Antigua and Barbuda’s winter tourist season got off to a great start with an array of activities organised by the Ministry of Tourism to celebrate the annual Tourism Week.
This year the theme was “Enriching the Experience”, with Tourism Minister Harold Lovell explaining that “much emphasis was placed on this year’s Tourism Week as we hope to make it an all inclusive national event where everyone gets involved and recognizes the importance of the tourism industry to our national growth and development.”
“It is imperative that we as nationals know our product, and market diligently and professionally if we are to compete for international recognition as a leading tourism destination”, Minister Lovell continued.
One of the highlights of the week, “Trading Places”, was a creative initiative which saw tourism industry personnel, ranging from beach vendors to the Prime Minister, exchanging roles for the day. The Honourable Baldwin Spencer traded his job as Prime Minister to work on the Front Desk at Jolly Beach Resort.
Other industry officials who took part in the initiative included the Honourable Harold Lovell, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, who was a waiter Blue Waters Hotel, Lorraine Headley, Director General of Tourism, who spent the day with the housekeeping team at Blue Waters Hotel; and Carol Hay, Director of Marketing for the UK & Europe, who worked as a waitress at Jolly Beach Resort.
Asked how Carol Hay was enjoying trading places for the day she commented: “This is an invaluable experience and very educational. It is important to have an overall view of all aspects of tourism in Antigua and getting back to the ‘shop floor’ is the perfect way to do so. Every person who works in the tourist industry plays an important part in giving visitors to our island an unforgettable experience and today has really highlighted this.”
Carol Hay continued that “with the countdown for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, in the Caribbean, well and truly underway, Antigua and Barbuda is preparing for thousands of cricketing fans from around the globe to visit the twin island nation when it hosts six of the Super 8 matches between March 27 to April 8 2007. We want to make sure they have an unforgettable experience and I believe Tourism Week has helped to unite us in this cause.”
Other activities organised throughout the week included a Tourism Industry Conference, a Hospitality Industry Career Road Show and ‘Blast Off’, a day of live entertainment held in the capital St John’s. Nationals and passengers from the arriving cruise ships were treated to traditional Caribbean music, dance and also had the chance to sample local delicacies such as the award-winning Susie’s Hot Sauce.