ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA TOURISM OFFICIALS ATTEND SEATRADE EUROPE’S LARGEST CRUISE CONVENTIONMonday 30th September 2013
Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Officials continue their relentless marketing efforts to negotiate for more cruise call when they successful showcased the attributes and attractions of the destination, at Seatrade Europe time in Hamburg Germany. The annual three-day event held from September 24th – 27th is the largest gathering of Cruise Tourism Officials in Europe.
The two-member delegation made up of CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin C. James, and Nathan Dundas President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Association, were joined By Dr. Wierner Giersch the country’s Honourary Counsel in Germany in conducted a packed schedule of meetings with European Cruise Executives.
Antigua and Barbuda continues to collaborate with its other Caribbean neighbours to ensure the most cost effective way of making greater inroads into the European cruise market. The country came together as part of a group of 15 regional destinations to collaborate in sharing one stand space at the convention. The joint “Caribbean Village” concept provided a location to conveniently meet and negotiate with the European cruise executives.
CEO of the country’s Tourism Authority Colin James commented that “Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the Caribbean faces increased competition from other global cruising regions as Cruise lines seek to deploy their vessels wherever they can make the best return on their investments. We view the steady growth in the European market as an opportunity to extend our reach, ensure that our destination is included in new itineraries to drive incremental calls to the destination”.
In meetings with Kay-Uwe Marob, Vice President of Port Operations for German Cruise lines Aida Cruise Lines we were informed that Antigua and Barbuda continues to perform well and delivers excellent service to Aida’s passengers. The provision of German language tour guides was particularly noted, as something that’s very important for European cruise passengers. 9 calls will be included in their itinerary for this season with an increase to 11 calls for the ensuing season 2014/15.” added James.
The MSC Cruise line although maintaining 16 calls for this season and 2014/15 will now bring 3,250 passengers per call an increase of 750 passengers per visit for the upcoming season. MSC ships will now arrive at 1:00 pm with an 8:00 pm departure, which will effectively extend the cruise shopping day for local businesses whenever their ships call in St Johns.
In other discussions with Tine Oelmann, Director, Port Operations, Shore Excursions & Ground Handling, for TUI Cruises, The destination was informed that Antigua and the Barbuda continues to perform well for TUI Passengers.
TUI Cruises currently has two new ships the Mein Schiff 3 and Mein Schill 4 under construction. Although there are no plans to immediately deploy them to the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda will be considered as a perfect fit for their product whenever this decision is made.
Nathan Dundas Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Association said “our main objective at Seatrade Med was to meet specifically with the European cruise lines whose business to Antigua has been growing steadily, and to brief all the cruise lines on the latest updates to the destination facilities such as planned dredging activities to accommodate the larger ships, improvements to the land side taxi dispatching service, and the construction of the new Blue Skies Entertainment Park” The completion of these projects is critical if we are to remain competitive and continue to offer world-class facilities and services to cruise ships, as well as innovative experiences to their guests” added Dundas.
Negotiations with Javier Marin Martinon Corporate Strategy and itinerary Planning Manager for the Pullmantur Group were particularly encouraging. Pullmantur previously called at the destination several years ago but stopped after a change in their itinerary. They explained this was done only to offer a different itinerary to their other European competitors on the region. They were informed of a number of incentives that were particular attractive for them calling during the summer. The destination will have confirmation by December of this year if Pullmantur ships will return in following season 2014/15.
The Antigua and Barbuda team also used the opportunity to update the cruise executives of the completion of the new International Airport in 2014. The news of a new airport facility with all its enhancements was very well received by the cruise lines. It means that with an ability to handle a larger number of passengers, Antigua and Barbuda can now be considered as an embarkation point on European cruise itineraries.
Seatrade Europe 2013 attracted over 250 exhibitors from some 50 countries with the who’s who of the industry in attendance. The event presented Antigua and Barbuda with a not to be missed opportunities to meet its many valued cruise clients, and update them firsthand with information that is critical in the development of their Caribbean cruise itineraries. The importance of maintaining and cultivation these business partnerships is critical to the success of the country’s cruise industry.
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