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Antigua's tourism industry is thriving

The Caribbean island state of Antigua & Barbuda has reported rapid growth in visitor numbers since the beginning of this year, with a double-digit increase on the same period in 2015. The country's leading tourism industry figures say this is clear evidence the islands' new destination marketing strategy is working.

Antigua's tourism industry is thriving

The twin-island Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda saw tourism surge by more than a fifth in the first month of this year, compared to the same period in 2015, with a double-digit percentage increase month-on-month.

The latest figures from the country’s tourism office seem to confirm that the country’s investment in its tourism industry – that has included a new airport, resort developments and a reinvigorated marketing strategy – is yielding good results.

Based on figures from the previous year, which also recorded strong growth, there has been double-digit percentage growth in the number of visitors arriving by air to Antigua for every month of the first quarter in 2016. January saw the highest increase in visitors, with the country reporting 20% growth compared to the start of 2015. In March Antigua recorded 30,321 passengers arriving via the airport, up 16.4% from the previous year.

Overall, 84,566 people have travelled to Antigua in the first quarter of this year, which amounts to a total increase in visitor numbers of 13.5% when measured against data from 2015. The greatest increase in the market comes from the US, with 28% growth on last year. But there has also been a 25% increase in airlift from Italy, and 9% more visitors from the UK for March this year.

Antigua’s Tourism Minister Asot Michael said this is clear evidence that the country’s tourism strategy is working. Mr Michael explained:

“The renewed focus and direction of the government’s tourism, marketing and airlift policies are now reaping huge dividends. I would like to congratulate my entire team within the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and Ministry of Tourism whose hard work and dedication has been pivotal in achieving the success that we are now seeing.”

The upward trend is set to continue, according to the Antigua Hotels & Tourism Association, with local hoteliers reporting strong forward-bookings for the coming months. The increase in travellers to the island comes as the country steps up its travel and tourism marketing and investment with a new advertising campaign that began in November last year, a revamped website and a volley of travel agent deals and special offers.

Plenty of new resort developments are in the offing too, including the new multi-million pound Pearns Point project currently constructing new five-star hotels and private villas on a pristine peninsula in the south-west. Replay Resorts also announced that it will be taking over an old property beside one of the island’s most celebrated beauty spots at Half Moon Bay. Even Hollywood actors are getting in on the action, with Robert de Niro on board to finance a new resort in Barbuda.

Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority’s vice president for sales and marketing in Europe, Jean Marc Flambert said:

“As tourism generates about 60 per cent of our islands’ GDP, we are very pleased to see our visitor figures increasing.”

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