Dean Fenton, USA Director of the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority is currently hosting 7 travel agents from the US who are promoting Antigua during this very difficult pandemic. This group of travel agents are also part of the Antigua & Barbuda Travel Agent Advisory Board (ABTAAB). The destination is the only Caribbean island that has an advisory board of travel agents. The agents are here to do site inspections and remind the world what a great place Antigua is to visit.
This time around, the agents are doing something a little different. When they leave Antigua Monday December 14, many of the agents will be acting as travel buddies and transporting pups from Antigua back to their forever homes in the US. The Travel Buddy Programme is supported by Dogs and Cats of Antigua who rescue dogs in distress and puppies from the streets and beaches of Antigua. The dogs are fostered vetted and rehomed overseas, usually through their rescue partners or direct adoptions.
All prospective overseas adopters are thoroughly vetted and screened by the group. Prospective adopters fill out a 5-page questionnaire and then a phone interview and they also have to provide 3 references in order to be accepted as an adopter. A spokesperson for Dogs and Cats of Antigua said, “we also have arrangements with some of our rescue partners to accept any dogs where an adoption does not work out”. To date, Dogs and Cats of Antigua has transported over 1500 dogs to overseas homes”.
Susan Peavey, one of the travel agents visiting Antigua, is a huge animal lover. She lives on a farm, her daughter is a vet tech and she has been a courier for pets from Turks and Caicos and Aruba. She was delighted to hear of the travel buddy programme in Antigua and was happy to be a part of it. She explained that being a travel buddy was a total “feel good experience and a great way to end a vacation”. She is happy to promote Antigua and hopes that many of our visitors will partake in the “travel buddy experience”. It is no cost to the traveler and all the paperwork is done for you by the organization.
The Antigua & Barbuda Travel Agent Advisory Board is comprised of 10 travel agents. They are Susan Peavey, Andrea Williams, Ruby Stanfield, Heather di Pietro, Marilyn Pires, Janet Haber, Sarah Kline, Beth Saboe Mollo, Corrine Mutarelli and Kelly Burnett; all leading successful travel agencies along the East coast of the United Sates, in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and South Carolina.
Dogs and Cats of Antigua is a registered non-profit operating out of St. John’s, Antigua since January 2015. Since beginning operations they have rescued over 2,500 dogs and cats, 1500 have been rehomed overseas.