Billionaire Antiguan businessman Calvin Ayre says he is opposed to the “all inclusive” model of tourism in Antigua & Barbuda.
Ayre was at the time speaking about his US$ 100 million investment in a wellness resort retreat at Valley Church Beach which he says will not be all inclusive because he disagrees with that model.
“It will have everything and more but it absolutely won’t be all inclusive,” Ayre told a radio interview alongside Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Saturday.
“I am fundamentally against all inclusives at every level, I think they are horrible experiences and I think they are bad for Antigua,” Ayre said.
He added, “I find them insulting as an Antiguan when I try to go use one of them and they say no to me.”
Speaking of his own resort the businessman said, “what I would like to do there is create a wellness community…the idea would be to bring people in here and introduce them to Antigua and have a fully functioning wellness retreat resort.”
He said once completed it will be the best in the Caribbean.
“The way I am anticipating doing it is going to be much more extreme on the medical wellness side of it more than anything that’s in the region. It will be unique in the whole region,” Ayre the Chairman of the Ayre Group said.
Apart from the resort the billionaire says he wants to bring other investments into Antigua & Barbuda in the future.
“Unfortunately some of my plans are immature so I can’t get into them right now but I do want to be part of creating some of the solutions to make the problems from the pandemic,” he said.
Ayre said COVID-19 has given Antigua & Barbuda and opportunity to diversify the economy.
“I think on the tourism side the low-end tourism is not going to come back all that quickly and this is an opportunity to reset Antigua with no risk because the risk is upon us already by the pandemic.”
Prime Minister Gaston Browne says he accepts the recommendation to diversify not only tourism but other sectors.
“And that is something our government is actively pursuing.”