Tourism Trinidad welcomed travel agents from the Benelux region from June 2–9, 2023, as we hosted a Familiarization Tour in Trinidad and Tobago. The Benelux region is a politico-economic union of three neighbouring states in Western Europe, namely Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
A Familiarization, or FAM Tour, is a visit organised by Tourism Boards to introduce travel agents, journalists, and other influencers to a particular destination. The agents while here, had the opportunity to experience our dynamic sites and attractions, cuisine, culture, and eco-tourism.
This exercise was geared towards building the confidence of these agents to book travel from the Benelux region to Destination Trinidad. The market includes travellers who are interested in exploring new and exciting destinations outside of Europe. The market is expected to grow in the coming years, driven by rising disposable income levels and increasing demand for unique and exotic travel experiences.
Earlier this year, a delegation led by Minister of Tourism Culture and the Arts, Senator Randall Mitchel, attended the Vakantiebeurs 2023 Tourism Trade Conference, (one of the leading tourism fairs in Europe) in Utrecht, the Netherlands, to highlight Trinidad as a new destination to discover for Dutch travellers. A direct result of this interaction was an increase in visitor arrivals from the region.
Senator Mitchell says, “This familiarization tour is part of our ongoing efforts to promote the destination in international markets. The destination is currently experiencing robust growth in visitor arrivals from Europe, and the Benelux region is a key target market as the KLM Airline continues to service the route between the two regions.”
He continued, “our trip to Utrech was pivotal, since we meet some of these agents there and had opportunities to interact with Dutch press workers and really connect with region and the always present diaspora.”
This is being aided with the introduction of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to Trinidad. The airline has accounted for 92% share of passenger travel from the Dutch market to Port of Spain according to Sabre Market Intelligence.
Dutch arrivals have been trending upward over the last two years. For the period October 2021 to March 2022, visitor arrivals peaked at 12,863. For the corresponding period, October 2022 to March 2023, 19,239 persons visited from the region.
Carla Cupid, Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Trinidad Limited says, "the Fam Tour represented an important opportunity to showcase our destination to potential visitors and to build relationships with travel agents in the Benelux region. These agents are the direct conduit between us and getting seats filled.
“We are confident that these agents were impressed with what they saw and experienced and that they will be eager to promote our Always in Season message to their markets." The visiting travel agents are representatives from Travel World, ABC Travel, Travel Counsellors, and Untamed Travel.
Travel Counsellors representative, Tessa De Roode said, “What an experience to travel to Trinidad & Tobago. Visit Trinidad had put together an itinerary, allowing us to see many of the highlights in a short time. Tobago was really a discovery for me, driving along the coast you see the most beautiful bays and beautiful clear blue water.”
She continued noting that, “Trinidad, the nature, the extraordinary birds, and the leatherback turtles. We were lucky enough to see the leatherback turtles in real life. The Dutch traveller looking for a destination full of adventure and off the beaten track has come to the right place in Trinidad & Tobago.”
During their stay, they visited a variety of sites and attractions, including, Maracas Beach, the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, pan yard experiences and the Asa Wright Nature Centre. They were also afforded the opportunity to sample some of our delicious cuisine, which is fast becoming one of Trinidad’s most sought-after visitor experiences.