The Ministry of Tourism is placing a focus on pursuing lucrative niche markets in hopes of creating a recession-proof approach to developing the island’s tourism sector.
That is according to the sales and marketing manager of the Tourism Office in Canada, Erica Henry-Jackman, who said they are now targeting a number of new markets to support such an approach.
“The three really major items on our calendar are: really looking at family travel, really looking at the sexiness of our destination (wedding tourism) and then the fun lifestyle, that excitement and what’s new and what’s viral,” Henry Jackman said.
The tourism official said the aim is not only to target market segments that show resilience in times of economic depression but also those that offer the highest return.
“These are markets that we traditionally haven’t looked at but we have a mandate from the prime minister and minister of tourism in terms of looking at niche markets we can tap into and really fulfilling the highest potential,” Henry Jackman said.
The ‘sexiness of the destination’ or promoting the twin-island state as a prime wedding destination is among the main objectives of Henry Jackman’s office.
“We know one thing for sure in this economy, it doesn’t matter how bad things get, brides will get married and they want the wedding that they want, how they want it and when they want it and the wedding is the only thing that is truly recession-proof,” Henry Jackman said.
The marketing professional explained that such wedding tourism also has long-term benefits because research shows that 87 per cent of couples who get married in a destination return at a later date.
Henry Jackman also hinted that the office is hoping to stage a powerboat poker run in the island. It’s an event in which boats are required to visit between five and seven checkpoints, drawing a card at each one with the aim of having the best card at the completion.
She explained that such events attract the very well off who generally have money to spend, even during the toughest economic times. Other efforts Henry Jackman mentioned included attracting fishing and children’s channels to the country.
The Canada-based tourism official also wants to pull off a number of marketing promotions that will involve visitors in hopes of encouraging them to develop promotional content that can go viral (be shared rapidly across the Internet).
“It’s priority for the Ministry of Tourism (viral marketing) because that is advertising that we can’t afford to pay for, and it’s a more authentic message when you have people who have actually experienced it talking about it,” Henry Jackman said.