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Marketing St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Marketing St. Vincent and the Grenadines

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Marketing Unit

In 2004, the Marketing Unit engaged in several marketing and promotions initiatives regionally and internationally, while at the same time hosting travel writers and journalists through its visiting journalists and familiarization trips programmes. The following seeks to provide some indication of the work undertaken by the unit during this year, as well as some of the accomplishments of the unit.{{more}}

Media and promotional visits for 2004 included the following:

* Island life Television, Barbados

* Caribbean Media Corporation

* Voxtours German Film Product

* American Airlines in-flight video, “Exotic Destinations”

* BWIA in-flight video on Vincy Mas filmed by JCD Associates

* Caribbean Escapes collection television filmed a series that featured destination-for-viewing on the Travel Channel and on selected cable channels within the USA

* Compulsive Traveler’s Adventure – a feature on Vincy Mas – will be aired on WCBS TV in New York on January 9th, 2005 at noon. This feature is expected to reach some 23 million households. This segment was filmed by RPM Media (USA) in July 2004. There will be multiple viewings in eight major markets in June 2005.

* National Swedish Television covered a cruise by the “Clipper”

* A feature on SVG was recorded with the Minister of Tourism & Culture in November 2004 for Platinum Television’s “Pulse on America”. “Pulse on America” airs 100 times on CNN Headline News in the top 50 markets between 6 a.m. and 11:55 p.m. The show will also air once on National Geographic Channel.



Visiting journalists in 2004 included:



* Travel Weekly, USA; Gay Nagle Myers, Caribbean editor

* Caribbean Guide, UK Financial Times, website producer for Definitive Caribbean; James Henderson, travel writer

* Miami Herald, Private Island Escapes for Divers; Lorry Heverly, dive columnist

* London Sunday Times; David Wickers, editor

* Milwaukee Journal Sentinal and Milwaukee Magazine’s Bridal Issue, USA; Steve and Janine Pouliot to feature Vincy Mas and romantic destinations for honeymooners

* Modern Bride Islands and San Diego Union Tribune; Joe Yogerst, travel writer.

During the year the unit participated in several trade shows including:

ITB(Berlin) – March 12th-17th

SEA TRADE(Miami) – March 16th -18th

HABITAT C’bean (Barbados)- Apri23rd-25th

DEMA (Houston) – October 13 -16th

WTM (London)-November 8th-11th

REGIONAL CAMPAIGN

The first phase of the 2004 regional marketing campaign was launched in Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia and Trinidad between January and March. The second leg of the campaign is expected to take place later this month and will take the form of media interviews and visits to travel agencies.

To position St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a diverse, globally competitive tourism destination through effective planning, management and sustainable use of the natural and cultural resources of the country, while facilitating the preservation of the cultural heritage as a vehicle for instilling national pride and forging national identity.

Towards Better Environmental Practices

Both printed and website-based “Toolkits” provide the information necessary for small hoteliers and sites and attractions operators to improve environmental aspects of design and operations.

Environmental Walk-Throughs and Audits for Small Hotels

The Project worked with the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) in developing affordable and appropriate environmental systems for small hotels. Half-day environmental walk-throughs provided small properties expert advice on the most cost-effective ways to improve their environmental performance. The walk-throughs focused on:

· energy and water use

· wastewater disposal

· solid waste management

· purchasing practices.

A number of properties in St. Vincent and the Grenadines had environmental walk-throughs conducted on their properties under the project. Walk-throughs introduced a range of additional project services, including audits and green certification, designed to reduce operating costs, pollution and energy waste and to assist properties in meeting expectations of the marketplace.

A New, Regional Brand for Small Tourism Enterprises

As part of its STEP programme, the OAS has been developing the infrastructure and tools necessary to combine its product support programmes with marketing and finance programmes. In recognition of the difficulty small hotels and tourism enterprises have in effectively operating in the marketplace, a branding approach was developed to provide a competitive marketing mechanism for small tourism enterprise products.

CaribbeanexperiencesTM was created as a small hotels brand together with a

comprehensive rating system. The brand has been developed with input from international travel trade and small hoteliers in the Caribbean. It includes:

· Bed & Breakfasts and Guesthouses of the Caribbean

· Inns of the Caribbean (plantation, intimate)

· Resorts of the Caribbean (dive, beach, family)

· Holiday Apartments of the Caribbean

· Holiday Cottages and Cabanas of the Caribbean

· Nature Lodges of the Caribbean

STEP has now moved to expand the product services to include attractions and community tourism (ACT) products.

To facilitate participation in caribbean-experiencesTM by interested hoteliers and attractions, an investment facility is now being created to provide financing for product upgrading to meet the international standards of caribbeanexperien-cesTM. This facility, the Caribbean Tourism Investment Facility (CTIF), will include both equity and debt instruments and will be available to small hotels as well as tourism attractions.

The caribbeanexperiencesTM marketing system will package small hotels with the products offered by a wide range of small tourism enterprises from nature and cultural attractions, heritage sites, and adventure experiences to a wide variety of events and festivals.

In order to successfully market this system of small tourism enterprises, each participating property or enterprise will need to meet internationally recognized standards.

The OAS has now secured funding to launch the caribbeanexperiencesTM brand management company which will be headquartered in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. It

will target membership of about 2,000 rooms in the first two years together with selected attractions that meet market-driven international standards.

These will be packaged as part of small hotels experiences and/or independently through the caribbeanexperiencesTM web portal for purchase by customers at their origins. CaribbeanexperiencesTM will provide web-based marketing, specialty niche marketing, and agreements with specialty tour operators to deliver customers to participating properties and attractions.

STEP Walk-In Resource Centres

Walk-in Centres for small tourism enterprises have been developed and installed in each participating country. On October 4th, 2002, the STEP Resource Centre was officially opened in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and is located at the Cruise Ship Terminal.

The Centre includes a computer workstation, digital camera and scanner for web-site development, training videos, toolkits (self-help) information, occupational standards for small hotels and other resource material all for use by small tourism enterprises. The Resource Centre provides training and technical materials in hotel management operations, security, etc. for use by small hoteliers, and providing services associated with improved small hotel environmental management.

In addition to the services offered generally through the STEP Project, STEP-SVG has itself been actively involved in a number of activities that have been developed locally. These include Customer Care Management Training and training in Customer Service for Frontline Personnel in the local tourism sector, and a weekly radio programme, “Be My Guest”, which is broadcast every Tuesday at 9:35 a.m. on NBC Radio. Stephanie Adams serves as the local STEP co-ordinator, and she is supported by Vera Ann Brereton whose services are provided through Netcorps Americas.

STEP participating countries include:

Antigua & Barbuda

Jamaica

Bahamas

St. Kitts & Nevis

Barbados

St. Lucia

Belize

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Dominica

Suriname

Grenada

Trinidad & Tobago

Guyana

Dominican Republic (observer status only)

The local STEP Resource Centre is located at the Cruise Ship Terminal. Please call 456-1111 ext. 103 for further information.



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