By Theresa Goodwin
“We have one ferry, two flights, and 10 taxis; we’d love you to come, but please not all at once.” This is the unique tagline that will be featured on banners and in videos as part of a major campaign launched yesterday to promote the sister island of Barbuda as a premier destination of choice.
The tagline signifies that the mode of transportation to get to the smaller of the two islands is limited, as well as room stock, however, tourism officials are hoping that this true statement of fact will further increase the attractiveness of the destination to prospective visitors looking to get away from it all.
Tourism Authority (ABTA) CEO Colin James explained yesterday that that was the main goal of the first ever marketing campaign designed specifically to promote Barbuda as a destination, with the input of native Barbudans.
The ABTA, the Barbuda Council, and UK-based agency Motel are partnering on the initiative.
“If a potential visitor cannot book a flight or a room they will certainly understand why. That tactic is being used so well in marketing. For example, with the selling of diamonds, you limit the circulation of diamonds so that you can raise the price.
“That’s what we are trying to do – limit what we have here in Barbuda, but do it in such a unique way that people will see exactly what we have to offer and why we are special,” James said.
Chair of the Barbuda Council’s Tourism and Culture Committee, Calsey Beazer-Joseph, welcomed the campaign which she said is coming at a time when visits to the island are increasing.
“The statistics have shown that there has been a tremendous increase in visitors to our bird sanctuary, and the majority of the visits are from people across the globe, and Barbudans as well.
“From January to December 2021, we had 1,575 visitors, and this year so far we have had 853 people visiting the sanctuary; it is clear we are off to a successful year,” Joseph said.
The campaign was also endorsed by Tourism Minister Charles “Max” Fernandez who lauded the efforts of the staff at the ABTA, the Barbuda Council, and others who have worked to see its successful launch.
The minister said the venture is the fulfillment of a promise that was made to the council prior to the passage of Hurricane Irma.
“Barbuda is an island of unsurpassed beauty, our Barbudan brethren share the island with the frigate bird, the nesting sea turtle, guinea hens and others; this is the charm and beauty that this campaign will showcase to the world,” he said.
Member of Parliament for Barbuda Trevor Walker shared similar sentiments as it relates to the uniqueness of the island.
“I always tell people when I speak to them about tourism in Barbuda, we want something different, we want to have something unique, something that is in high demand.
“We recognise that what we were taking for granted in a particular way was loved by persons in the world, and it made us realise that we needed to develop what we had even more,” Walker said.
Shot on location by local photographer, Mohammid Walbrook, and Motel Creative Director David Boynes, the campaign is running across several platforms worldwide including Conde Nast Traveler and Wanderlust magazines, and social and travel media such as TripAdvisor in the key ABTA markets – the UK, US and Canada – as of yesterday.
The aerial films for the campaign, shot by a drone, feature the silhouette of a tiny passenger plane flying above the water across 11 miles of beach.
This is accompanied by the gentle background sound of lapping waves, and the national bird, the majestic frigate, interrupted only by the gentle hum of the light aircraft overhead.
Rob Smith, Founder and CEO at Motel, added, “Antigua and Barbuda are both very special islands. There is a particular magic to Barbuda though, which you feel as soon as you touch down.
“We are incredibly privileged to have been trusted with the task to create the island’s first ever individual marketing campaign.”