ANTIGUA & BARBUDA WINS 3 MAJOR TOURISM MEDIA AWARDS
Tuesday 2nd November 2010
Canada Media Awards (L:R) Neil Forrester, Erica Henry-Jackman, Colin C. James)
Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Officials have just concluded another successful showcasing of the destination at a weeklong celebration of the sights, sounds, culture and unique vacation experience of the region, held in Toronto from October 23rd to 29th. The delegation led by CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin C. James, included the country’s Head of Tourism for Canada Ms Erica Henry Jackman, Stanley Chambers from the USA office and General Manager of the Antigua Hotel and Tourist Association Neil Forrester. The team conducted vital meetings and negotiations with one of Canada’s largest online tour operator, ITravel 2000 and other airline partners.
According to ITravel 2000 executives, who are the Canadian equivalent to the USA Expedia.com, they have already seen an 11% increase in booking just two weeks after the launch of Antigua & Barbuda in an exclusive cooperative online marketing program with the destination. A major training program of the company’s 200 call center agents is planned for 16th November in its first ever “Antigua & Barbuda day.” This training will be conducted by the Canadian Tourist office and participating Canada based hotel reps for our local properties.
The tourism team also made a presentation to senior West Jet Executives in Calgary, in making the case for additional airlift from Canada into the destination. They were assured that Antigua and Barbuda was definitely on the radar of Canada’s fastest growing airline as they seek to expand their reach in the Caribbean.
The team also joined the staff from the destination’s tourist office in participating in the week of activities which included a Travel Agent day where top selling Toronto Travel agents were informed of the latest developments concerning the destination and were particularly thrilled to hear that for the first time ever Air Canada will have direct flights from Montreal starting January. This increases the total Air Canada flights for the destination to 4 flights per week for this winter season. This increase is in addition to the twice weekly Air Transat charter flights from Toronto and Montreal which will resume this winter season.
CEO James said “I am particularly pleased with the hard work and grateful for the contribution of our Canadian team led by Ms Henry-Jackman who has been providing solid support to the Tourism Authority and the destination. This is clearly evident by the results that we are seeing. Tourism arrivals at the end of last winter season grew by 97% from Canada with the introduction of the charter flights. This additional airlift from Air Canada will support the marketing effort in our objective to drive visitor arrivals from this vital source market which holds such huge potential for the destination”.
The proud moment for the Country’s Tourism team was at the CTO Media awards event to honour and recognize members of the Canadian media who have produced exceptional pieces to promote the region in Canada. Antigua and Barbuda edged out a strong slate of nominations to capture 3 of the 6 awards in the following Categories.
Best Feature Article in a Trade Publication - Josephine Matyas “Island I Dos – Weddings & Honeymoons on Antigua” in Dreamscapes
Best Feature Article in a Consumer Magazine - Josephine Matyas
"Hidden Travel Gems Antigua and Barbuda” in Canadian Traveller
Best Photograph in Conjunction with a Feature Article - Josephine Matyas
“Hidden Travel Gems Antigua and Barbuda”
Head of the Country’s tourism office in Canada Erica Henry-Jackman commented “In such a competitive market it is indeed a privilege to see our destination recognized and awarded for our unique features. Our intention this season is to ensure that more Canadians will experience the hidden gems of Antigua and Barbuda as we have increased our non-stop air service into Antigua”.
The week also highlighted the contribution of the Canadian Caribbean Diaspora under the theme “Our Future, Our Youth” where eleven year old Benjamin McDonald a Canadian of Caribbean descent was judged the winner of a national children’s essay competition on the region, and won a prize trip for two to Antigua & Barbuda.
The Tourism delegation granted several TV and radio interviews promoting Antigua and Barbuda via several Canadian media organizations such as Global TV, Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Caribbean Headline News, Travel Hot News, Canoe.ca and Totem /Aeroplan.
This year’s CTO Canada week activities climaxed with a rum and Rhythm event, a true celebration of Caribbean culture. Antigua and Barbuda’s stand served up a sumptuous pumpkin and ginger soup creation which had patrons coming back time and again for seconds. It definitely proved the point that Canadian visitors are trying out what the destination is serving up in increasing numbers and once they get an initial taste of Antigua and Barbuda, they become hooked and always return for more.