Minister of Tourism Asot Michael Meets with Tourism Stakeholders in North America

Antigua and Barbuda’s Tourism , Economic Development, Investment and Energy Minister the Hon. Asot A. Michael is this weekend wrapping up a series of meetings with tourism stakeholders in North America.

Minister Michael has been meeting with cruise and airline partners in the USA and Canada discussing areas of the Antigua and Barbuda tourism product that require improved attention and the marketing of the destination.

Minister Michael, who is accompanied by Chief Executive Officer of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin James, Chairman of the St. John’s Development Corporation Rohan Hector, Brian Dornellas of OBM, Cruise Association President Nathan Dundas and Port Manager Mr. Darwin Telemack is holding meetings with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Travel Trade and Press Executives in Toronto, WestJet Executives, and Air Canada Vacations. Minister Michael will also meet with Tourism Minister of Canada the Hon. Michael Coteau and hold a town hall meeting with members of the Antigua and Barbuda community in Toronto.

“These meetings are of vital importance to the improvement of our tourism product and as key stakeholders, it is my belief that they have a part to play in how we improve the number one income generator of our economy. Antigua and Barbuda has enjoyed a mutually rewarding relationship with the Florida Cruise Association and my aim is to enhance it both in the near and long term,” Minister Michael pointed out.

“West Jet has grown tremendously since it commenced flights between Antigua and Canada and the time is ideal for us to highlight what we are doing to make our destination more desirable for Canadians. I also believe that our over forty (40) year relationship with Air Canada can be improved by upgrading the number and quality attractions on both islands in order to enhance the visitor experience,” the country’s Tourism Minister pointed out.

Following meetings with the Tourism Minister of Canada, the Hon. Michael Coteau and members of the Antigua and Barbuda community on Friday evening, Minister Michael will return to Antigua on Saturday.

Cruise Lines Buoyed By Antigua’s Plans For St. Johns

Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy, the Honourable Asot Michael, has committed to working expeditiously to improve the St. John’s Habour facilities and to work with the cruise lines on a long-term relationship.

Minister Michael made the pledge last week in meetings with executives of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines –  the region’s leading cruise lines.  The Minister noted that this will ensure that cruise passengers have an improved visitor experience and the larger vessels, which will be delivered in the near future can be accommodated at the island’s port.

Minister Michael also used the opportunity to share the government’s development plans to put Cruise Tourism back as a critical component of the destination’s tourism product. He stated that this begins with the upgrade of Port St. Johns to modernize the facilities in keeping with a long-term infrastructural development.

In the early 2000’s the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) Administration was at the forefront of developing the cruise industry for the twin island state as the first destination in the Eastern Caribbean to have four berths dedicated exclusively for cruise ships.

Immediate plans for the upcoming season including work by the St. Johns Development Corporation to enhance the visitor experience with a new ground transportation dispatching facility were shared with the cruise lines. The long-term initiatives to dredge the harbour along with plans for a new landside development were also well received by the cruise lines. In addition, Minister Michael spoke of the Government’s plans to make English Harbour a duty free port, which will further drive economic activity with an improved shopping experience for cruise ship visitors.

The Minister pledged his support for joint investment opportunities between the cruise lines and the Government which will return the destination to its once leading position as a marquis cruise port on their itineraries.  “The overall development of Antigua and Barbuda’s cruise industry will be against the backdrop of ensuring  that there is sustainability in the destination’s strategies and day to day management and marketing.  This coupled with the economic boom that will be realized by the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), will improve our future prospects and our ability to compete effectively in the cruise industry” Minister Michael concluded.

The Honourable Molwyn Joseph, Minister of Health and Environment, who brought his wealth of experience as a former Minister of Tourism also participated in the meetings. Other members of the Antigua and Barbuda delegation were Mr. Colin James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Mr. Nathan Dundas, Chairman, Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Association, and Mr. Rohan Hector, Chairman of the St. Johns Development Corporation.

Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party’s 500 HOUSES IN 500 DAYS RECEIVES FUNDING BOOST

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – 25th August, 2014…… “The Antiguan Government of Antigua and Barbuda has created the bold target of building no less than 500 new homes in 500 days. It is projects like these that need the support of those who have enjoyed the islands hospitality,” according to long-term local resident Calvin Ayre who has again pledged to help the country he now calls home. Ayre will add US $2,000,000 to help make this brilliant project a reality.

Canadian-born Ayre commented: “I love Antigua as so many that visit year in, year out do as well and, therefore, think its only right to continue to give something back by way of saying ‘thank you’ to the wonderful people of this beautiful island.”

The project is designed to increase home ownership and will be aimed at public sector organizations in an attempt to help satisfy the housing shortage among their members.

The new ABLP administration wants to empower local builders with specific incentives to make it easier for them to develop housing projects.