A Caribbean vibe with French flair, sister islands, Guadeloupe and Martinique, invited local agents, partners and guests to the French Caribbean Sensations show in Toronto last night at Hotel X, reports PressToday’s Ashley Rochefort.
Celebrating two islands in one room, the tourist boards, along with suppliers like Club Med, Air Canada, Air Canada Vacations, and cruising partners were on hand to provide information to agents about these destinations that are growing in popularity.
The CEO of the Martinique Tourism Authority, Francois Baltus Languedoc, travelled from Martinique just to meet the agents in Toronto and tell them what makes Martinique so special.
He describes it as a worry-free destination – safe, solid infrastructure, and European level health care. But the Isle of Flowers is really a cultural destination.
“It’s not just the beautiful beaches, palm trees, and nature, we have a lot of culture to share too,” explained Francois. “A thriving arts scene, incredible architecture, gastronomy, and the best rum in the world are really the elements that make us different.”
Part of the mission in visiting Canada was to push Air Canada for direct flights from Toronto to Martinique and Guadeloupe.
The Canadian market is growing with Air Canada and Air Transat, combined, adding 11,000 more seats in 2020. Currently, Ontarians must catch a very early connecting flight through Montreal.
Francois is hoping that will change in the next year or two, “we know already that Ontario is the second largest market in Canada for Martinique, so it does make sense that we get a direct flight because there is a huge potential in Ontario.”
Travel agents in attendance echoed the idea that a direct flight from Toronto would help them sell the destinations.
“There are still a few people who say they’ve been to the other islands and I want to try something different, but flying is the issue because people from Toronto, no surprise, want a direct flight,” said Michelle Green, Travel Designer, Travel Edge.
“They’re both beautiful islands, a little more laid-back and not as commercialized as other Caribbean destinations, and I think a direct flight would make a big impact on clients travelling there,” she told Press Today.
Guadeloupe has an ambitious goal of increasing Canadian visitors in 2020. “Right now we have 29,000 passengers from Montreal to Guadeloupe,” said Patricia Azor, director, Tourism Authority of the Islands of Guadeloupe. “But we want to see a 20% increase within the next year and industry event like this one will help us reach that goal.”
For agents interested in selling Martinique and Guadeloupe, ACV is offering two times the ACV & ME rewards points on any new package bookings made to Martinique and Guadeloupe between Feb. 12-28 for travel through April 30.
In the photos
Francois Baltus Languedoc, CEO, Martinique Tourism Authority; Muriel Wiltord, Director of Americas, Martinique Tourism Authority; Ingrid Labeau, Coordinator, Martinique Tourism Authority; Deborah Coffre, Representative, Tourism Authority of the Islands of Guadeloupe; Dimitri Derigent, Martinique Tourism Authority; Patricia Azor, Director, Tourism Authority of the Islands of Guadeloupe.
Michelle Green, Travel Designer, Travel Edge enjoys the festive event including an island-inspired dinner menu, rum punch, photo ops, upbeat musical performance, a pop quiz, and prize draw.