"Sister Islands" Martinique & Guadeloupe On A Mission To Launch YYZ Flights
with Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
After enjoying tremendous growth from English-speaking Canada, the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe are on a mission to attract a direct flight from YYZ.
But to succeed, the tourism authorities of both destinations know they need the Canadian travel trade on their side. To get their attention, they hosted approximately 150 travel advisors at a joint event on 11FEB to showcase what the destinations have to offer.
The Martinique and Guadeloupe tourism authorities. L-R: Ingrid Labeau, Promotions and Marketing Coordinator, Martinique Tourism Authority; Patricia Azor, Canada Director, Islands of Guadeloupe Tourism Authority; Melanie Paul-Hus, Canada Director, Atout France; Tudor Alexis, Consul General of France in Toronto; Muriel Wiltord, Director of the Americas, Martinique Tourism Authority; Fancois Baltus-Languedoc, CEO, Martinique Tourism Authority; and Deborah Coffre, Guadeloupe Tourism Authority.
"We have to get the word out because travel agents are the ones who advise travellers. And we have so much to offer, so you need to know the destination in order to advise the customer where to go and why to go," François Baltus-Languedoc, CEO of the Martinique Tourism Authority, told Open Jaw.
"Martinique and Guadeloupe are sisters, so it was natural that we go together to develop Ontario. It's a love affair between Canada, Martinique and Guadeloupe, for years and years. We have a fantastic relationship and it's good to show that we do things together."
Tudor Alexis, Consul General of France in Toronto speaking at the event.
The Canadian market is booming for both destinations, with Martinique recording a 42% increase in the number of Canadian visitors between 2018 and 2019, and Guadeloupe an approximate 65% increase, according to the islands' respective tourism boards.
Baltus-Languedoc says that between Air Canada and Air Transat – the two carriers that fly to Martinique out of Canada – a total of 11,000 air seats will be added this year over 2019.
"For Martinique, the Canadian market is just booming. Ontario is the second market for us after Quebec, but we don't have a direct flight yet. From Toronto, you can fly to Martinique via Montreal and in six hours, you can be on the beach with your little 'ti punch' on a beautiful beach," he said, referring to the traditional Martinique cocktail consisting of rum, lime and sugar.
Club Med’s BDMs Samantha Gillingham and Maria Chung.
"It's a very simple connection. It's an early flight from Toronto with Air Canada, and it's a very fluid connection in Montreal."
While sharing many similarities – the French flair, delectable cuisine, rich culture and dreamy beaches – Martinique and Guadeloupe are sisters, not twins.
Guadeloupe is an archipelago, with five distinct islands each offering its own experiences and making it a great boating and island-hopping destination, Deborah Coffre, Representative of the Tourism Authority of the Islands of Guadeloupe, tells Open Jaw.
Officials from the Martinique and Guadeloupe tourism authorities, AC, ACV and Club Med.
And while both islands feature rugged volcanic terrain, Martinique has more mountains boasting top-notch hiking experiences, says Baltus-Languedoc.
As for which island has the best rum… Well, that's a long-running friendly competition between the two islands. But Coffre kept it rather politically correct, saying that Guadeloupe reigns when it comes to white rum, and Martinique specializes in aged brown rum.
Like true sisters, they found the middle ground.
L-R: Expedia Cruise Ships Centers’ Nancy D’Abbraccio and Gabriella Filippo.
L-R: Vanessa Mohammed and Michelle Zammit with Sell Off Vacations.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry