The Antigua & Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association (ABHTA) has joined forces with the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Transportation, and Investment and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority to release a State of the Industry Report.
The report launch event featured presentations from important hospitality professionals, including Minister Charles “Max’ Fernandez, Chairman of the ABHTA Craig Marshall, Deputy General Secretary of the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union Chester Hughes, and CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin James.
The aim of the report is to encourage greater collaboration across all areas of the hospitality industry.
During the event, Minister Fernandez spoke about the destination’s visionary plan for 2032, highlighting five key areas of focus for the development of Antigua and Barbuda.
These areas include sustainability, the creation of authentic local experiences, the establishment of a strong legislative and policy framework, the investment in a highly skilled workforce, and the cultivation of an industry that benefits all Antiguans and Barbudans through economic linkages.
Minister Fernandez emphasized the importance of taking ownership of the industry and committing to environmental preservation and island growth. These foundational steps are necessary before the expansion of services to visitors..
Fernandez shared exciting news about the expansion of the room inventory in the upcoming months.
He said the Hawksbill Hotel will be reopening with 111 refurbished rooms just in time for the 2023/2024 season.
Meanwhile, the Curtain Bluff Resort is undergoing renovations, including the addition of a wellness area, which is expected to be completed by October 2023. In 2024, a new hotel called Moon Gate will be introduced, featuring 40 units.
Moreover, construction for the Nikki Beach Project is scheduled to commence in the fourth quarter of 2024. Lastly, in the first quarter of 2024, the new Royalton Chic development will launch phase one of its project, which will feature 230 rooms.
Craig Marshall, the Chairman of ABHTA, highlighted the vital role of improving the tourism industry by focusing on crucial factors, such as enhancing airlift, particularly from primary source markets like the UK.
He pointed out that a decline in flights from the UK during the past summer significantly affected the performance of many ABHTA members.
Marshall emphasized prioritizing sustained airlift during the summer months to ensure the destination’s year-round success.
Meanwhile, Marshall shared his insights on the projected performance for the winter of 2023/2024.
He pointed out that they are seeing positive signs of strong performance. However, he also acknowledged the challenges of managing escalating local operational costs, addressing high airfares that deter people from booking, and dealing with the persistent trend of short booking windows for travelers heading to the destination.
The CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin C. James, emphasized that the key to their airlift strategy is to balance the increase in room stock and demand for the destination with the airlift.
For the upcoming winter season of 2024, Antigua and Barbuda will have increased service out of the USA, Canada, and the Caribbean. They also expect new flights from Silver Airways, which will begin servicing the destination on November 16th.
Overall, the increased airlift is expected to enhance the island’s tourism product and further develop the tourism industry.