the head of government in Tobago can take the time to be here as part of the mission.
“In fact, when we were at WTM (World Travel Market) last year, persons were indicating that it was the very first time that they saw a Chief Secretary from Tobago making his presence felt. What is important as well, once I am here, it means that whatever commitment I give can be taken seriously because, in fact, I can commit the government of Tobago.”
Tobago representative in the German market Angelika Wegner said coming out of ITB, travel and trade organisations had expressed great interest in partnering with Tobago.
“I’m very optimistic. Usually I am very realistic, but in this case, it is optimistic, because what I found over the last three days, in the many conversations we had, people are really embracing the actual fact that there is such a beautiful...untouched island like Tobago.
“With the current trend among the consumers here in the market, people are looking for experiences, for untouched islands.
“An untouched island with less tourism sectors and not overcrowded beaches is perfectly set for our consumers and for the trade and this is exactly what we found.”
The final two days of ITB were consumer days, when the general public was invited to attend and visit the booths and experience cultural displays from the various countries.
The Tobago stand featured pannist Kersh Ramsey from Black Rock, a member of Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra. Ramsey also arranged for the first time this Carnival and his band T&TEC East Side from Tobago placed second in the Panorama medium band category.
The delegation also included Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation Nadine Stewart-Phillips, Louis Lewis, CEO of the Tobago Tourism Agency, and other representatives from the division and the agency. During this trip, the Tobago delegation also launched the new Tobago brand, Tobago Beyond Ordinary. The contingent was expected to return on Monday (March 11).