Exclusive Interview with Amelia Vanterpool-Kubisch, Director, Anguilla TB
By Denise Mattia
Jax Fax met up with Amelia Vanterpool-Kubisch, Director of Tourism at the Anguilla Tourist Board as she had recently arrived from a trade show of marketing and public relations representatives from Germany, Italy, France, the UK, Puerto Rico and the U.S., all of whom reviewed their performance in 2008, and to develop plans for 2009. Part of their mission was to examine the Anguilla brand and address what measures to take to remain a top competitor among the premiere low-volume, high-value luxury destinations of the world.
JF: Can you share with our readers the decisions that came out of this show?
AV-K: I think we all agreed that the efforts behind the push for the incentive market should begin immediately. We have created an incentive brochure and touched up the website. Incentive planners can now conduct business with a real response time for them and us.
Anguilla has launched a “refresher on her branding.” She has adjusted her creatives and backdrops to reflect the uniqueness of the destination, such as her Moorish architecture, and emphasized the astounding cuisine options. We are going more aggressively after the incentive market as well this year with new brochures and a specifically designed DVD. Our positioning on the villa market is being reviewed as well. We have also targeted a limited number of select consumer publications for our ads this year.
JF: How is the tourism infrastructure transforming in Anguilla?
AV-K: The hotel plant is changing. The number of rooms now is 1,200 and we anticipate that that figure will increase to 4,000 by 2020 to 2025. Anguilla is small, with only 12,000 inhabitants, and real estate developers of villas, vacation homes and resorts have to import labor. Operational procedures will have to be addressed.
JF: I’ve seen a SUBWAY in Anguilla. Do you expect more fast-food chains to spring up?
AV-K: The SUBWAY is a small facility, not very visible, and is operated by a local person. We are definitely not encouraging fast-food chains, but there is room for variety.
JF: How will this affect Anguilla’s economy overall?
AV-K: The economic future of Anguilla is challenging, as 65% of the tourists are from the U.S.
The high-end level may not be impacted, but Anguilla can’t ignore the housing market problem. Additionally, Anguilla is not a one-stop destination.
American Eagle reduced the flights from Puerto Rico to one per day in September and October; however, Jet Blue continues to fly into St. Maarten and, starting December 18th, American Airlines will add two new direct flights out of New York and Miami to St. Maarten.
JF: The Anguilla Connoisseur Training Program was started to market the island better by providing top agents with training resources. How is the program progressing? How many agents are participating in it, where are they from and how many have completed it?
AV-K: It is our intent to unfold the program to a total of 75 agents for participation this fall. In the first go-round we are focusing on the U.S., and as the plans unfold we will expand into Canada and the rest of the markets such as the UK, Italy, France, Germany, etc.
JF: During our discussion about this program, you mentioned a “highly unique reward/offering.” What does this entail?
AV-K: The offering, unlike other programs, will be extended to both the agents and their clients. We will partner with a strong retailer to present a unique reward or offer to each person.
JF: Can you give me an example of what the retailer would do?
AV-K: The retailer would become a partner with us to provide the rewards, such as spa treatments, special travel amenities, etc.
For more information, contact the Anguilla Tourist Board,
About Denise Mattia
A writer and photographer, Denise Mattia’s works are published nationally and internationally and include all aspects of leisure travel: art , culture, resorts, spas, food and wine and sports’ activities. She's the founder of the soon to be launched Yum-Yum-Traveler, a site devoted to reviewing restaurants in addition to her travel articles from around the world. She lives and works in Manhattan, where she was born.