Eight Ministers of Tourism, including two Deputy Prime Ministers, recently attended the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) annual convention at Beaches Resorts in Turks and Caicos from August 28 to 31.
Among the delegates were distinguished personalities such as Minister of Tourism and Foreign Affairs for Antigua and Barbuda Charles Fernandez, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and Investment from Saint Lucia Dr. Ernest Hilaire, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation for the Bahamas Chester Cooper, the host Minister from the Turks and Caicos Josephine Connelly, Minister of Tourism and Transportation for Barbados Ian Gooding Edghill, Minister of Tourism and Economics for Curacao Ruisandro Cijntje, and Minister of Tourism and Economic Development for Grenada Lennox John Andrews.
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett also participated via video conferencing.
During the convention, Antigua and Barbuda’s Tourism Minister Charles Fernandez highlighted the unique experience his country has to offer, emphasizing the friendliness and welcoming nature of the Antiguan people.
He praised the low crime rate in the region and expressed his gratitude for being able to share firsthand knowledge of his home country with the travel advisors in attendance.
Fernandez also commended Sandals and ASTA for their efforts to bring travel industry advisors to the Caribbean to experience and understand what the region has to offer.
Chief Executive Officer of ASTA Zane Kerby expressed his confidence in the future of the hospitality sector in Antigua and the Caribbean.
He emphasized the importance of having so many tourism ministers at the meeting for the future development and growth of the region’s tourism sector.
Kerby also praised the role of travel advisors in directing visitors to the region and declared that Sandals Resorts was the Caribbean’s best partner in this regard.
Fernandez echoed these sentiments, stating that Sandals and Beaches were the top brands in the Caribbean and that any island hosting one of these resorts automatically became a destination of choice in the region.
ASTA has announced that its 2024 convention will take place at Sandals Royal Curacao in August next year, where the association hopes to build on the success of this year’s convention.