A new regional flight from Manchester to the Caribbean island of Tobago has been announced at World Travel Market.

The Thomas Cook service, set to take bookings from next month with the first flights starting in winter 2014, will bring the number of direct services from the UK to Tobago to four per week (five in winter), with direct flights already in place from British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Monarch, in addition to services through Trinidadian capital Port of Spain.

During a press conference on the first day of the UK trade show, Tracey Davidson-Celestine, secretary for transport and tourism for the Tobago House Assembly, said: “The UK market is a very important one for us. Within the next fiscal year, we will be spending more than $4 million in the UK market, with a view to ensuring that our destination is well known because it’s a very important market for us.

“I am pleased to announce that we will be starting new airlift with Condor [Thomas Cook’s German sister carrier] out of Manchester, flying directly to Tobago starting in winter 2014.”

This new airlift goes alongside investment in the island’s infrastructure, including a new 79-suite four-star hotel, Indigo Bay, being built in the Tobago resort of Lambeau, and another 66-unit property, both due to open within the next 18 months.

Brand ambassadors Brian Lara and Dwight Yorke were also present to promote tourism to their native Trinidad and Tobago. The ex-Manchester United footballer will be spearheading a new focus on sports tourism next year, ‘Stay and Play’, targeting golfers, football clubs and university sports departments within the UK.

Ms Davidson-Celestine added: “It was really the diverse nature of the island that caused us to focus on niche strategies. We do not have the large hotels to focus on mass tourism, so we have to find a way to sell what we have, and to increase demand for the destination.

“We will be targeting several tour operators to get them to come to Tobago and experience for themselves what Tobago has to offer.”

Trinidad and Tobago has so far seen 37,000 UK visitors this year, and is anticipating a significant uplift following the introduction of the new flight. Other announcements from the show include revealing John Legend as the headline act for next year’s Tobago jazz festival, from April 18-27.