Director of the Office of Tourism of Saint-Martin, Silviane John is congratulating her counterparts in Sint Maarten and Anguilla after the announcement by Copa Airlines, over the weekend, that it will be increasing the number of flights to the island from 2 to 4 flights weekly in the short term and to 5 flights weekly as of December of this year.
This good news regarding the flight increase came at the same time that the airline reported a 162% increase in the number of passengers destined for St. Martin from various South American cities. This increase was recorded between the months of January and May 2014 and was compared to the same period in 2013.
Brazil which registered the largest number of passenger booking saw an increase of 175% overall. In real numbers Copa recorded a total of 6031 passengers as compared to 2034 when it began operations in 2013.
Copa attributes the increase in passengers to an aggressive marketing campaign using magazine, newspaper, television and other media. The campaigns that were sometimes tailored to a specific market was driven for the most part by Copa Vacation. In addition, the group along with representatives from Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten and Anguilla have had several meetings with Copa Vacation Tour Operators and other reputable tour operators that were recommended from other sources. As a result of the direct and indirect campaigns, sales tripled in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Uruguay, and doubled in Argentina despite that country’s economic problems.
Under the partnership agreement signed between the 3 islands and Copa, other marketing tools are expected to be developed around content that features the islands both as a joint destination as well as individual destinations that feature specific aspects of the islands. The partners intend to continue their aggressive marketing strategy in the targeted markets in order to take advantage of the increasing popularity of the destination among South American travelers.
Silviane John, Director of the Office of Tourism said that “This shows that hard work and innovation pays off. We have been experimenting and finding new ways to sell our destination. One of the formulas that has succeeded in several of the new markets is joint marketing where we go in as a group and present the possibility of island hopping or by presenting Saint-Martin as a hub from which visitors can day trip to the other islands. This formula gives people another view and presents the best of each island as a new and improved destination.”
In a press release, Ms. John said that “The partners invested a lot of man hours and money in building the South American market after the signing of the MOU between Copa and Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten and Anguilla in 2013. This was a market that had been very productive for us in the past and that was abandoned for a while. Now with a new impetus and the growing economy in South America we felt that it should be re-explored. Given the news from Copa we made the right decision.”