ABLP to build on their earlier successes promoting Antigua as Eastern Caribbean’s premier cruise destination
St. Johns, Antigua, July 22, 2014….In the early 2000’s the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) was at the forefront of developing the cruise industry for the twin islands as the first destination in the Eastern Caribbean to have four berths dedicated exclusively for cruise ships. In meetings with executives of the region’s leading cruise lines, the Honourable Asot Michael, Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy has committed to work expeditiously to improve the St. .Johns habour facilities and to work with the cruise lines on a long term relationship. This will ensure that their passengers have an improved visitor experience and the larger vessels, which will be delivered in the near future can be accommodated at the island’s port.
This commitment was made at meetings with representatives of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Minister Michael. TheHonourable Molwyn Joseph, Minister of Health and Environment, who brought his wealth of experience to the meetings participated in his capacity as a former Minister of Tourism. Other members of the delegation includedMr. Colin James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Mr. Nathan Dundas, Chairman, Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Association, and Mr. Rohan Hector, Chairman of the St. Johns Development Corporation. Minister Michael used the opportunity to share the government’s development plans to put Cruise Tourism back as a critical component of the destination’s tourism product. He stated that this begins with the upgrade of Port St. Johns to modernize the facilities in keeping with a long term infrastructural development.
Immediate plans for the upcoming season include work by the St. Johns Development Corporation to enhance the visitor experience with a new ground transportation dispatching facilitywere shared with the cruise lines. The long term initiatives to dredge the harbour along with plans for a complete new landside development were well received by the cruise lines. Minister Michael spoke of the Government’s plans to make English Harbour a duty free port,which will further drive economic activity with an improved shopping experience for cruise ship visitors.
The Minister pledged his support for joint investment opportunities between the cruise lines and the Government which will return the destination to its once leading position as a marquis cruise port in their itineraries. “The overall development of Antigua and Barbuda’s cruise industry will be against the backdrop of ensuring that there is sustainability in the destination’s strategies and day to day management and marketing. This coupled with the economic boom that will be realized by the Citizen by Investment Program (CIP), will improve our future prospects and our ability to compete effectively in the cruise industry”Minister Michael concluded.
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