Tobago, the sister island to Trinidad, is making a big pitch to boost awareness of the destination in the U.S. market with a new logo, slogan and tourism initiatives.
Avion Hercules, director of marketing for the Tobago House of Assembly, the island’s tourism arm, spoke frankly about her quest.
“We want to work with U.S. tour operators and increase our business through agents," Hercules said. "We want their feedback on their perceptions of Tobago. We have not been active in this market until now, but we have a good story to tell and sell.
"We want to expand our market share in the U.S., which is currently our fourth market, after the U.K., Scandinavia and Germany."
Tobago welcomed 400,000 air and cruise arrivals in 2013, the bulk of whom were from Europe.
Air connectivity from the U.S. has improved with Carib Airlines’ daily flight from New York Kennedy, American’s daily flights from Miami and Fort Lauderdale and JetBlue’s daily service to Trinidad from Kennedy and Fort Lauderdale (starting May 1) with an easy connection to Tobago. What this means is that U.S. visitors can now reach Tobago in a day without having to overnight in Trinidad.
The new slogan, “Live the Culture—Tobago Style” reflects what is unique about the destination, Hercules said.
“We’ve got the best piece of real estate in the region," she said. "We have 3,000 guestrooms, of which 1,500 have been inspected and approved and the rest are in the process of being upgraded. We have 25 luxury villas, shore access everywhere, year-round festivals, dive sites, wedding venues, eco-adventure programs and locals who are anxious to interact with visitors.
Tourism represents 47% of Tobago’s Gross Domestic Product and is the second highest employer on the island, after the House of Assembly.
“Tourism is so important to our economy and our sustainability. We’re focused on driving our tourism product and an awareness of it in the marketplace, especially the U.S.,” she said.