With the recent announcement that the Government of Dominica had substantially increased the marketing and promotion budget of the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA), the agency has been quick off the mark to increase its marketing and promotional efforts.
The first source market targeted by the Authority is the French West Indies which, for at least the last ten years, has been Dominica’s major market for stayover visitors accounting some 30 percent of total tourism arrivals.
After the Mall exhibition in Martinique on the 3rd and 4th of June Discover Dominica Authority hosted 20 travel agents from Guadeloupe, Martinique , St. Martin, and St. Barts for two days from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th. Also accompanying the travel agents were 4 persons from the media; a camera man and reporter from Guadeloupe Premiere the leading Television Operator in that island, one reporter from the only daily newspaper France Antilles in Guadeloupe, as well as one reporter from Mediaphore, the leading online outlet specializing in leisure and travel targeting the French West Indies.
During their stay the guests of Discover Dominica Authority were taken around the island to see some of the island’s major attractions. The travel professionals had the opportunity to see for themselves that Dominica has been recovering nicely from the effects of tropical storm Erika and that the island is fully ready to receive their clients, notwithstanding the fact that there are still some major infrastructure works to be completed.
Given that July and August are the peak period of travel for West Indians, especially those from the French West Indies, the authority is of the view that the heightened advertising and promotion in June should bear immediate fruit.
This is not the first time that familiarization trips (Fam Trips) for travel agents from the French West Indies have been undertaken, but on this trip a novel element was introduced – Speed dating. Speed dating is a promotion and sales method whereby sellers and buyers of goods and services are brought together in one space for brief meetings.
In this case Discover Dominica Authority invited local tourism service providers to meet with the travel agents at the Fort Young Hotel on Saturday 11th from 6pm to 7 pm. Each service provider had 5 minutes with each travel agent to present himself and his property or service, exchange contact details and have brief discussions of how they could work together.
The Dominican service providers found the speed dating element of the Fam Trip highly innovative and useful and hope that all future fam trips organized by the Authority include speed dating.
It is expected that the next promotional activity in the French West Indies by Discover Dominica Authority will be the launch of the World Creole Music Festival.