Antigua & Barbuda is preparing to host the World Travel Awards North America & Caribbean Gala Ceremony next month as it continues its ascent to the pinnacle of global tourism.
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa was awarded hosting rights earlier this year, with hundreds of top industry insiders expected to arrive for the event on September 14th.
Minister of tourism, civil aviation and culture, John Maginley, explains: “Antigua & Barbuda is honoured to be associated with the prestigious World Travel Awards.
“Having the awards take place in our beautiful country will allow us the opportunity to showcase the wide-range of resorts, tourist attractions and activities available on the island to the movers and shakers within the global tourism industry.”
Hosting the event could not have come at a better time for the Caribbean destination, which has seen its stock rise around the world after a sustained period of investment.
Maginley adds: “This has been an amazing year for us, as we have focused our energies on enhancing the quality of our tourism product and preparing for growth, with a number of projects.”
Significant developments have included the constriction of a new terminal at the VC Bird International Airport.
“These new airport developments will enhance the passenger experience, allowing for the safe and efficient movement of the growing passenger traffic that Antigua and Barbuda receive yearly,” adds Maginley.
The new terminal’s sleek design and modern touches will catapult VC Bird into the major leagues, where Caribbean airport terminal buildings are concerned.
It will feature four jet-bridges, six climate-controlled aircraft access gates and modern amenities to assist local officials and airlines with the safe and efficient movement of the growing passenger traffic that the airport handles yearly.
For the upcoming winter season the destination has now secured additional airlift with daily flights from American Airlines from both JFK New York and Miami.
Virgin Atlantic will also increase its flight to four per week with all being direct to Antigua.
“This coupled with daily service from British Airways and a once weekly service out of Manchester operated by Thomas Cook represents the largest airlift ever operated into our destination from the UK,” adds Maginley.
“From Canada we now have new year round service from WestJet in addition to Air Canada.
“Winter charters from Italy on Blue Panorama and Germany with Condor, all demonstrate a renewed confidence in Antigua & Barbuda as a premier tourist destination.”
St John’s Cruise Terminal
Work has also begun putting plans in place to modernise the cruise ship facilities in Port St. John’s, with the destination working alongside partners towards long-term infrastructural developments.
For the upcoming cruise season small cruise ship vessels will be making beach-stops to Barbuda.
“What’s even more exciting is that visitors to Antigua & Barbuda can expect to see new improvements to the city in the near future as the government moves ahead with plans to incorporate new ground transportation dispatching facilities within the cruise facility to enhance the visitor experience, and ensure our cruise guests are dispatched on their tours as efficiently as possible.
“Additional new retail spaces will also enhance the Heritage Quay shopping district,” explains the minister.
The Antigua & Barbuda Cruise Tourism Association, the Antigua Pier Group, the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority and the St. John’s Development Corporation have begun putting plans in place towards making long-term infrastructural developments to the Port of St. John’s.
The plans aim to modernise the current cruise ship facilities to provide an easily accessible and safe port environment, while improving the quality of life and experience for visitors and residents alike.
A Harbour Development Plan includes not just maintenance dredging of the harbour, but additional dredging and infrastructural work on the piers and to comfortably accommodate the Oasis Class ships.
This work is to be undertaken during slow summer season.
Antigua & Barbuda revealed aspects of their new integrated online and mobile strategy in early 2013 with the creation of a new global website.
The website will be produced in seven languages to appeal to Antigua and Barbuda’s new and existing tourism markets.
It features a world leading content management system and best in class design, using high quality rich content and video.
The site and the newly developed iPhone and iPad apps make the booking process for those planning to holiday in Antigua and Barbuda simple and enjoyable, with visitors capable of booking everything from their flights and accommodation, excursions and even a table at their favourite restaurant.
“Our new web presence has so far presented us with a unique opportunity to efficiently reach our target market as we continue our drive to showcase two of the most beautiful islands in the world to the modern and discerning traveller,” says Maginley.
World Travel Awards will be visiting Antigua on September 14th as part of its 20th anniversary Grand Tour.
There is more information on the official website.