The Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority has announced further US$90 million phased investment into the cruise infrastructure on the islands as part of its ‘Cruise Masterplan’.
Minister of tourism Asot Michael revealed the latest developments to cruise industry’s key players during a recent trip to Florida.
New elements of the plan include plans to create a new cruise destination on sister island Barbuda.
The new beach-focused, outer-island cruise destination is designed to deliver an authentic and unprecedented experience for an Eastern Caribbean cruise itinerary and to newly position Barbuda on the regional cruise map.
Works for the masterplan commenced in 2016 with a US$50 million investment on the main Antigua harbour in the capital, St. Johns.
This included maintenance dredging, lengthening and strengthening the Heritage Pier to allow for the berthing of larger ships, up to a Quantum-class size, as well as major improvements to Antigua’s facilities and downtown area.
This allowed for the arrival of Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas in December 2016 heralding the start of what is expected to be a new growth phase for the Antiguan cruise sector.
Other elements of the master plan include further dredging of the approach channel and turning basin area, the creation of a fifth berth, and land reclamation to help with major improvements to pedestrian and vehicle flows, town aesthetics, tour operations and shopping.
The Antigua and Barbuda government is working closely with the cruise industry to ensure the masterplan addresses its needs
Michael elaborated: “The cruise executives and itinerary planners were impressed with our vision for improving how Antigua will be welcoming their ships and passengers, and their feedback has helped us to better understand their specific needs for achieving sustainable growth.
“I am confident that we have developed the right masterplan, and it is now up to our government to find more financing to complete what we started last year when we successfully implemented critically needed marine improvements at St. John’s Harbour and the Heritage Pier.”