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Travel Buzz: Tobago receives over 400,000 visitors in 2013!

Travel Buzz: Tobago receives over 400,000 visitors in 2013!

Posted by Shanelle Weir on April 11, 2014

Tobago received 400,000 visitors in 2013, a senior Tobago House of Assembly (THA) official said in a release issued from New York yesterday. According to the latest available statistics from the Central Statistical Office (CSO) via the Tourism Development Company (TDC) website, stopover tourist arrivals to both Trinidad and Tobago totalled 387,559 in 2010.

"Tobago welcomed 400,000 air and cruise arrivals in 2013, the bulk of whom were from Europe," the release from New York-based PM Group quoted THA marketing director Avion Hercules as saying.

Hercules is in New York to "blitz" that city's media and meet with travel agents. The release said: "Avion Hercules, director of marketing for the Tobago House of Assembly, the island's tourism arm, blitzed New York City meeting with the media and with travel agents in her first effort to promote this highly regarded eco-tourism destination."

The release began: "Tobago, the smaller half (sic) of Trinidad and Tobago, the 116 square mile island is introducing herself to the US travel market and making an outreach to boost awareness of the destination with a new logo, slogan and tourism initiatives."

In a series of interviews (media unnamed in the release) Hercules said: "We want to work with US tour operators and increase our business through agents." She went on "to explain that in this initial phase of Tobago's market outreach in North America her purpose was exploratory."

She said: "We want the feedback from both tour operators and travel agents 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."

The release said: "The new slogan 'Live the Culture, Tobago Style' is a reflection of the island's quirky, rather British charm and is a reflection of what is unique about the island. This is where you will find laid-back life in classic Caribbean style that is far off the beaten track. Unlike neighbouring islands with their brand name all-inclusive resorts, here you may head to the beautiful, secluded coves of the north coast and the unspoiled eastern side of the island, where you will find its award winning tropical rain forest that has been a protected park since 1776,1950s chemists' shops in Scarborough and iced-coconut stands around the island. This is where you leave the crowds and carnivals behind in favour of tree-house restaurants and champagne at sunset."

Hercules was said to have "shared that Tobago welcomed 400,000 air and cruise arrivals in 2013, the bulk of whom were from Europe." However, air connectivity from the US has improved with Caribbean Airlines' daily flight from New York's, JFK airport, and American Airlines's daily flights from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the release said. "What this means is that US visitors can now reach Tobago in a day without having to overnight in Trinidad," it said. Virgin Atlantic pulled the London-Tobago route at the end of March.

"Tourism is so important to our economy and our sustainability we are focused on driving our tourism product and an awareness of it in the marketplace, especially the US," Hercules said.

"Tobago is a multi-ethnic racial and multi-religious society where the races co-exist in harmony and celebrate the nation's rich cosmopolitan heritage. This is an island of year-round festivals, dive sites, wedding venues, eco-adventure programmes and locals who are anxious to interact with visitors," 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, (and) shore access everywhere."

Tourism represents 47 per cent of Tobago's gross domestic product, and is the second highest employer on the island after the government.

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