Antigua and Barbuda tourism roaring back


Two of Antigua and Barbuda’s major source markets are driving a robust tourism recovery for the twin-island destination.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s business meetings in Curaçao last week, Colin James, Chief Executive Officer of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, reports that while the tourism sector recovered 88 percent of its 2019 business last year, both the United States and the United Kingdom had registered record levels of stayover arrivals in 2022.

“2022 was a very good year for us … but I think that the good news story is that the U.S. market was five percent up on 2019 and the U.K. market four percent up,” he said, with both markets beating their previous records.

Sluggish airlift has slowed down intra-regional travel, but James said the hospitality sector was doing well: “Our hotels are showing record occupancy levels as well as record ADRs (Average Daily Rates) and so that’s been very, very good for the industry.”

The destination was also beefing up its cruise capacity and has unveiled a fifth berth capable of hosting the new and larger ships sailing the Caribbean.

Infrastructural assets, James notes, add new opportunities: “We have a first class airport facility and now a first class cruise facility and the ability to homeport means that we can take advantage of a lot of these new ships that are coming out.”

There were still challenges with regional airlift, the improvement of which was a major focus as was the restoration of European flights. “Prior to the pandemic, we had weekly charter service out of Germany and Italy and that’s our main focus for this year. We’ll be at the ITB (Berlin in March), we’ll be at WTM (World Travel Market in November), and we are really working assiduously to get the lift back because as you know, ‘have plane will travel!’”

Prior to the pandemic, the summer months have traditionally been a challenge for the Caribbean but Antigua and Barbuda is developing events such as Restaurant Week and Kitesurfing Week to attract interest.

Τhe tourism chief also revealed there was a strong focus on tapping the meetings and incentives market as the destination takes full advantage of revenge travelers and ongoing pent-up demand.

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  1. Well Anthony Smith doesn’t think max Fernandes did a good job and he gave him a C minus. Strange enough Max Fernandes was awarded Tourism minister of the year by the CTO. I guess they don’t agree with Anthony.

    • @From The Sideline…anyone, from Antigua, Barbuda & REDONDA, who sits in Max Fernandez’ seat and is incapable of presenting the flora and fauna of Our Nation, as one of the best in the the Tourism Industry should be banished to REDONDA.

      There are several questions which are ricocheting off my cranium walls regarding Max Fernandez…

      A…allegedly, he has informed Gaston Browne, that this is his final run for Rural North. This is striking me as odd, since, he’s one of the ABLP’s strongest candidate with the easiest job, no doubt, but, but is he at odds with the ABLP Executive and is humbly bowing out?
      B…He seems to be poised to challenge Chet for leadership once, Asot #CheckMate Gaston. Samantha is playing safe. Molwyn and Robin retiring, why is Max Fernandez running from ABLP and his easy job?

      Rattle those bones of #Mami_Wata and #Papa_Elegab, dear Ras Smood and let that #Jumbee_Picknee see which way, the SWASTIKA at life’s #Cross ❌✝️☦️😵☠️🏴‍☠️⚔️⚔️☦️☦️✝️Roads point on this one.

      De ‘ole Dutty Peg_Foot Bastard

      Vere C. Edwards

      I’m also perplexed, as to why your good buddy #tenman is allowing the #Wharf_Rat Riviera to jump ship from DNA to ABLP and is taking his seat in Parliament?

    • @ From The Sideline, you would give Max “Whey Him Dey” Fernández an A+ for his input in the Nigerian airline fiasco; that’s how much out of kilter you are with the majority of right thinking Antiguans who still want answers from the likes if Fernández.

      One day, I hope that you’ll put your country first … but then again pigs might fly!

    So up to now you guys cannot have an intelligent discussion. I simply put on the table that the CTO, The Caribbean Tourism Organization, awarded The Honorable Charle ‘Max’ Fernandes the Tourism Award of the year. That doesn’t mean anything to you guys. Is the CTO just irrelevant?

    I mean hatred will blur you guys’ mind and logical way of thinking and reasoning. He must have done something good to have receive this award?

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