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TORONTO — It was the first event of its kind for Martinique and Guadeloupe last night in Toronto where the sister islands joined forces to promote their respective offerings to the Canadian travel trade.
Held at Toronto’s Hotel X, the ‘French Caribbean Sensation’ event kicked off with François Baltus-Languedoc, CEO of the Martinique Tourism Authority, referring to Canada as “one of our biggest markets.” And with Martinique celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Air Canada’s direct flight from Montreal to Fort-de-France next week, Baltus-Languedoc added that the event couldn’t have been timed more perfectly.
“The reason why we’re organizing such an event is also to acknowledge that Toronto is also a priority for us,” he said. “And I have a dream, I hope that maybe in one or two years maximum, we can have a direct flight from Toronto to Fort-de-France. Right now, Toronto is our second market in Canada.”
Martinique, located in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, welcomed more than 20,000 Canadians in 2019, up 45% compared to 2018. A growing number of these – 20% – come from Toronto.
Also gaining in popularity among Canadians is Guadeloupe. Last year, the island welcomed more than two million passengers, up 2% over 2018, with Canadians representing 4% of the market.
Déborah Coffre, Representative of the Tourism Authority of the Islands of Guadeloupe, and Muriel Wiltord, Director, Americas of the Martinique Promotion Bureau shared the many reasons why Canadians should visit the sister islands in 2020.
Most notable is Carnival, which takes place in Guadeloupe over two months (in January and February), and in Martinique from Feb. 23-26.
It’s also easy for Canadians to multi-hop between Guadeloupe’s five islands and Martinique’s 52 island, making for a comprehensive visit to experience multiple cultures and cuisines. Both destinations are considered a foodie paradise, with culinary influences from France, India, Africa and the Caribbean. In fact, the Caribbean Journal’s 2020 Caribbean Travel Awards named Martinique as the ‘Culinary Capital of the Caribbean’ for the second year in a row.
To suit a range of budgets and tastes, Martinique and Guadeloupe offer a variety of accommodations, from cottages, villas and guesthouses, to hotels and all-inclusive resorts. Those looking for a more unique experience can sleep in a treehouse in Guadeloupe, or even in an air-conditioned bubble space in Martinique.
As a valued partner of both destinations, Air Canada was also in attendance to highlight its flight offerings. The airline flies to Fort-de-France with direct flights twice a week, year-round, and 3x/week during high season and the summer months. Connections are available throughout major cities, including Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Quebec City and Calgary.
Air Canada serves Guadeloupe with six flights per week in high season.