Amid criticisms over his performance, Tourism Minister Asot Michael is being praised by hotelier Rob Barrett.
In a statement today, the Chairman of Elite Island Resorts not only praised Michael but Prime Minister Gaston Browne for being “very proactive with respect to the country’s vital tourism industry.”
In particular, Barrett said the current Minister Tourism, “has been trying his very best in challenging circumstances, and is doing an excellent job.”
He added, “In 2017, the Government has demonstrated renewed vigor and commitment to creating a thriving hospitality and investment climate. We want to do our part to make Antigua and Barbuda one of the Caribbean’s most desirable holiday destinations. Reinvesting in The Verandah is a show of confidence in the island’s continued success and an investment in the future of the resort’s employees.”
The hotel received some bad press in the last few days after its temporary closure was linked to “trying times.”
However, in his statement today Barrett blamed the bad public relations on “ a representative for The Verandah” who issued an “erroneous and unapproved press release” that called into question the financial stability of The Verandah and tourism to Antigua and Barbuda.
The hotel mogul said that press release was well-intentioned, “but was overzealous and poorly worded.”
“To be perfectly clear, The Verandah has been—and remains—a very strong resort; and the Elite Island Resorts group, with its diverse portfolio of Caribbean resorts and related businesses, is one of the region’s most stable and successful hospitality groups, bar none,” Barrett stated.
The company will close from August 30th to October 13th for upgrades and renovations.
During that period, some staff will be on vacation, others will be assigned to other properties owned by Elite Island Resorts, and some will even find work during the upgrade of Verandah.
Michael has faced calls to resign after the twin-island state recorded a drop of more than 6000 visitors from the U.S, year to date.