St. Martin Tourism office in Colombia

St. Martin Tourism  office in Colombia

St. Martin Tourism Office Communications Officer Sacha Bresse in cooperation with tour operator CIC Travel organised a training for 60 invited travel agents from Medellin and Barranquilla to familiarise them with St. Martin/Sint Maarten.

MARIGOT--Following Brazil, St. Martin Tourism Office carried out numerous promotional activities in Colombia, the second most populous country in South America, from February 20 to March 2. The destination was given visibility at the Vitrina Turistica ANATO trade fair and presented to travel agencies and wholesalers during a major promotional tour.

  With a population of 51 million, Colombia is a dynamic economic and demographic country with great potential. South America is already a very promising tourist market for St. Martin/St. Maarten, as the destination is well established in Brazilian travel catalogues. Colombia, on the other hand, is a more recent market that the Tourism Office would like to develop, given the possibilities offered by Copa Airlines since the resumption of Panama (PTY) to SXM rotations.

  To position its offer and gain visibility in the Colombian market, the Tourism Office ensured its presence at the most important tourist event in the country: the Vitrina Turistica Tradeshow, organised by the Colombian Association of Tourist and Travel Agencies (ANATO) in Bogota.

  More than 1,000 exhibitors and nearly 30,000 professional visitors met in an exhibition area of 13,000m2 February 22-24, where St. Martin had set up a nicely-decorated stand. Promotion of the island of 37 beaches was carried out by Tourism Office Communication Officer Sacha Bresse, with the support of Aviareps, the agency representing St. Martin in Colombia.

  Thirty meetings and several dozen visits to the site during the three days enabled the destination to be promoted to professionals and to the specialist local press.

  The Tourism Office’s trip also included a promotional tour of a dozen travel agencies and wholesalers. The days of presentation followed one another in Bogota, Medellin (second largest city in Colombia) and Barranquilla (fourth largest city), with the main players such as Aviatur, the country’s leading agency, and the tour operator CIC Travel, which invited some 60 agents to Medellin and Barranquilla for a working lunch.

  “There is a great deal of awareness to be raised about the specificities of our destination, such as the dual nationality of St. Martin/St. Maarten,” reported Bresse. “The island is perceived as a Caribbean territory with a European touch and therefore with an image of very high prices.

  “We had to convince them that our destination remains accessible to Colombian customers, with a wide range of accommodation, activities and restaurant options, all with excellent connectivity thanks to Copa Airlines, which serves 11 cities in Colombia, with a short stopover in Panama.”

  This series of meetings is already bearing fruit: training workshops for Colombian agents are already planned and several co-marketing campaigns are envisaged with local agencies. A major follow-up will be carried out by the Tourism Office to ensure the main hotels in St. Martin are present on the sales platforms.

  The investment in this market is supported by Copa Airlines’ statistics, which show a strong potential for development.

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