The Antigua and Barbuda Tourist Office unveiled its new brand identity during a presentation in London on Monday, as part of a drive to promote the islands as a top Caribbean destination. The new logo, branding and tagline, which took 18 months to develop, aims to give Antigua a more consistent global image and message to the travelling public.
“The importance of a successful brand in today’s world is paramount,” Carl Roberts, High Commissioner to the United Kingdom told dignitaries and press at the launch.
“It is one of the most powerful marketing tools we can utilise to differentiate our islands from our competitors and to project our key message.”
The fresh blue font with a palm tree logo instead of the “i” in Antigua tries to reflect the beauty and culture of the islands, including the strapline: “The beach is just the beginning…”
The unique selling points have also been refined with a fresh image bank and brand guidelines for advertisements, marketing and advertorial with a view to promoting the 365 beaches, cultural, culinary, recreational and historical offerings.
“Our new global identity helps to facilitate Antigua and Barbuda as an upmarket destination,” explained Roberts.
Increased competition in the Caribbean and the globe has meant that destinations have had to improve their offering in the marketplace.
“Our main competitors have had a strong brand presence for sometime,” says Carol Hay, Director International Brand Communications, Antigua and Barbuda Tourist Office,
“Our weakness was our fragmented approach to the international market.”
John Lawrence, a director at First City Advertising, who led the design project, commented: “We designed a brand that represented the core values—hospitality, warmth, friendliness - as well as Antigua and Barbuda being an aspirational destination”.
Although unable to provide a figure on the level of investment, Roberts revealed: “We have significantly more money than we have ever had in the past.”
It is also part of the tourist board’s remit to encourage investment and build investor confidence in the region.
Boosting capacity before the World Cup
Antigua and Barbuda is now aiming increasing its hotel capacity from 3,500 rooms to 4,000 by the end of 2006, which will rise to 5,000 rooms in five years time.
Recent developments on Antigua include the recent opening of The Cove restaurant. Sunsail’s Club Colonna is opening a new spa and is on the verge of completing a major refurbishment this later month.
A new spa is set to open at Curtain Bluff in October 2006 and Hermitage Bay is opening in September 2006. The Veranda is due to open in March 2007. Sandals are also spending $70 million expanding their Dickinson Bay resort.
The international airport upgrades will not be completed before March 2007 - which marks the arrival of the much-anticipated ICC Cricket World Cup. A tourism campaign associated with the cricket will drive tourists to the islands during this period.
To cope with a visitor influx, infrastructure is being developed across the Island in a bid to improve the road systems. The Sir Vivian Richards Stadium is also on target to open in time for the games.
In the coming months, Antigua and Barbuda plan to tap into the wedding and honeymoon market, which has seen a 16 percent increase in weddings for 2005 year on year.
The Ministry of Tourism in Antigua has announced plans to develop a Tourism Authority in Antigua that will oversee all global tourism projects and operations.
The Antigua and Barbuda Tourist Office UK will soon be relaunching its website with streaming video and newsletter features.
Harold Lovell, Minister for tourism and civil aviation commented: “With tourism playing such a large role in our economy and with competition at its greatest, it is essential that we promote a consistent global image of our islands to our stakeholders. The re-branding and new logo is just one vital component in the overall, long strategic plan to achieving sustainable tourism profits”.