(St. John’s, Antigua) – Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Asot Michael, has charged technicians in The Ministry of Tourism and The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, to be custodians of the country’s economic growth.

“We have many projects coming on stream. We have the responsibility to fill those rooms. But, while that is happening, we have a few existing properties that are non-performing.  We have to figure out what can be done to make those properties vibrant again.”

The Tourism Minister made the remarks today as he met with over thirty-five technicians from the product development and marketing bodies of the organisations under his leadership, in a two day strategy and planning workshop.

Tourism senior officials from Antigua and Barbuda as well as the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s Overseas Office converged in the destination for the sessions. Included were CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority – Colin C. James, Rohan Hector – Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Jean Marc Flambert – UK& Europe VP of Sales and Marketing, Marie Walker – North American VP of Sales and Marketing, Cherrie Osborne, UK & Europe Director of Tourism, Charmaine Spencer – Regional Marketing Mananger, Pauline Frederick-Hunte, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, ShirleneNibbs -Tourism Consultant and other consultant teams.

The Tourism Minister in his foreword to the team said:

“I expect this meeting to produce plans, strategies and outcomes that will set the tourism industry on an upward trajectory. From this meeting, I want new, creative ideas that will serve to considerably enhance our place in the world market as one of the leading tourism destinations globally.”

“We are facing fierce competition now – not only from our Caribbean neighbours, but also from further afield. How are we to meet that competition and better it?”, said the Minister.

The strategy session was led by consultant,ShirleneNibbs. Nibbs working with the team, presented the strategic overview of the tourism industry having made an assessment of the vision, mission and brand promise for the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism organisations.

Technicians focused on identifying key areas of the product that were critical to the success of the industry and on immediate plans of action to be taken. An evaluation was done on the accommodation, yachting, cruise and transportation sectors as well as on the visitor experience.

CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin C. James also announced new hotel developments coming on stream in the near future, and the economic opportunities available.

Airlift and Airport developments presentations highlighted new flights for Antigua and Barbuda and increases in airlift within various markets. “The destination is well served. We continue to make sure we grow the airlift, and the new airport allows us to grow this airlift from non-traditional markets,” said James. James also announced Eden Viaggi, the new Italian Charter for the destination which will be flying to Antigua from December come 2015.

Also announced today, were the 2015 marketing plans for the North American market and the UK, Ireland and Europe market. Within the UK, plans have been designed to target travellers with the potential to travel during the off peak periods of May/June and September to October, while in the North American market the focus will be on repositioning and recreating the buzz for the destination.

The tourism strategy and planning sessions being held have a number of objectives objective is to deliver plans to galvanize, energize and revitalize the industry; to create concrete and measurable results, generate more revenues and earn a larger share of the resources for the benefit of our country.

Day two of the session continues tomorrow with PR Plan Presentations, technicians engaging in further group interactive planning sessions, and a walk-through of the new airport terminfor Antigua.

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