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Antigua's Marine Trade Association wants increased promotion for yachting during Antigua holidays

  • 09-Mar-12 16:56
  • Antigua
  • Caribbean News Digital

Yachting in Antigua has become largely synonymous with Sailing Week. The President of Antigua's Marine Trade Association has now called for greater efforts to promote yachting during Antigua holidays as one of the island's key tourism offerings.

Antigua's Marine Trade Association wants increased promotion for yachting during Antigua holidays

The President of Antigua’s Marine Trade Association (MTA) Franklin Brathwaite, believes that with a little more recognition, the yachting industry can make a larger contribution to the island’s tourism industry.

Mr Brathwaite has taken issue with the fact that greater efforts have not been made to promote yachting during Antigua holidays stating, “In some areas, like the wholesalers and the big supermarkets, we are aware of its economic impact, but the general public is not really aware of how important it is. This awareness is also absent from some areas of government... It is looked upon in some areas as something just for the elites to have pleasure, but it is really a major part of tourism in Antigua and Barbuda”.

Despite the fact that the beautiful island of Antigua has some of the best conditions for yachting in the Caribbean, thus far the nautical pastime has not gained much attention outside of the popular annual Sailing Week which usually takes place from the end of April to the beginning of May.

 Sailing in Antigua
Image by: IDEE_PER_VIAGGIARE, on Flickr

Accomplished sailor, Peter Holmberg of the Virgin Islands, who ranked number one on the World Match Racing Tour and winner of the America’s Cup and Olympic silver medallist stated the following of the event, “Antigua Sailing Week is still the most well known Caribbean sailing event around the world…Probably one of the main attractions of the regatta is that it provides the best ocean sailing conditions of all the Caribbean events, where you can expect big breeze and big seas, for some exhilarating rides. Sailors can really enjoy the great West Indian culture of Antigua, visit some of the spectacular beaches, and hang on for some true trade wind racing”.

However, tourism officials are yet to reap the full benefits of yachting as a key attraction for travellers on their winter or spring break holidays in Antigua. While the island’s annual Sailing Week event has been a huge success over the years and has always been widely promoted both locally and internationally, many fail to recognise that the season extends well beyond a mere week, running from December to May. Mr Brathwiate will, no doubt, consider it a shame that the island’s tourism officials and key stakeholders like the media and the wider population have not taken the opportunity to support the industry with more fervour despite encouraging endorsements from key spokespeople like Holmberg.

 Sailing in Antigua
Image by: FalmouthAntigua, on Flickr

A recent report released during Antigua and Barbuda’s Tourism Summit revealed that the island’s tourism industry was trailing behind other islands like Barbados and St. Lucia. In light of these findings, officials may consider heeding the MTA’s call and place a greater emphasis on promoting of the unforgettable experience that is yachting during Antigua holidays. Doing so may help to not only solidify the past time as a key pillar in the island’s tourism industry, beyond Sailing Week, but also help Antigua distinguish itself from its regional peers.

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