Tourism agency head: Trade fair will better prepare Tobago
“IF Tobago is supposed to grow its tourism business, grow its arrival and deepen economic activities derived from tourism, Tobago cannot stay home.”
This was the view of Alicia Edwards, executive chairman of the Tobago Tourism Agency (TTAL), who recently returned from the Internationale Tourismus-Borse (ITB) travel trade show from March 7 -9 in Berlin, Germany.
Edwards was speaking at a press conference hosted by TTAL on Friday. To reinforce her point, she referred to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.
“When we went to ITB last week, two spans down from us was Jamaica. And Jamaica welcomed five million tourists last year, yet there they were at the ITB, busy trying to attract more business.
“Across from us was the Dominican Republic. They welcomed quite a bit more than Jamaica last year, but there they were at a stand, busy trying to attract more business for their island.”
She said members of the agency and tourism stakeholders must keep abreast of industry norms and go out to various events to attract investments and “make ourselves known because every island that has grown and that has been successful shows up at various major events.”
She said the ITB was one event that could not be missed.
“Over the three days, we had about 39 meetings...about ten, 12, sometimes 15 meetings per day, but 39 meetings over the three days. Over those three days, we held discussions with a number of different entities, (including) airlines.
“Tthe questions of connectivity and airlift to Tobago remains high on our agenda. What I’m finding out is that it takes about two to three years before you can actually get an airline to come to the island. So the conversations have to start now.
“Some arrangements may come to fruition in future, but any conversation about additional airlift to Tobago has to happen now.”
She said with Germany being a major and important tourism market, the discussions with airlines in that part of the world are critical. She said there were also quite a few discussions with tour operators.
“Despite us thinking that everything has gone digital, quite a number of people still trust tour operators to recommend and to walk them through the process of booking a vacation.”
In addition, she said, the Tobago team spoke with media and PR companies, “because representing and amplifying the brand – Tobago Beyond – is critical to our overall strategy. Nobody would come to Tobago if nobody knows where Tobago is and what it has to offer and what makes it unique.
“So conversations with PR firms and media firms are always an important part of any overseas mission.”
"Tourism agency head: Trade fair will better prepare Tobago"