More exposure for Bim

Barbados now has over 100 additional avenues through which the tourism product will potentially be marketed in the Britain. This after over 100 travel agents from that market took part in the Gimme Five And Fly promotion that saw them travelling to the island, experiencing and learning about the tourism product.

Yesterday, the group, who came via British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, converged at the Concorde Experience where they interacted with about 75 operators from various hotels, attractions and other tourism services during a business-to-business session.

Digital marketing executive with Hayes & Jarvis, Andrew Hogan, told Barbados TODAY he believed the Gimme Five And Fly was an excellent way to market the island.

“We are used to doing hotel tours, but this gives us a greater range to see more people and things we wouldn’t see on a day trip . . . . This is a great promotion and a great chance to get hands-on with the hotel [operators] and speak to the experts here who know the island inside out,” he said, adding that it was “quite a surprise” to see the number of Barbados’ offerings.

“I think the biggest surprise is the range. In Barbados you can really cater for everyone and anyone. So I think it is about bringing that message back to the UK and making sure it is seen as the destination of choice, no matter what budget, who you are, or what your group size is,” added Hogan.

Yvonne Joseph, of SN Travel, said the experience would allow her to “sell Barbados a lot better”.

“It does help a lot because you can offer it a lot more. The experience I have had here I will go back and tell my clients back home, ‘Why not go to Barbados?’,” she said.

Joseph, who has been to the island three times before and done tours in other Caribbean islands, said Barbados was an “easy to sell product”.

“Because the people are so friendly and you get a warm welcome, it makes a big difference,” she added.

Over the past week, the travel agents have been soaking up Barbadian entertainment and food, enjoying various attractions and learning more about the country. In order to take part in the promotion, agents had to sell five or more packages to the island.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the business-to-business session, executive vice-president of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA), Sue Springer, said most of the agents were surprised at the range of attractions, accommodation, dining and entertainment options the island had to offer. She said, however, there was a suggestion that some of the products were “looking a bit tired” and needed upgrading.

“We know [that] and, hopefully, when we obtain the full concessions as promised by the Government, then we can make sure that people who are trying to make more money can now reinvest capital into improving the product and then, I think, we will be on a better path,” said Springer.

Marketing officer of Atlantis Submarines Barbados, Wayne Scott, said while he was sure the agents were good at selling accommodations, he was building relationships with the agents to get them to focus more on attractions. He said a part of the problem in the past was the omission of attractions from their promotions.

“I find going forward they are starting to pay more attention to it, and they are adding attractions into packages. So once that trend continues, we will definitely reap the benefits of that,” said Scott.

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