Chairman of the St John’s Development Corporation (SJDC) Bernard Percival has said tourists visiting Antigua and Barbuda’s shores on cruises are not spending as much money as they did in years gone by at Heritage Quay.
Percival said there are a number of reasons for this, one of which is the fact that many of the high-end stores that were located at Heritage Quay are no longer there.
Vendors and taxi operators have been complaining that they are not making any more, even during busy cruise ship periods.
Percival noted also that many of the amenities that can be accessed in town can also be accessed on board the ships.
“The tourists who come to Antigua now are not the tourists who came to Antigua many years ago. At this point anybody who can afford to save a few hundred dollars US can pay for a cruise and come to Antigua. They are more interested in travelling as opposed to really spending money to buy in our shops.
“And one has to recognise also that most of the cruise ships have all the shops on board that they can meet here. We don’t have a high number of high-end stores anymore and that’s always a way to attract the spender is to have the high-end stores. But apart from that the tourists are just not spending what they used to spend before,” Percival said.
Percival said discussions have been held with the Merchants Association in an effort to see what can be done to boost interest in the duty-free shopping plaza.
There are plans to upgrade the complex, and the SJDC chairman noted that putting in escalators to allow for access to the stores on the upper level of the shopping mall is being considered.
Presently, to gain access to the top floor of the mall persons have to use stairs located at various locations of the complex.