TOURISM MINISTER CALLS 2017 A LANDMARK YEAR FOR A&B TOURISM INDUSTRYThursday 22nd September 2016
Minister of Tourism the Hon. Asot Michael, discusses strategy with CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C. James, Jean-Marc Flambert UK Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Kim Jack-Riley US Director of Tourism and Tourism Consultant Shirlene Nibbs
September 16, 2016 (St. John’s, Antigua) – Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism The Honourable Asot Michael has said “2017 is set to be a landmark year for Antigua and Barbuda and for our tourism industry.”
A major focus on milestone events, new and exciting product and hotel developments, aggressive marketing strategies and a commitment by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to further increase investment in the destination’s main source markets, were just some of the topics the Tourism Minister addressed.
Minister Michael, at the time was speaking to senior leaders in tourism from all major source markets, and teams based in the head offices of the Ministry of Tourism and Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority as well as public relations partners from the overseas markets gathered in Antigua for the Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority annual two-day Strategy and Planning Meeting.
The Tourism Heads are going into the 2016/2017 winter season with the good news of positive growth over the summer months as a result of strong campaigns.
The latest tourism statistics collected up to August 2016 show stay-over tourism arrivals have increased by 9.29%.
Minister Michael said, “By 2019, it is estimated that the total number of stay over tourist arrivals by air will surpass 280,000 and the number of cruise arrivals will likely exceed 1,000,000 cruise tourists. We must, at a minimum, ensure that we meet these projected figures or even exceed them.
“We cannot however become complacent on our recent success and expect this growth to continue organically. We need to be strategic, dynamic, proactive and adaptive to all opportunities for strengthening and growing our tourism industry.
The Tourism Minister commented on the need to develop strategies to focus on competing destinations, Brexit, the US presidential elections, APD and other forms of taxation as well as to mitigate the fallouts from Zika within the region.
“Antigua and Barbuda has much to offer travelers and we must continually seek to discover and create ways to elevate our island in the mind of the travelling consumer and communicate that in such a way so as to distinguish us from amongst our Caribbean neighbors and to combat any negative perceptions of being located in a Zika region.
“I know that by working together we will produce formable creative plans and programs that will improve our product, attract new air and cruise lines and market and promote our country in such a way that we will continue to see increased visitor arrivals to our beautiful country.”
In his comments, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C. James stressed the strong marketing performance of the destination in July and August with double digit growth out of the US, UK and the Caribbean.
“We have just gotten the tourism receipts from the 2% tax that contributes to the Tourism Authority marketing fund, and for the first time ever, which is unheard of in July, the receipts have tipped the million dollar mark.
James said, “The visitor arrivals have been growing, we’ve had a strong season this summer and that has been translated into the funds we have now to do more marketing.”
Over the two day period, strategies and plans for the source markets: the UK, Europe, USA, Canada and the Caribbean as well as the Ministry of Tourism were presented for discussion the 2016/2017 winter season.
In collaborative discussions, the teams also brainstormed on developmental plans within the areas of accommodations, cruise, yachting, St. John’s city, airlift, sites and attractions.
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