The main opposition United Progressive Party is urging residents to resist the urge to overspend, as the country celebrates its 60th Anniversary of Carnival.
“This doesn’t mean that we should not enjoy this milestone Carnival celebration to the fullest, but I encourage Antiguans and Barbudans to ensure that you make conscious financial decisions, as we enter the slow season. Unfortunately, it is easy to get carried away with how we spend money during major holidays and celebrations. But we urge residents to manage their discretionary spending carefully by shifting their habits to minimize risks, in anticipation of a sustained downturn in the tourism industry over the next few months,” said Senator Harold Lovell, Political Leader of the UPP.
The UPP had predicted a slower than normal tourism off-season, in light of declining tourism performance during the first six months of this year.
Further, the party believes that the impending 3-month closure of the Sandals Grande Resort, the country’s largest hotel, will negatively impact the livelihood of many citizens as well as the national economy.
The UPP advises hotel workers and tourism suppliers, to create a “survival budget” and a contingency plan that will help them stay afloat financially, during this challenging period.
“In times like these, individuals’ fears often inhibit their ability to make sound financial plans. We urge those who will be directly affected by the Sandals closure, to do a personal audit of their personal finances. This will give them a better sense of their financial options. For example, how long can their savings keep them afloat, how assets and investments can be liquidated or how loans can be refinanced,” said Lovell.
The former Finance Minister advises that it is crucial that families come up with a short-term plan to address their financial obligations. Lovell recommends that families prioritize their spending to stay current with their bills, defer major purchases in the short-term and pare down spending on non-essential items.
Younger people, in particular, are urged to be more conservative in their Carnival spending and to create a detailed budget to manage the temptation to spend excessively. Lovell also encourages the youth to use the time that they are unemployed, to get valuable training to improve their job skills and marketability.
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