The Tobago Tourism Agency Limited (TTAL) hosted a week-long experiential training for travel agents in the United Kingdom from December 14 to 18, as part of an ongoing restart and recovery campaign for the destination.
‘Take Me to Tobago Week’ was hosted in partnership with Travel Weekly – the most subscribed travel trade publication in the UK. The initiative consisted of a series of immersive videos and virtual tours to boost agents’ knowledge of the destination, while inspiring them to recommend a Tobago holiday to their clients when international travel resumes.
Sheena Des Vignes, Marketing Coordinator at the Tobago Tourism Agency said, “As we head towards the re-opening of borders, educating and updating frontline travel on destination Tobago remains of critical importance. Despite global lock downs, there is still a pent up demand for travel, with the Caribbean region remaining a top choice for 2021.”
Des Vignes also noted that when the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, consumers began relying even more heavily on the expertise of travel agents to assist them in navigating bookings, understanding travel protocols, and learning different countries’ entry requirements.
“This training initiative is therefore key in our ‘restart and recovery’ plans,” she stated. “We are ensuring that our overseas travel agents are well equipped to confidently recommend Tobago as the Caribbean destination of choice to UK travelers when the time is right.”
The itinerary took travel agents on a virtual journey across undiscovered Tobago, with sunset yoga in Castara, birdwatching in the UNESCO-listed Main Ridge Forest Reserve, as well as culinary demonstrations on farm-to-table hot chocolate and seasonal cocktails.
The virtual event launched with a video message from Louis Lewis, CEO of the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited, who delivered updates on the health protocols implemented by the tourism sector, as well as the strides made in sustainable tourism development on the island.
Addressing the participating travel agents, Mr. Lewis stated, “In Tobago, we have been working hard to prepare for your safe return, and are proud to have the island recognised as a “safe travels” destination by the World Travel and Tourism Council. We’ve also been making some great headway on our greening projects such as Blue Flag and Green Key, and our recent UNESCO Man and the Biosphere designation.
We continue to join hands with our residents, investors and NGOs to implement sustainability initiatives both on land and under water, ensuring that Tobago’s unspoilt natural beauty will be around for all of us to enjoy, for many years to come.”
“Take Me to Tobago Week” culminated on December 18 with an online panel discussion, where travel agents had their destination questions answered by Ms. Des Vignes and Tobago’s overseas representative in the UK, Ms. Nadine Rankin.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive from the travel professionals who were able to experience a virtual journey to unspoilt Tobago, complemented by a curated box of Tobago branded items and local seasonal treats in order for participants to enjoy a literal “taste” of Tobago.
Travel agent Melissa Hammond stated, “Thank you for the ‘Take me Tobago week’. My favourite session was the cocoa tea making. I am not very creative in the kitchen, so my challenge over my days off at Xmas is to make some with the cocoa from the hamper. The Q & A was also really helpful. I love how safe and friendly the island sounds with so much more to do than I originally thought.”
Travel consultant Jo Mooney added, “I really enjoyed the different approach you took to showcasing the island. I find it hugely easier to sell a destination if you can point out its uniqueness!”