ANGUILLA – Anguilla’s Wallblake Airport over the Holiday season continued to show quiet resilience, creating confident optimism with the arrival of private jets attributing to the increase in US visitor arrivals, an indication that the challenging economic environment may have given way to pent-up demand and cautiously optimistic economic news.
Fixed based Operator, Lloyds Aviation, proudly boasted one of their busiest days to date (January 2, 2010) handling some 37 jets including Gulfstreams 4s and 5s, Falcon 900s, Citations, Lear Jets, Challengers, Hawkers, Astras, Embraer 135s, Global Expresses and Galaxies. The activity began in late December 2009 and continued through the first half of January 2010 with celebrity and VIP passengers staying at the signature luxury resorts and renowned super villas that dot the island.
Anguilla Air Services and Trans Anguilla continue to offer daily inter-island connections while Anguilla Air Express offers executive charter flights via San Juan, Puerto Rico.
This news is encouraging but not surprising because the Anguilla Tourist Board reports that October through December, 2009 preliminary arrivals were up by 15% from the US. “If you look at visitor arrivals over the last quarter of 2009, on a month-by-month basis, the number of visitors from the United States increased and we expect that trend is going to be maintained,” said Anguilla Tourist Board’s Director for North America, Mrs. Marie Walker. “We are buoyant about the increase in arrivals and this is particularly heartening given the economic environment. Our flourishing relationship with industry partners contributed to this result,” she continued. The comments were made at the US based Anguilla Tourist Board’s annual marketing meeting that was held with the island’s key suppliers to outline marketing plans for 2010.
“We believe this is an outcome of the high standard of the Anguilla product and the investments our stakeholders continue to make in the tourism industry,” noted Mrs. Sherille Hughes, President of the Anguilla Hotel and Tourist Association while a leading US based tour operator, Maurice Bonham-Carter, President and CEO of Island Destinations said, “With Anguilla’s substantial developments and our partnership with the Anguilla Tourist Board, Island Destinations significantly increases its momentum on marketing strategies resulting in double-digit growth for the overall island year over year. For 2010, forecasts are positive with January completed; sales remain in the double digits.”
Anguilla’s product line is complemented by an array of five star accommodations. There is a choice selection of private villas, for the first time Cap Juluca remained open for the year, villas were built at CuisinArt; soft refurbishments were done at Malliouhana, and the Grand opening of Viceroy Resort and Residences. A novel brochure was created to further promote the Charming Escapes Collection while the winter launch of Anguilla’s Temenos Golf Course all helped create awareness and drive bookings.
In order to continue the momentum in 2010, Anguilla’s marketing programs take an even more targeted approach with a focus on specific segments including villas, romance and golf, while the Charming Escapes Collection remains a foundation of Anguilla’s vacation product. To promote the island’s signature Greg Norman 18 hole golf course, a number of hoteliers have created packages that are available online with some including complimentary golf, while others offer complimentary spa experiences.
For 2010, the marketing strategy to keep building the Anguilla business are viral campaigns, online partnerships, co-op advertising programs with traditional trade partners, incentives for the Anguilla Travel Connoisseurs and a campaign dedicated to the romance market. With over seven hundred villa rooms, the island’s tourism marketers have begun development of a program specifically designed to promote their villas.
Anguilla’s resorts also offer facilities that are ideally suited for small groups and a one hour webinar for incentive programs and executive meetings will be hosted at no cost to participants on February 18, 2010 at 3:00PM EST.