Having doubled its seat capacity to the Caribbean over the last decade, JetBlue is looking to expand its business footprint in the region, including through its travel booking arm, JetBlue Travel Products. Mike Pezzicola, the head of commercial for JetBlue Travel Products, presented at a recent Caribbean outlook forum organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in Antigua and Barbuda. He said JetBlue operates over 1,000 flights daily with a third of its route network in the Caribbean, and this is likely to increase as JetBlue continues to expand capacity in the years ahead. Since May 2018, JetBlue has added six additional nonstop routes to Caribbean destinations.
In addition, the JetBlue official told the senior tourism policymakers and executives the company was also focused on increasing bookings of ground transportation, tours, hotels and attractions in destinations through the travel booking arm. “One thing we see is that as folks are planning to travel, when they book their travel vacation with us, and we help them plan it, their stay is longer and they are more likely to return, if not to the destination, then to another destination in the tropics,” said Pezzicola.
He added that JetBlue was also focusing on improving its cooperative marketing with destinations and large resorts, while also emphasizing the uniqueness of Caribbean destinations by highlighting their culture, food, and events. “We are working very heavily now on explaining the difference and as a lot of our customers, particularly those flying down from the U.S., have this vision that every destination in the Caribbean is the same and we all know that is not true,” said Pezzicola.
The Caribbean tourism outlook forum was the first organized by the CTO as a platform for discussion between member governments and leaders from the tourism industry that generate business to the region. It was attended by ministers and commissioners of tourism, directors of tourism, chief executives of destination management organizations, permanent secretaries, advisers and specialists, and technical officers from 12 member countries.