(New York, NY 4/15/11) Antigua and Barbuda “takes a leap” into the new media space and is featured in Travelistas: Inspired Journeys, a BET.com web series, hosted by African American tastemakers, Andrea and Teri. Webisodes on this online travel channel feature these girlfriends’ sensory insights from journeys across the globe, as they discover authentic adventure, culture, cuisine, music, parties, and star-studded events. (www.travelista.tv)
As part of the UN declared International Year of People of African Descent (IYPAD), the US Tourism Office collaborated with Travelista TV to develop two webisodes that showcase the destination’s modern, historic and cultural connections to Africa. BET com’s urban audience, who are predominantly of African descent, are taken on a tour that highlights cultural similarities rooted in African customs and traditions.
In the first webisode released this week, host Teri, is on a quest to discover the culture, cuisine, beaches and music of Antigua and Barbuda. She sets out from the beach at Carlisle Bay with an open mind and a thirst for adventure. Teri works her way to St. John’s and stops by the Public Market to sample local fruit and vegetables, including the “stinking toe.” She interacts with locals, jumps on a fishing boat and samples local soup from a “road chef.”
Nightlife and adventure are highlighted with a stop at Redcliffe Quay. Teri enjoys a wine tasting experience and the local “lyme” at C & C Wines. The warm hospitality and friendliness of the people is evident as she discovers several “off the beaten path” adventures including sailing and hiking.
US Director of Tourism, Derede Samuel-Whitlock believes these webisodes will be effective in targeting the African American community through social media, as the team seeks to increase arrivals among this target group. “The webisode presents a slice of our rich culture as a core part of our tourism product, with strong African influences such as music, dance, speech forms and cuisine. These experiences coupled with the hospitality and energy of the local people will appeal to modern descendants of Africa and help elevate the cultural profile of Antigua and Barbuda.”
Collectively, Andrea and Teri have traveled to more than 50 countries including Turkey, where they learned the secrets to carpet weaving; hunted with the aborigines in Australia; swam with sharks in Thailand; and played 'mas at Carnival in Trinidad.
A webisode is simply a web episode, a form of new media featuring a dramatic, serial storyline, where the primary method of viewership is streaming online over the Internet. Most webisodes are relatively short, ranging from 4–15 minutes in length. The second webisode will be released in May. Considered to be relatively cost effective, webisodes and other new media will be integrated into the US Team’s marketing strategy and extend the destination’s reach via social media platforms.