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Future looks sunny for Antigua and Barbuda's cruise industry

The Minister of Tourism for Antigua and Barbuda, Asot Michael, has announced its plans to enhance the cruise facilities on the twin-island Caribbean nation. The smaller island of Barbuda is to be turned into a cruise destination, while the main island of Antigua will see further construction work following an investment of nearly $50 million in the main harbour in St Johns last year.

Future looks sunny for Antigua and Barbuda's cruise industry

Asot Michael, the Minister of Tourism for Antigua and Barbuda, has revealed plans that will put the twin-island nation on the map as a leading cruise destination. After a recent meeting in Florida with key cruise industry members, the minister announced that the smaller island of Barbuda will become a new cruise destination for Eastern Caribbean itineraries.

Last year, the main island of Antigua saw the start of a $50 million investment project that improved the harbour in its capital, St Johns. The work included maintenance, dredging, and lengthening and strengthening the Heritage Pier so that it could accommodate larger vessels such as the Quantum-class size ships. Improvements were also made to the harbour facilities and the downtown area of Antigua. Once work was completed, the island celebrated the debut arrival of the Royal Caribbean’s ‘Anthem of the Seas’ in December.

Further plans for the country include additional dredging of the approach channel and turning basin area, the construction of a new fifth berth. Land work will also be carried out that will help to improve pedestrian and vehicle access, tour operations, and shopping areas.

“The cruise executives and itinerary planners were impressed with our vision for improving how Antigua will be welcoming their ships and passengers, and their feedback has helped us to better understand their specific needs for achieving sustainable growth.

“I am confident that we have developed the right masterplan, and it is now up to our Government to find more financing to complete what we started last year when we successfully implemented critically needed marine improvements at St. John’s Harbour and the Heritage Pier.”

Stated Asot Michael.

The nation’s government is now working with the cruise industry to address their needs and make sure the appropriate work is successfully carried out. During his trip to Florida, Mr Michael met with main cruise lines including Princess Cruises. Royal Caribbean, NCL, Seabourn, MSC, Holland America, and Carnival to discuss future opportunities.

The islands of Antigua and Barbuda sit between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and are home to idyllic tropical landscapes including unspoilt white sand beaches that are fringed with thriving reefs and the turquoise sea. Popular attractions include Nelson’s Dockyard, Fort James, the Museum of Antigua, Mount Obama, Signal Hill, Stingray City, the 11 Mile Beach, and the Frigate Bird Sanctuary.

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