Tourism Officials Update Stakeholders

Audience at Tourism Marketing Forum

Audience at Tourism Marketing Forum

Tourism Officials Update Stakeholders and Outline How to Participate

Basseterre, St. Kitts (May 14th, 2012)

St. Kitts tourism stakeholders have expressed approval and optimism for destination marketing efforts following the annual marketing forum held May 1st and 2nd at the Marriott Resort in Frigate Bay, St. Kitts. The annual event brings together a mix of tourism sector individuals and institutions to review results and to make input into the strategic plan for marketing the destination in the year ahead.

Tourism stakeholders including hoteliers and a variety of service providers turned out in impressive numbers, demonstrating their commitment to improving and growing St. Kitts’ tourism industry. The forum was opened with a welcome address by Senator Ricky Skerritt, Minister of Tourism & International Transport, who emphasized key public policy initiatives and the need for the public and private sector stakeholders to develop stronger partnerships in order for the destination marketing strategy to more effectively meet the demands of today’s value-driven consumers in an increasingly competitive global market.

Mrs. Rosecita Jeffers, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, also emphasized the importance of the forum’s ‘partnership’ theme and said, “In order for St. Kitts to grow and thrive as a business and leisure travel destination, it is imperative that we cultivate a tourism marketing strategy that is based on effective partnership – partnership not only with our contracted agencies and representatives but, just as importantly, amongst all of our local stakeholders.”

Overseas and locally based St. Kitts Tourism Authority officers and agents each presented updates on various market segment responsibilities, including the dive, weddings and other group niches, and examined the results of agent and operator productivity. The introduction of a new Destination Specialist program for travel agents was also discussed. Presenters focused on providing private sector stakeholders with specific ways in which they could participate in various marketing activities, from submitting information for the island’s e-newsletters to providing brochures for trade and consumer shows. Presentations even took place during lunch, which was sponsored by long-time advertising partner Bridal Guide magazine. Attendees were also briefed on the destination’s digital marketing program, advertising and website by creative consultants ‘Tambourine’, and public relations consultants, ‘Adams Unlimited’, facilitated discussion on key social media initiatives as well as the results of the most recent exit surveys conducted at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport, offering concrete insight into actual visitor demographics and feedback from destination experiences.

In addition to the presentations, attendees were offered the option of taking part in one of two workshops, one designed to teach the essentials of how to use Twitter and the other to educate stakeholders about various sales tactics. Later in the week, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority officers and consultants were treated to site tours of Kittitian Hill and Christophe Harbour to provide them with first-hand knowledge to use in promoting the destination. Officers and consultants were also allotted time to arrange and conduct one-on-one meetings with stakeholders before leaving the island.

On February 9, 2012, St. Kitts was named one of “5 Caribbean Islands to Discover Now” by MSNBC. It was also named one of the “Top 12 Spots that should be on your list for 2012” by Caribbean Travel + Life magazine and the island’s Brimstone Hill Fortress was named one of “10 Great Places To Explore The World’s Best-Kept Secrets” by USA Today. In summer 2011, the destination also ranked #1 on a list of the 16 Best Caribbean Vacations by US News & World Report. Last year, St. Kitts was named a top destination for 2011 by both AOL Travel and British Airways.

Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history. The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean, and more traditional vacation pastimes such as watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on one of the island’s sandy beaches. Accommodations range from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels and resorts.

For more information about St. Kitts, please contact the St. Kitts Tourism Authority toll free from the US at 1-800-582-6208 or from Canada 1-888-395-4887, e-mail info@stkittstourism.kn, visit www.stkittstourism.kn, or connect on Facebook, Twitter and/or YouTube.