Antigua’s tourism body is holding crisis talks with partners in the travel industry to discuss its marketing plans following the murder of two British honeymooners on the island.
Carol Hay, UK director of tourism for Antigua and Barbuda, has flown to the Caribbean for discussions with Government officials and ministers about what steps to take following the deaths of Caroline Mullany and her husband Ben, who were shot in their chalet on the last night of their honeymoon on July 27.
She will meet travel companies to discuss plans for ad campaigns and marketing of the island in the wake of the deaths.
Travel companies have reported some cancellations in the wake of the incident.
Marketing Week understands that some advertising has been booked by the Antiguan and Barbudan tourist office, and it is now too late to cancel. However, new creative may have to be developed. The promotional body works with marketing agency My Giraffe in the UK.
A spokeswoman for the country’s tourist office says: “Our trade partners have not been overwhelmed with cancellations, but it is a very sensitive situation.
“We are going to take a look at things next week. At this stage, we are reviewing our marketing activities.”
The Caribbean islands have traditionally been promoted as a honeymoon destination, but one observer commented that it would be “insensitive” to run ads with that theme in the current climate. Tour operators and the Antiguan authorities have been desperately trying to reassure holidaymakers that the destination is safe since the shootings. The island relies on tourism for 85% of its income and last year 96,800 Britons visited.
Sandals, the resort company that promotes romantic breaks in the Caribbean, was unavailable for comment about whether it was reviewing its marketing plans in the wake of the tragedy. The Mullanys were the first tourists to be killed on the island for over a decade.