Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 17, 2019 (St. Kitts Tourism Authority): The delegation from St. Kitts led by Minister of Tourism the Hon. Lindsay F.P. Grant met with top management from Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations at their respective headquarters, tour operators, travel trade professionals and hosted a consumer lifestyle event in conjunction with Luxe magazine during a visit to Canada on September 4 and 5, 2019. The purpose of the trip was to highlight the destination in light of the growth in the Canadian market and explore the even greater growth potential based on the new Air Canada mid-week flight.
“I am extremely pleased with the partnerships we have established in Canada,” said the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs. “With more flights, package offers, sellers and increasing consumer awareness, Canadian visitors and the Diaspora alike have more options to visit the destination during the busiest time of year for travel. The positive feedback we heard from Air Canada in particular regarding the performance of the Toronto-St. Kitts non-stop service demonstrates the carrier’s increasing confidence in our tourism product.”
Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, added, “To continue our momentum of strong arrivals growth from Canada achieved through targeted marketing and sales to the affluent traveler in the golf and lifestyle niche markets, it will be critical to maintain or expand our service from Air Canada and optimize all of our in-market partnerships moving forward.”
In meetings with Air Canada, the delegation discussed further development of the existing successful airline-destination partnership and, in particular, the first ever Tuesday non-stop peak season service starting this winter. The next day, a visit to Air Canada Vacations included dialog about increasing the number of St. Kitts’ properties in their program and highlighted the product improvements at the various properties currently in their program. Meetings with select tour operators and travel agents updated them about what’s new on island.
In addition, a well-attended evening event in Toronto was held at the Globe and Mail rooftop terrace held in conjunction with media partner, Luxe Magazine, to grow awareness among target upscale consumers.
For the first four months of 2019, air passenger arrivals from Air Canada increased over 60% as compared to the same period in 2018. Air Canada first began serving St. Kitts non-stop on Fridays in peak season from Toronto Pearson International Airport in 2011 and subsequently shifted to Saturday service. It is the island’s only non-stop scheduled service from Canada. Service expanded to operate for a six-month period starting in November 2018 through the end of April 2019 with the majority of those flights upgauged. From February 11 through April 14, 2020, Air Canada will operate a second weekly non-stop flight from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to St. Kitts on Tuesdays for the first time in the island’s history.