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Antigua hosts its biggest ever travel showcase

Antigua and Barbuda has stepped up its travel industry engagement, hosting its largest ever travel showcase last month that attracted scores of travel agents and tour operators from across the world to meet representatives from the island's tourism sector.

Antigua hosts its biggest ever travel showcase

The Caribbean twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda continued to step up engagement with the travel and tourism industry last month when it hosted Showcase Antigua from 20-21 May 2016. Attracting a record number of travel agents and tour operators from across the globe as well as local hoteliers and tourism representatives, the Showcase was the island's biggest yet.

The third annual event of its kind, the Showcase kicked off with a carnival-themed evening cocktail reception at Ocean Point Resort in Antigua's beautiful Hodge's Bay area, before continuing with meetings between hotels, suppliers and agents at Jolly Beach Resort and Spa the following day.

The Showcase was a collaborative effort of the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association, the Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority to build business partnerships within the travel trade and step up destination marketing.

The opening event hosted officials from the government's tourism ministry and tourist board, as well as local hoteliers and resort owners who mixed with delegates from more than forty tour operators and travel agents mainly based in the UK, US, Italy and the Caribbean. Attendees included Antigua's Tourism Minister Asot Michael, as well as delegates from travel companies such as Expedia, Secret Escapes, Tropical Sky and the Holiday Place.

Guests at the beautifully-decorated outdoor reception were treated to nibbles from an elaborate Italian-inspired buffet beneath a pool-side marquee, Caribbean rum cocktails and entertainment from local steel pan band Halcyon Steel Orchestra. The shindig also featured dancers and performers from the Antigua Dance Academy, as well as show girls adding colour and flair to proceedings by posing for pictures with delegates while modelling costumes from Myst Carnival.

In a speech at the event to mark the official opening of the Showcase, Chair of Antigua Hotels and Tourism Association, Alex DeBrito, spoke of his enduring love for Antigua. He said he had first visited Antigua for work and remembers calling home to say he had found the place where he wanted to spend his life and raise his children.

Antigua's tourism representatives used the Showcase to build partnerships with the worldwide travel industry as well as promoting new hotel projects and additional airlift. They also highlighted new developments such as Antigua's large and modern airport terminal, which opened in August 2015 with increased airport capacity.

According to Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association's General Manager, Neil Forrester, this year's event saw record numbers of attendance from travel agents, tour operators and hotels, making it the largest event of its kind in the north-eastern Caribbean.

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