TOURISM STAKEHOLDERS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT “SHOWCASE ANTIGUA & BARBUDA” SYMPOSIUMThursday 5th June 2014
Tourism officials have high hopes for the inaugural Showcase Antigua & Barbuda destination symposium as the international tourism event kicks off today at Sandals Grande Antigua.
Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation John Maginley said the Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association (AHTA) and the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) sponsored symposium is a step in the right direction for the nation’s tourism product.
“I am very pleased that our destination is hosting this, the first ever travel & trade destination showcase for Antigua & Barbuda. Coming off of such a robust winter tourist season, the premiere of ‘Showcase Antigua Barbuda’ will allow us to continue to work with our international partners to directly introduce them to our superb local tourism product,” Minister Maginley said.
Forty local tourism industry suppliers—including hotels of every size, local destination management companies (DMCs), attractions international tour operators and other tourism-based service providers—are taking part in today’s event. Regionally, two hotels from Anguilla and one from Nevis are also participating.
During the daylong event, local suppliers have the opportunity to network with 32 international buyer participants—from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe—in 20-minute slots.
The first of its kind initiative for the twin-island nation, Showcase Antigua Barbuda is being described as “speed dating” for tourism professionals by AHTA General Manager Neil Forrester.
“Tour operators are the life blood of our tourism industry. Giving our hoteliers the opportunity to have the undivided attention of international wholesalers for short periods of time peaks the buyers interest and can translate into increased sales for local providers,” Forrester said.
Chief Executive Officer of the ABTA, Colin James, said the nation intends to build on the international appeal of the symposium and endeavours to shape Antigua & Barbuda as a regional centre for tourism innovation.
“With international buyers attending this event, the symposium is a testament to the calibre of our tourism product, with the aim of making Antigua & Barbuda a business-to-business hub for the English-speaking Leeward Islands,” said James.
Yesterday evening, participants attended a welcome reception held at Sandals Grande Antigua. CEO of the ABTA, Colin C. James welcomed guests and AHTA chairman Andrew Hedley made additional remarks. The evening closed with an address by Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Hon. John Maginley.
For further Showcase Antigua & Barbuda information, visit www.http://members.antiguahotels.org/events-programmes/showcase-antigua/ or contact the AHTA at 462-0374.
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