Travellers to Antigua and Barbuda will have easier access by air following a series of successful meetings led by the Honourable Asot Michael, Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy and held with executives of American Airlines in Miami, Florida and Delta Airlines in Atlanta, Georgia.
The meeting with American Airlines was convened in their Miami offices with their Director of Marketing Development for the Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America, Gary Alfson. The Minister was accompanied by the Honourable Molwyn Joseph, Minister of Health and the Environment. Both Minister Michael and Minister Joseph, who comes with a wealth of experience as a former Minister of Tourism, used the opportunity to share the new Government’s vision for the tourism industry. Other members of the delegation included Mr. Colin James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Mr. Rohan Hector, Chairman of St. Johns Development Corporation and Mr. Neil Forester of the Antigua and Barbuda Hotels and Tourist Association.
The delegation next met with Mrs. Christine Kennedy, General Manager and Global Partnership Development at Delta Airlines in their Atlanta office, who welcomed the opportunity to discuss in detail areas of collaboration that will grow the country’s airlift with Delta Airlines.
Minister Michael used the opportunity to share information with both parties on the improvement visitors to Antigua and Barbuda can expect to see on arrival with the new airport terminal that is expected to open in March 2015. He also spoke of new property developments at South Point Falmouth that was recently opened and the coming Sandals Beaches Resort and the Yida International Investment Resort project that are in the advanced planning stages. The airline executives were pleased to hear of Antigua and Barbuda’s relaxation of visa requirements for visitors from China and Latin American countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Chile as well as the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP), which will propel demand for new investments in Antigua and Barbuda.
As a result of the negotiations with American Airlines, the carrier will continue with their four weekly flights from JFK International Airport, New York to Antigua for the start of this year’s winter season in November. In September and October, American Airlines will have two flights from JFK, with a late 5:00 p.m. departure on Friday and Sundays, which will overnight in Antigua and depart the next day. This will allow connections over JFK from the all-important European markets. Negotiations continue for a second daily departure on Saturdays and Sundays from the all important, Miami, Florida gateway to Antigua.
At the meetings with Delta Airlines, a second flight to Antigua out of the Atlanta, Georgia gateway was confirmed. This will allow air access for travellers from Atlanta as well as from the feeder markets of Minneapolis, Detroit, St. Louis and Kansas City.
In closing, Minister Michael gave his commitment to the airline partners to take under consideration a comprehensive marketing program to include Sales, Public Relations, Advertising and Promotions to build awareness for Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism product in primary markets in the Northeast and the Southern corridor of the USA.