Over 31 million people visited the Caribbean region in 2017.

As Tobago’s economy continues to take a beating, according to former Head of the Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Demi John Cruickshank, there is hope that the 2018/2019 fiscal package will propose worthwhile recommendations for the Tourism sector.

In 2017, some 78,672 visitors arrived in Tobago, according to an April 2018 media report. Still, amid the strain placed on the sea bridge and inadequate flights as a result of the problems faced on the air bridge, Tobago’s Tourism sector has been feeling the strain.

According to www.caribbeanandco.com, Jamaica saw over 2 million visitors arrive on the island in 2017. Likewise, Barbados also experienced high tourist arrivals  with an estimated 642,350 tourists staying over. Overall, 31.7 million people visited the Caribbean region last year.

Ahead of the 2018/2019 budget presentation this afternoon, and amid high hopes that focus will be placed on the development of the Tourism sector, here are a few tips from smallbusiness.chron.com that my prove effective to our local sector:

Forming Partnerships

Partnerships help maximise your marketing dollars and reach a broader and more desirable audience when promoting tourism for a given destination. Instead of attempting to create a broad base of followers and a reach that extends throughout the world, piggyback with a partner who already has that reach in a way that benefits both parties. For example, enter into a marketing contract with a national travel agency. Grant the agency special deals and promotions for its customers in exchange for nationwide access to the customer base. You will have to pay for the privilege, of course, but the return can far outweigh the expense, and the alternative of building your own national network is often unrealistic.

Trade Shows

Trade shows provide your destination with access to every travel and tourism supplier in the region and beyond, every travel seller and company who sells or wants to sell your destination and the general public who has an interest in what you’re offering. Whether you attend existing trade shows around the country and the world, or you organise your own to bring attention and forward motion to your destination, the results can be beneficial. Trade shows bring together every aspect of the travel industry in one place and allow time for meetings, interaction and new deals. They also draw media attention, public attendees and, if they are large enough, national travel agencies and their millions of customers.

Advertising in Trade Publications

Take out ads in trade publications to get the eyes of travel sellers around the country onto your product. Create a brand for your destination that speaks to what you have to offer and why. For example, Las Vegas helped build its secretive escapist image by creating the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” campaign. Find your destination’s identity and describe it to the public so they understand why they want to visit you. Placing your ads in a smart and targeted manner is the final piece in the puzzle. For example, if you are in charge of tourism promotion for an outdoor adventure destination, you should be advertising in “Field & Stream” magazine instead of “GQ.” Making the most of your ad dollars is an important part of getting the job done.

Sponsoring Events and Giveaways

Sponsored events and giveaways that tie in with your destination and create a level of prestige for the brand. Sponsorships are available in all shapes and sizes from local parades to national events, each with its own target audiences and each with a specific set of benefits. Investigate events that take place in the regions you wish to reach that have a direct relationship with your tourism destination. For example, if you are promoting a great new art scene, look into local open-air art shows or national art conventions as possible sponsorships. Televised events have the extra benefit of local and sometimes national media coverage, a factor that multiplies your potential advertising reach significantly. It also tends to increase the cost of the sponsorship.

Influencer Marketing

Leveraging social media, blogs and online videos allows destinations to connect with a target market by leveraging brands the end consumer already loves. For example, a Florida theme park may find a fruitful partnership by contracting with a popular mommy blogger to highlight new family features at the location and promote the overall vacation experience. By comparison a ski resort may find a likely partner in an Instagram star focused on luxurious living. Both content providers already reach the market the destination wants as future guests.