MIAMI -- Regional
marketing, often a discussion topic when officials from two or more
Caribbean islands convene, reappeared when representatives from six
Leeward Islands destinations said they plan to launch a subregional
marketing and promotional association.
St. Barts, St. Eustatius, St. Martin and St. Maarten have six
different experiences for visitors, but we are joining together to
reposition ourselves as one destination for marketing purposes,
said Regina LaBega, director of tourism for St. Maarten.
promotions will include details on day trips to neighboring
islands, information on how to travel between the destinations and
vacation packages that will com- bine two or more
In a presentation
before tour operators and airlines serving the region,
representatives from each of the six destinations outlined basic
information for each island, including visitor statistics and
resort and airlift developments.
association will not launch until mid-2005, island representatives
already have begun amassing feedback from partners to help with
promotion and funding.
director of the Office of Tourism for St. Martin, said that
partners from the public and private
sectors will provide funding.
We are seeking
external funding next year from our various governments, Davis
said. Although each island will continue its own marketing and
tourism efforts, the new subregional association will be a separate
organization to help increase our presence and enhance the Leeward
Islands subregion as a whole.
The six islands
already have agreed to a percentage of funding that will come from
each island, based on visitor arrival figures for 2003.
attending the session seemed to be enthusiastic about the new
director of Caribbean marketing for Gogo Worldwide Vacations,
echoed the views of his colleagues when he said he was keen to see
what this new association translates into, especially for
attendees included the bundling of ferry tickets for day trips,
especially from St. Martin/St. Maarten, to make interisland travel
easier for visitors.
requested that hotel contracts for the high season and future rates
be received well in advance of the season startup.
We tend to get
them late, and it makes it harder to promote and sell the
properties, said Laura Veglia, regional director of market
management for Expedia.com.
president of the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association,
said, We will start with the bundling of packages for interisland
travel, combining a stay on two or more islands during the same
trip. Ease of ferry and air travel within the region also should be
an important component of our overall promotion.
Lee said that
none of our products are competitive.
together, we can enhance the visitor experience in new ways. We
will have more of an impact as a subregion than as a single
destination. Thats the impetus behind all this, said
Although a formal
name has not been selected, the group will have its own Web site,
in addition to the individual island sites now in operation, as
well as a group coordinator.
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to[email protected].