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Earlier this month, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. hosted an event at the Soho Hotel to celebrate the historic connection between Barbados and Charleston, South Carolina. Many don’t know about the link between these two colonies but it makes for a fantastic story and one that BTMI hope to share far and wide as a way of promoting the two destinations as a twin centre experience. It is an exciting partnership for Barbados and Charleston as well as British Airways, the island’s long standing airline partner.


The evening’s event raised awareness of this great historical link by hosting the UK premier screening of the powerful film ‘Beyond Barbados:  The Carolina Connection’ directed and produced by Sanderson Adams who attended the event. Dr. Kerry Hall, Director of Tourism Development, for the Barbados Ministry of Tourism & International Transport, and the eminent Bajan historian Dr. Karl Watson, also spoke on the fascinating mix of cultures and history that Barbados and Charleston share.


To give you a bit of background, Barbados was founded in the 1600’s by the British who had travelled from England to find their fortunes. Having found the perfect paradise in the middle of the Caribbean, they quickly settled and called Barbados their home from home, and the business of sugar cane became their gold dust. (Fun fact: Barbados is still to this day referred to as Little England)


When word got back of the riches in Barbados, many of the gentry bought a ship and sailed to the Caribbean to get a slice of the pie. Travellers soon found however there was no space left for their fortunes to be made in Barbados so they set sail in the hope of the next best thing – landing in what is now called Charleston in South Carolina.


From the people and the parish names, to the cuisine and the architecture Barbados and Charleston are intrinsically linked, their cultures intertwined from the very beginning.


The event proved to be instrumental in raising awareness of the significance of the historical connection between the two destinations, and it was attended by members of the UK National Trust, media, travel industry and Barbados High Commission, who were treated to delicious canapés, drinks and a performance from the world-renowned, Barbadian saxophonist Arturo Tappin.


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Last month TTG held its first-ever TTG LGBT Seminar in Manchester, under the theme of ‘Connecting with your LGBT customer’. As a lead up to Manchester Pride, the half-day seminar hosted a variety of leading speakers, educating and informing those wanting to market and sell to the LGBT sector.


The seminar brought together various travel bodies including airlines, hotels, airports and agents to share insight and provide expertise on key LGBT travel themes and topics.


As a first timer, I attended the seminar with zero expectations and was just thrilled to be in a room rubbing shoulders with some of the best in LGBT travel. Several of our clients attended the event, including the lovely team from Emerald Waterways and Mark Lewis, founder and chief executive, HotelREZ and World Rainbow Hotels. Mark was invited to speak on a panel discussing how organisations can avoid the rainbow wash and providing insights on how best to market authentically to the LGBT consumer.


I was also excited to see chief executive of Manchester Pride Mark Fletcher as the keynote speaker. Fletcher was incredibly engaging and spoke of his own journey, the importance of Manchester Pride and how he believes the event will continue to grow in the future. It was inspiring to hear about his journey with Manchester Pride, which began in 2004, and how his positive energy and passion as an LGBT activist allowed him to grow from a freelance sponsorship manager to chief executive.


Additional sessions included discussions on destinations targeting LGBT travellers, helpful marketing tips for agents and tour operators wanting to appeal to the LGBT community and new case studies from travel firms who have started out on their LGBT journey.


Sophie Griffiths and the entire TTG team should be incredibly proud of transporting key industry individuals (many based in London) to the North and facilitating some very informative and insightful sessions. 


The event was a great success and we’ve already added it to the office 2020 calendar!


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Because it’s the right thing to do and the right time for us both to look for new challenges and partners to create great work with.


So yes it’s true, from October this year Siren will no longer be working to support Celebrity Cruises, bringing an incredible run of partnership to an end. A tough decision for us to make – yes; and undoubtedly a scary decision. The right decision for us to make – unreservedly!


We’ve delivered some incredible work together over 14 years. We’ve consistently maintained the brand’s high profile and delivered some memorable and award winning campaigns for the nation’s favourite cruise line, including The Celebrity Love Island campaign and countless ship launches including the recent UK showcase for Celebrity Edge. However, all good things must and do come to an end and we’ve elected to go out on a high. We will support the team and business in transitioning to a new PR set up. For Siren it is a very exciting time to be looking for new work and client partners, whilst ensuring we remain focused on delivering for our incumbent clients and team.


Wish us luck and if you know anyone looking for a newly single award winning PR agency then please send them our way!


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Last week 65 travel agents and two journalists from TTG and Travel Biz turned up at Gatwick airport ready to embark on Barbados’ Mega Fam to celebrate the 65 wonderful years that British Airways has safely carried UK travellers to its paradise shores.

In partnership with TTG, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. and British Airways ran a competition for travel agents to win a place on the fam trip to explore and experience the island in all its glory. Siren hosted the media along with a group of 20 excited agents, on the trip.

The group was split across three luxury hotels including Turtle Beach, Seabreeze Beach House, and the recently opened The Sands Barbados.

After touching down on the scorching tarmac, the group were straight into their busy itinerary, from the Island Safari, heritage railway tour and cave explorations to site visits of a diverse mix of hotels on island. The trip encompassed all the best bits of Barbados and showcased the plethora of activities available. Barbados is a favourite for winter sun seekers but it has so much more to offer than simply sun, sand, and sea. 

On Friday morning the agents were hosted by Sandals resort where they took part in a mini trade show, this was a great opportunity to meet all the hotel partners, receive all their news and updates and create lasting relationships from which they can move forward and sell the destination in the future.

The Barbados Olympics was one of the highlights of the week, agents and media battled it out in a race of their choice; either taking to the waves for a 100m swim, running a mile on the open road, as well hitting the countryside tracks for a 5k cycle; and for the adrenaline junkies, the obstacle course at the Barbados Ninja Throw Down put them through their paces.

We are happy to say that though our Siren did not win …or even finish the course… she did tackle every obstacle with commitment and enthusiasm… until she fell off the monkey bars and was dunked in the pool #lifeasasiren #goneswimming

The final night saw the agents dancing the night away with rum in hand and soca beats pulsing through the air as they sailed the sea on a catamaran cruise.

By Sunday night no one wanted to leave and our Siren was left knocking on hotel doors and scouring rum shacks for all her wayward sheep.  To the disappointment of the agents, and the relief of our CEO, the trip returned all heads accounted for and not one extra stowed away in a suitcase.


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