STAKEHOLDERS EXAMINE ANGUILLA’S TOURISM PRODUCT

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By admin September 9, 2011 09:04

STAKEHOLDERS EXAMINE ANGUILLA’S TOURISM PRODUCT

Aware of the declining tourist arrivals and an obvious need to sharpen and re-focus Anguilla’s marketing strategies to attract a greater share of the market, stakeholders in the industry have met to put their heads together to arrive at a number of ways to address the situation.

Industry partners and others at Tourism Forum
Industry partners and others at Tourism Forum

The forum, at Paradise Cove Resort on Friday, September 2, was attended by public and private sector representatives drawn from the Ministry of Tourism, the Hotel and Tourism Association, the Tourist Board, hoteliers and others.

 

Industry partners and others at Tourism Forum
Industry partners and others at Tourism Forum

President of the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association, Sherille Hughes, made reference to three areas of concern. The first was access to Anguilla (which has worsened since the departure of American Eagle) and the dependence on neighbouring St. Maarten as a main hub. The second concern was Anguilla’s drop in overall occupancy level from 45 percent to 35 percent, a matter of much worry to industry partners. The third negative matter was operational costs associated with such Government-imposed taxes as the Communication Levy, the Interim Stabilisation Levy and the Environmental Levy, the latter resulting in increased electricity rates. Mrs. Hughes made the point that due to these costs hotel operators were obliged to reduce their accommodation and other prices to tourists who, despite the difficult financial situation, were still expecting certain bargains.

 

Industry partners and others at Tourism Forum
Industry partners and others at Tourism Forum

Other main private-sector speakers at the forum were Vice President of the Hotel Association, Delroy Lake; Frankie Hughes, proprietor of Paradise Cove Resort; and Jeff David, General Manager of Viceroy Anguilla, which reportedly has been doing well in terms of marketing and visitors.

 

Industry partners and others at Tourism Forum
Industry partners and others at Tourism Forum

Parliamentary Secretary, Tourism, Hadyn Hughes, suggested that there was need to revisit the work of the various longstanding travel agents and travel writers some of whom he thought may have outlived their effectiveness. He called for their replacement by new appointees and more vigorous marketing efforts to attract a greater number of visitors to Anguilla.

Mr. Hughes spoke of the Ministry of Tourism’s endeavours to establish Anguilla as a tourism destination in the South American and Canadian markets. In this context, Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Courtney Devonish, spoke about a decision taken to advertise Anguilla in the classified section of a leading Canadian newspaper costing in the region of Can.$400 per insertion. It was pointed out at the forum that the tourism budget for Anguilla was only EC$8.5 million covering both marketing and administrative costs, suggesting that there was a need for more funding mainly for marketing.

Executive Director of the Hotel and Tourism Association, Gilda Gumbs-Samuel, made a strong appeal for all stakeholders to work together. She was of the firm view that the travel agents and travel writers were continuing to do a good job for Anguilla and, consequently, there was no need to consider their replacement. She got much support for this from a number of other persons.

Among some of the ideaswhich the forum came up with were more creative ways of marketing including establishing markets in a number of other American states where little or nothing is known about Anguilla; marketing Anguilla within the Caribbean region as well; rebranding and repositioning the island as a tourist destination; andfurther promotion of boat-racing, sports and health tourism and entertainment. It was further proposed that there was a need for improvements at the Blowing Point Passenger Terminal and the Clayton Lloyd Airport as well as for the further training of Immigration and Customs personnel who are the keepers of the gateway to Anguilla.

It is likely that the stakeholders will meet again later for follow-up discussions and further action.

 

admin
By admin September 9, 2011 09:04

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