20 CANADIAN TRAVEL AGENTS VISIT ANTIGUAMonday 26th November 2012
As the most recent addition to airlift into Antigua & Barbuda, WestJet Airlines through its subsidiary WestJet Vacations recently introduced 20 of its leading Canadian-based travel agents to the Antigua Tourism Market through a Familiarization (FAM) Trip.
The WestJet Travel Agent FAM took place this past Sunday, November 18 - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 and was a collaborative effort between the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority, WestJet Vacations, and the Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association (AHTA). The twenty agents, accompanied by two WestJet representatives, were introduced to the destination product over three days.
The visit included site inspections to 8 of WestJet Vacations partner hotels, resort dinners, and island excursions. The agents also got the opportunity to view the destination from the sea with a circumnavigation trip onboard the 'Excellence' by Tropical Adventures. The objective of the trip was to showcase the destination and the hotel properties to the agents to better enable them to sell the tourism destination to their clientele.
The visiting agents sell vacations throughout the entire operations of WestJet, which covers both the East and West Coasts of Canada.
Director of Tourism of the ABTA in Canada Erica Henry-Jackman sees trips of this nature as essential to the sustainability of the new WestJet service.
She commented, "It is only through getting to know a product that persons can truly make a compelling sales pitch about it, so trips of this nature, along with consistent travel agent training sessions in Canada help to ensure agents are kept up to date with the Antigua and Barbuda tourism product."
Marketing Manager for the local ABTA office, Mrs. Charmaine Spencer met with the agents while they visited the island and commented, "The destination received very positive feedback and reviews from the Canadian agents. For most of the agents it was their first time visiting the island and they all loved various aspects of the product; especially mentioning the friendliness
and hospitality of the people, the options in hotel properties, the great tasting food and the natural beauty and landscape of the island."
The agents welcomed the exposure to the destination and noted, "that the experience really does help them to explain what a vacation experience to Antigua is really like".
CEO of the ABTA, Colin James understands the importance of sustaining the new WestJet service. WestJet adds over 7,000 seats to the Toronto - Antigua market this tourist season alone. He noted, "The work has begun to ensure that we capitalize on this new service aiming to attain maximum capacity on this route. We see WestJet Vacations and their partner hotels as partners in achieving this goal, so we continue to work together co-coordinating our marketing efforts and activities to drive sales and tourist arrivals to the destination."
WestJet flies more than 420 flights daily across Canada, the Americas and the Caribbean utilizing its fleet of 98 Boeing 737 Aircraft. WestJet Flight 2555 departs Toronto at 9:30am and arrives in Antigua at 3:02pm. The return, WestJet Flight 2556 departs Antigua at 4:05pm and arrives in Toronto at 8:27pm every Sunday and Wednesday.
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