As Canadians experience below-zero temperatures this Winter season, all across that country destination Antigua & Barbuda is being promoted as a warm and friendly place to vacation.
From St John’s, Newfoundland on the east coast to Chilliwack, British Columbia in the west, 24 morning radio programmes from 24 different cities, have been broadcasting live from Sandals Grande Antigua for the second and third weeks in January.
Dubbed the Canadian Winter Sizzle, the radio broadcast has been giving millions of dollars’ worth of promotional value to Antigua and Barbuda as a destination.
The annual event takes place at different Sandals or Beaches resorts around the Caribbean. It’s the first time in three years, however, that it is being hosted in Antigua.
Local tour operators such as Adventure Antigua, Antigua Rainforest Zipline Tours, and Tropical Adventures were on resort at Sandals Grande Antigua to promote their tours to millions of potential tourists.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) Colin C James, ABTA Marketing and Communications Officer Maria Blackman, and ABTA Marketing Consultant Charmaine Spencer were also guests on several of the radio stations.
They let Canada know that Antigua as a destination is still open for business despite hurricanes Irma and Maria passing through the region last year.
“Barbuda is our sister island located about 30 miles north of Antigua, and has just about 2,000 residents. They were impacted by the recent hurricanes but we were not here,” James said.
“It is so important that we promote our beautiful country because we have to rebuild Barbuda. It’s great to encourage, market, and promote these islands to the folks in Canada who are looking for a great get away that you can get to in about (four) and a half hours.
First-timer to Antigua, Richard Woods, who is co-host of the B-100 Kamloops morning show in British Columbia, said there was something special about the island.
“It’s a beautiful island but what makes me want to come back is the people; not just here at Sandals but we got a chance to go to Heritage Quay and the people there were just beautiful and very friendly,” Woods said.
“The two cab drivers we’ve had…were both super informative and told us a lot about the island. Everyone is just so genuine it almost reminds me of Canada.”
Sandals Resorts International also gave away free stays at Sandals Grande Antigua to listeners of the radio stations, who participated in various contests.
Sandals General Manager Gaurav Sindhi said the resort company is committed to promoting brand Sandals and brand Antigua & Barbuda to an international audience.
“The Caribbean is open for business and ready to take care of our guests. The best way to support these nations who have survived an eventful hurricane season last year is to come and visit us. We want to let our Canadian clients know that we are here to create memories of a lifetime for them.”
While on island, radio show staff and their partners with whom they travelled, visited the Cedar Grove and Villa primary schools as part of the charitable Sandals Foundation’s Reading Road Trip. The Canadians read to Kindergarten and grade one students and donated books and supplies to the two schools.