Tourism has bounced back, according to Tourism Minister Charles Max Fernandez who provided the Cabinet with evidence of his declaration when they met for their weekly meeting on Wednesday.
“The growth and the demand for rooms in Antigua are quite evident,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez shared a publication by the Antigua and Barbuda Hotel and Tourism Association (ABHTA) juxtaposing occupancy performance for the period January-to-August months for 2019 and 2022.
According to the weekly Cabinet notes, the data did not include 2020 and 2021 since they were the most intense years of Covid. The chart shows the availability of rooms for 3-Star, 4-Star and 5-Star hotel properties in Antigua during the period.
“In the months of June, July and August occupancy rates in 2022 exceeded the rates in 2019, attesting to the aggressive marketing by the Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority,” he said.
Meanwhile, the North wing of the old Halcyon Hotel has been demolished to make way for two hundred and fifty new rooms, during the first phase of the reconstruction. Halcyon was at first the Caribbean Beach Club (CBC) which opened its doors to visitors around 1960, or sixty-two years ago.
It has welcomed hundreds of thousands of guests over the years and has served as a foundation of the embryonic tourism industry in Antigua. It sits on one of the most beautiful beaches in Antigua.
Fernandez said the second phase of development will cause bungalows to be built on the hillsides above the hotel.
Both construction phases will employ more than 450 workers, each will last more than two years, he said.
All this comes as Sunwing International has commenced the investment just as it did with the Royalton -formerly Royal Antiguan Hotel- three years ago, turning a rundown property into a world-renowned 5-Star resort.
And, there’s good news too for Barbuda, because Robert Dinero has already planted a Nobu restaurant on Barbuda and is planning to expand his investment by building a 5-Star Nobu Resort beginning early next year.
“Barbuda will become a place for high-net-worth visitors from all around the world. The new Airport Terminal, a new FBO, and a new runway capable of accommodating jets as large as the Boeing 727 will be able to land on Barbuda,” Fernandez said.
“The future of Barbuda is great”, the Minister of Tourism declared.
The Peace Love and Harmony Project, well according to Fernandez is currently under construction in Barbuda; more than 600 workers are employed there, building private homes, bungalows, and multiple suites.
The project is worth more than 2 billion dollars.