by Linda Straker
- GTA on track to meet target of 500,000 overall visitors
- Focus on more cities within main source markets
- Demand for Grenada among Canadians
Patricia Maher, Chief Executive Officer of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) has disclosed that “marketing beyond the main hub,” is responsible for the island welcoming no less than 500,000 visitors for the year 2018.
“We’re on track to meet our target of 500,000 overall visitors to Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique this year and being at World Travel Market provided an unrivalled opportunity to champion Grenada to the global travel industry and media,” she said during an interview following 2018 World Travel Market which concluded last week in London. The 500,000 reflects visitors on cruise ships, overnights stays and yachts.
“In 2017 we set this target of welcoming 500,000 visitors to the island and from what we are seeing now, we are going to achieve this as we expand our reach within the traditional source markets,” said Maher who explained that as of September, the island had an increase of 20.45% when compared to the 2017 data.
The main source markets continue to be the USA, UK and Canada but, according to Maher the marketing team at the GTA and other travel agents are focusing on more cities within the same markets.
“For example, Scotland is now included as a main market within the United Kingdom; Atlanta, Chicago and Boston are now a focus within the USA market and Montreal is now included as a place for essential marketing in the Canadian market. We are deepening our connections in these markets,” she said.
The growth has resulted in new flights from the Canadian markets. Recently Maher said that when compared to previous years there are record visitor arrival numbers already logged from Canada for 2018 and as a result of the demand for Grenada among Canadians, Air Canada is adding a new flight as of mid-December.
Starting 18 December 2018 Grenada will have 3 direct flights per week from Canada’s Toronto Pearson International Airport on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
“This additional weekly flight will give Canadians more options to fly from Toronto direct into St George’s, Grenada,” said Maher. Statistics from the GTA shows that since 2009 more and more Canadians are choosing to visit the island. In 2015 it was 10,790 visitors, in 2016 the record shows 10,723 and in 2017 it increased to 11,383.
There are only connecting flights to Grenada from some of the expanded cities but according to Maher supply and demand from these cities can create a demand that airlines will not be able to ignore. “Growth in these markets, can lead to changes and so we will continue our marketing efforts and strategies in these cities as we embark on initiatives to encourage more visitors to the island,” she said.