Basseterre, St. Kitts (30 September 2022) – A St. Kitts Tourism Authority delegation led by Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, CEO, and Melnecia Marshall, Deputy CEO, recently returned from a successful marketing mission to Canada as part of the destination’s tourism rebound strategy.
The purpose of the mission was to unveil the destination’s exciting new brand campaign, Venture Deeper, engage with the Canadian diaspora, host the travel trade media and industry partners, and participate in an integrated consumer event activation in collaboration with the SKTA Canada-based team. The multi-day visit incorporated three events, strategy meetings, multiple media interviews and in-person meetings with key business partners.
“The Canadian marketing mission was a long-awaited opportunity for us to re-connect with the travel industry at large and excite the market on the destination’s immersive attractions, distinctive cultural offerings and authentic Caribbean travel experiences,” said CEO at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Mr. Ellison "Tommy" Thompson. “The Canadian market is a huge priority for us as it was on an upward trajectory prior to the pandemic with almost 10,000 Canadians visiting each year. We know there is significant opportunity in Canada and we have an aggressive strategy in place to reignite this market.”
Upon arrival, the St. Kitts team hosted the local diaspora at a reception on 26 September at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Toronto, which also included specially invited guest Ms. Brenda Foreman, Honorary Consul of the Consulate of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“The opportunity to engage with the diaspora was an important moment for the destination,” said Mrs. Marshall “As we aim to be more visible and competitive in the region, and recognize the need to forge partnerships with both the public and private sectors, the chance to meet face-to-face was an invaluable opportunity.”
During the visit, the delegation met with critical partners, Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations, to discuss the upcoming seasonal direct route restart on 5 November, 2022 and potential for expanding airlift to the destination. With Canadians ranked among some of the most passionate foodies in the world, the team also met with key consumer business partners to support a multi-year Canadian culinary strategy that commenced in 2021.
“Our marketing is data driven and the data strongly indicates that culinary serves as an effective marketing driver in Canada,” said Mr. Thompson. “Incredible food experiences are absolutely on the hearts and minds of Canadian travellers as they make their holiday plans, and we recognize that highlighting our restaurants, chefs and unique dining experiences is a way to introduce and build brand awareness for St. Kitts in Canada – it’s the entry point to create that conversation.”
To that end, the Tourism Authority revealed the new brand campaign to Canadian media and stakeholders on Tuesday, 27 September, at an exclusive event for tripcentral.ca travel agents and special guests held at Capra’s Kitchen. Canadian Celebrity Chef, Massimo Capra, was on hand serving up delicious Kittitian-inspired dishes while attendees watched the new brand spot and were surrounded by new imagery from the campaign.
The Tourism Authority also unveiled a new 28-page print and digital Savour St. Kitts Culinary Guide, an inspirational Kittitian Cocktail Book featuring local rums and crafted cocktails, and a pocket-sized Restaurant Guide, tools that can be utilized by Canadian travel agents and consumers to learn more about the culinary scene and destination.
The following evening, a consumer activation, in collaboration with the city’s top lifestyle publication, Toronto Life magazine, attracted the media outlet’s ‘Insiders Club’ membership who are passionate food, wine and cocktail lovers with a high household income and a strong desire to travel. Local rum producer, Jack Widdowson of Old Road Rum was also on hand at the event to sample his tropically aged 12-year old rum and share his love for the island while guests enjoyed Kittitian-themed food and cocktails.
“Our goal on this mission was to bring a taste of St. Kitts to Canadians and to rekindle the love for our destination,” remarked Deputy CEO at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Melnecia Marshall. “These unique events helped amplify our message, secure a number of key media interviews, and provided a timely opportunity to reconnect with our valued partners in this important market.”
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