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The need to know from World Travel Market 2019

by Jessica Pook | 07 November 2019

The travel industry descended on London's ExCel Centre for the 40th World Travel Market (November 4-6). The Selling Travel team put on their pedometers and visited the stands to discover the latest trade news. 

Barbados

The Barbados Tourist Board is encouraging Barbadians across the world to return home in 2020 with an island-wide ‘We Gathering’ initiative. Barbadians ‘by birth marriage or by choice’ will be able to reconnect with family and friends and help to stimulate the economy with the grand coming together. With an estimated 50% of the population living outside of the island, the country is expecting a boost in visitor figures. As part of the initiative, each month one of the 11 parishes’ will have the opportunity to welcome home residents. Themed holiday packages will also reflect the campaign throughout 2020.

 

Caribbean

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) will retain one member of staff when it closes its UK office in the new year, said Dominic Fedee, the CTO Chair and Minister of Tourism for St. Lucia. 

He added that the CTO will also consider appointing UK representation for 'big campaigns'.

The closure of the Croydon office, planned for January 21, will allow the CTO to refocus its efforts on television, advertising and digital campaigns, particularly in its biggest inbound tourism market, the U.S.

Promoting the regions smaller islands would be a focus moving forward, Fedee said.

In the U.S. the CTO will continue to host its popular annual Caribbean Week, a concept that would be considered for the UK in the future, he added. 

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands saw a 20% increase in visitors from the UK and Ireland in September, compared to 2018. TThe destination is focusing on food tourism and has released a culinary guide. Award-winning UK Chef Clare Smyth will be participating in the Cayman Cookout from January 15-19, 2020.

Chile

The South American country is looking to capitalise on San Pedro de Atacama winning the 'most romantic destination' at the World Travel Awards, as well as trying to encourage travellers to visit the country during its shoulder seasons.

Christobel Munoz Gayani, Chile’s Market Manager Europe, said: “From mid-March to May and September to November, there are less people so it’s a great time to visit. Visitors can also enjoy the beautiful colours of the changing leaves in autumn.”

Munoz Gayani also highlighted up-and-coming regions including the Elqui Valley for wellness, star-gazing and wine, and Arica for Lauca National Park and the chance to see volcanoes and other natural attractions.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has highlighted four sectors within its National Decarbonisation Plan to achieve emission-free status by 2050. The country will focus on transport and sustainable mobility; energy, green building and industry; integrated waste management; and agriculture, land use change and nature-based solutions to achieve the zero emission target.

Wellness and nature continue to be key focuses for 2020. Costa Rica considers itself a key bird-watching destination with the chance to see over 900 species across its National Bird Route. In terms of its wellness offering, the tourist board is working even more closely with Costa Rican hoteliers and local communities to help develop wellness techniques with a ‘Tico twist’ (Tico being the informal word for Costa Rican); incorporating elements such as activities, sports, organic food and local community outreach.

Fiji

The Pacific Island nation saw its biggest-ever increase in visitors as of this September, with arrivals up 26%.

Jane West, Regional Manager UK and Europe, said that the positive growth could be put down to the publicity following the royal visit, Fiji Airways’ partnership with British Airways and the success of its ‘Bulanaires’ marketing campaign,  which was launched on the International Day of Happiness this March and highlighted Fiji’s happy culture.

Looking ahead, West said that Finnair’s new Fiji flights from London via Helsinki will generate more growth and there are plenty of new products for agents to sell.

“We’ll be highlighting barefoot island experiences in the Yasawa Islands.” West said. “This region is going through a renaissance, with many of the backpacker resorts upgrading to offer great value three-star experiences.”

She added: “Fiji is focused on offering more local, experiential activities, such as visiting sugar cane farms or fruit tasting with local farmers.”

Guernsey

The channel island unveiled its new look at WTM – with a rebrand to ‘The Islands of Guernsey’ to showcase all five of its islands – Guernsey, Herm, Sark, Alderney and Lihou and a strapline – ‘that island feeling’  - to encapsulate the unhurried and un-crowded atmosphere that visitors can expect.

A new trade website will launch in the new year which will give agents access to marketing collateral which they can tailor to their own brand.

The destination’s 2020 strategy is to concentrate on its core market of more mature travellers but to target sectors within this which they have identified as fun loving families (aged 40-55), affluent adventurers (40-65) and traditional retirees (sixty-plus).

Next year will mark 75 years since the islands were liberated from Nazi occupation and Heritage75 will see 75 events staged throughout the year - making 2020 a strong year for agents to be selling Guernsey.

Six new routes launched to Guernsey this year: from Heathrow, Southend, Newquay, Liverpool, Bournemouth and Edinburgh; Newcastle is set to start flying to Guernsey next year.

Ireland

Ireland’s two tourist boards jointly launched a new destination brand that will be used to promote Northern Ireland to a British audience.

Designed to transform perceptions of the country, Embrace a Giant Spirit, a collaboration between Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland, showcases 23 ‘authentic experiences’ that will be promoted to both the travel trade and, from spring 2020, consumers.

The experiences includes traditional music trails in Belfast, watching sheepdogs at work in Londonderry, whiskey-tasting on the Antrim Coast and kayaking on Strangford Lough, an area of outstanding natural beauty that is peppered with small islands and natural trust properties.

Julie Wakley, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Great Britain, said travel agents would be invited on a series of fam trips next year.

Jamaica

Jamaica is highlighting its music in its latest campaign, Heartbeat of the world. The campaign, with nods to its influential music legacy, is due to launch in January and will aim to encourage visitors to ‘feel the rhythm, the beat and the pulse of life’ . Visitors will be urged to discover the birthplace of reggae and cultural diversity that the island has to offer.

Journey Beyond

Tapping into the ‘slow travel’ trend predicted for 2020, Australian specialist Journey Beyond will launch its Great Southern rail journey, linking Adelaide to Brisbane, on December 6, The inaugural season will run from the start of December until the end of January, with 16 departures available to book. Agents can also book a Reefsuites experience, which offers guests the chance to stay in an underwater accommodation with panoramic aquatic views.

Las Vegas

Gambling has now fallen to seventh place in the top 10 things to do in the city, according the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA).

The tourism body said that shows, including Shania Twain and Lady Gaga, gastronomic attractions such as Gordon Ramsey’s five restaurants,and outdoor adventures like kayaking and hiking in the Grand Canyon are all outstripping the casinos and slot machines as reasons to visit the Nevada city.

The popularity of sports are also on the up in the city. The Las Vegas Raiders football stadium will open in 2020 and will also serve as a much-needed venue for large concerts. Las Vegas also has an ice hockey team and a basketball team coming soon.

Malta

The latest inbound tourism stats show that younger visitors to Malta are on the up, with 0-24 year-olds up 27% and older travellers in decline, with 65-plus year-olds down 14%.

Next year the Mediterranean island wants to focus on wellness tourism, with the Malta Tourism Authority looking to highlight its outdoor activities along with locally sourced healthy food, and its first stand-out spa which will open in March at the Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa. The spa is expected to be on par with the facility at its sister hotel in London.

The MTA also wants to highlight its experiential gastronomy product, including tours of local vineyards with wine makers and the chance to meet beekeepers and other local producers.

Olympic Holidays

The tour operator aims to be a global island specialist by 2022.  

Clare Tobin, Olympic’s CEO, said: “Island hopping has gone from strength to strength so we have decided to launch a dedicated new brochure which will be out this month.”

Tobin said differentiation is key and that customers no longer want to just fly and flop but to explore and discover.

There will also be an interactive website to support the brochure, which will allow agents to mix and match islands, including new additions like Andros, Karpathos and Spetses.

Olympic is also investing in technology by improving its app which Tobin said will be “the future of in-resort communication.”

Currently, Olympic serves over 55 islands from 27 regional airports.

Other new destinations for the operator include the Balearic islands, Malta, Turkey and Egypt.

Ontario, Canada

As of March 29, 2020, Air Canada will begin operating its Heathrow-Ottawa route with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which will increase capacity by 20%.

The province will also accommodate a wealth of new luxury hotels including a 13-story Ace Hotel in early 2020, located in Toronto’s Fashion District. Toronto’s Park Hyatt is due to re-open in summer 2020 following a two-years renovation, ad the city’s first W Hotel from Marriott International will also open in summer 2020 in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood.

 

Thailand

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is planning an Amazing Thailand Week in May 2020. 

The campaign, which will raise awareness of the destination, will see TAT working with trade partners, airlines and restaurants across the UK.

TAT has four aims for its marketing in 2020: ‘Go high’, meaning to target luxury and niche markets like wellness and gastronomy; ‘go low’, which aims to generate more visitors in Thailand’s shoulder seasons such as May, June, September and October; ‘go local’ which will help the trade to promote lesser known destinations and local experiences such as home stays; and ‘go digital’ which will see its fanclubthailand.co.uk site offering richer and more diverse digital content for trade partners to use and share.

Vilnius

Vilnius is hoping to attract a larger share of the city break market from UK travellers by promoting its cultural and gastronomy scenes.

The Lithuanian capital has a packed events calendar throughout the year, including its Christmas markets and midsummer Culture Night when dancers, musicians, actors and artists take to the streets. There is also a new Modern Art Museum.

Inga Romanovskienė, Director of Go Vilnius, said: “Many people don’t know much about Vilnius but it exceeds expectations. The culinary scene is strong, with restaurants using local ingredients in a minimalist way, much like Nordic cuisine. There are also lots of produce markets to visit, great coffee and a popular brunch scene.

The tourism board is also promoting the neighbouring town of Trakai, which is easy to add to Vilnius break and home to a 14th-century fortress which sits on Lake Galvė.

West Virginia

West Virginia, which now has representation in the UK through Travel and Tourism Marketing (TTM), wants to communicate its USPs to the UK trade - notably its vast natural areas with a host of outdoor recreation options, small towns and luxury product.

The state is the third-most forested in the U.S and home to six nationals parks, Monongahela National Forest, covering nearly a million acres, and 45 state parks and forests. 

Outdoor activities include hiking, mountain biking, more than 700 miles of ATV off-roading trails, white-water rafting, horse-riding, fishing and winter sports.

Luxury options come in the form of small boutique properties all the way up to The Greenbriar, a resort destination that has been a National Historic Landmark since 1778. Over the years, The Greenbriar has welcomed 27 presidents.

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