Routes Reconnected: Guadeloupe to develop as top Caribbean destination
Guadeloupe, an exotic archipelago in the Caribbean, is a robust market.
“Our 2020 traffic will remain a little above 50% of that in 2019,” Samuel Braconnier, Head of Development, Marketing and Communication, Aeroport Guadeloupe Pôle Caraïbes, told us. He made the distinction over continental European airports, whose traffic has reduced by 60-80%+.
And going forward, offering discounts of up to 90% to airlines will help spur further development.
“We know it’s a hard time for airlines. As an airport, our situation is far more certain and we decided to give as much help to airlines as we can.
“This is the reason why we are setting up an incentive scheme that offers up to a 90% discount on passenger and landing fees for any new airline flying to Pointe-à-Pitre – or an existing airline launching a new route – next year. This starts now.”
Guadeloupe developing as top Caribbean destination
Of course, most of Pointe-à-Pitre’s traffic is from mainland France. But Braconnier is keen to diversify.
“Pre-coronavirus, bookings from Belgium and increasing demand from other European countries – including Italy, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland – led us to think that Guadeloupe has a role to play as a top Caribbean destination for European and North American tourists.”
But it’s not just Europe or North America. “We forgot that right next to us lives a massive pool of potential tourists who may be willing to enjoy our archipelago, so we’re working hard to open a gateway south. Panama, Brazil, or Columbia may be interesting hubs to provide a big enough market to/from Pointe-à-Pitre.”
Guadeloupe’s inbound demand to an island paradise…
Braconnier gushed when he explained why Guadeloupe.
“In Guadeloupe, you’ll find a vast choice of landscapes, beaches, a preserved rainforest, a volcano (the highest in the region), hundreds of waterfalls, rivers, and some of the best rum factories in Latin America.
“Culturally, Guadeloupe is a mix of French and Caribbean cultures and offers the best of both.”
But it’s more than that. “When you land in Pointe-à-Pitre you land in France. This means we live under the same standards as in Europe – infrastructure, safety, security, healthcare, education, transportation, food…
“It’s something tourists start to look carefully at and given coronavirus, it’ll be a more and more important driver.”
… as outbound demand driven by region’s highest GDP
Braconnier says that Guadeloupe’s economy is strong too, helping with outbound demand.
“Guadeloupe has the highest GDP in the region and Guadeloupean people love to travel. The good standard of living helps, but it’s also cultural. Most families have relatives in Martinique, French Guyana, and mainland France, and every year there are more student exchanges with Canada and the US.
“This explains why we are the only place in the Caribbean that can provide such an amount of outbound traffic.
“When Norwegian was operating to the US (JFK and Fort Lauderdale), outbound traffic could be as much as 30% in some months.”