How is tourism progressing in Martinique? How were the figures in 2017 and what are the key trends this year? We put the questions to Karine Mousseau – Martinique’s Tourism Commissioner – present at ITB Berlin this year.
2017 tourism performance saw Martinique breaking all records for the past 30 years with total visitor arrivals climbing to an all-time high of 1,041,139. This represents an increase of 16.4% versus 2016. This rise in visitors is the result of an excellent growth in the stayover tourism segment, which grew by 3.1% in 2017 (535,647 visitors) compared to 2016. This confirms the success of the actions of the Martinique Tourism Authority and demonstrates that tourism is a strong lever for the economic development of Martinique.
How are your source markets evolving?
Our strategy of developing nonstop flights from European and American cities allows us to be less dependent on the French market and to target international visitors who, on average, spend more than visitors coming from France. The work we’ve done since 2015 to diversify the markets is bearing fruit, because in 2017, the French market totalled 66,3% of visitors versus 78.7% in 2014. International diversification allowed us to increase the number of European visitors from 3.2% in 2014 to 8.8% in 2017 as well as North Americans from 2.4% in 2014 to 6.8% in 2017. What is your action plan for the coming year in order to achieve your targets? The results of 2017 are promising. We believe that we have the potential to do even better, so we have worked on an ambitious 2018 action plan divided into 6 strategic axes:
- Developing air services by maintaining existing lines and prospecting other airlines in our priority international markets: Germany, USA, Canada and South America;
- Increasing the reputation of the destination with major media communication campaigns to broadcast the new promotional video, awarded in 2017;
- Analysing and evaluating the tourism offer through the launch in 2017 of an economic and statistical observatory that will carry out marketing studies on the tourist clientele (stay-over tourists, yachting etc.); Improving the digital experience: we will have in the second semester of 2018 a new digital strategy including our website, social networks, mobile and a set of interactive tools for our promotional operations; Structuring niche markets including gastronomy, MICE, sailing, cruising, nature-based tourism – important for the German market, and accommodation with a real desire to improve the quality of our structures;
- Creating and supporting events in low season. We are the organiser of an innovative event – “The Martinique Flying Regatta” – from November 17 – 24, 2018, bringing together the most attractive foil sailboats series.
In addition, we are strengthening the development of business tourism to accommodate more and more conferences.
What key actions are being undertaken in Europe, and more particularly in Germany?
The Martinique Tourism Authority promotes Martinique in Europe, mainly the French-speaking countries: France, Belgium, Switzerland but also other priority European countries like Germany and Italy and some markets in prospection.
Since 2016, when Condor started operating air services to Martinique, we have strengthened our action plan on the German market. In parallel, it is essential to accompany the tour operators by training German travel agents and by publishing promotional tools.
…OUR 2018 ACTION PLAN WILL HELP IMPROVE THE EXPERIENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL VISITOR IN TERMS OF LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY AND SIGNAGE
What is your message to the world’s travel trade present at ITB Berlin?
We wish to demonstrate to decision-makers, journalists, touroperators and travel agents that Martinique is evolving positively and has unique and attractive assets for the European clientele and particularly the German clientele. One of the elements contributing to the differentiation of Martinique is rum. This year visitors will have the opportunity to taste our “Ti-punch” made with Martinique’s unique European labelled rum.
In addition, we are resolutely in a collective approach, because we will have with us on the Martinique booth, our local partners usually supporting all of promotional operations. Finally, our 2018 action plan will help improve the experience of the international visitor in terms of language proficiency and signage, which are important elements for the satisfaction of our visitors.
Photo: Karine Mousseau Tourism Commissioner – Martinique