Newsletter 25 -

16th March 2015

Antiguan Dream

With lush views and clear water, Antigua is a prototypical island paradise. However, it also has a unique culture all its own

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The Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association in collaboration with the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority presents the 2015 edition of “SHOWCASE ANTIGUA BARBUDA”  on Saturday 6th June at the Grand Royal Antiguan Beach Resort. This event provides one full day of pre-scheduled appointment sessions where Wholesalers and Tour Operators from our key source markets can meet and conduct business with local and regional suppliers within the tourism industry.
Once again the ABTA UK office in partnership with British Airways will be bringing across 20 tour operators from the UK to attend the event. We have already received several confirmations from our partners in North America that they will be attending.
New this year will be a trade expo where suppliers to the tourism sector can exhibit their products. We are inviting all purveyors both local and international to be part of this trade expo.
For full details on the event and how to register click here
Over the Weekend of March 7th & 8th Antigua and Barbuda were being promoted at the Travel & Adventure Show in Washington DC.
The AHTA teamed up with the ABTA at the Travel & Adventure Show in Washington DC to attract more visitors from US capital. This is the second largest of the Travel & Adventure Shows with over 20.000 visitors and it was an extremely busy show with a lot of interest shown in the destination.
CHTA Education Foundation accepting scholarship applications from Antigua & Barbuda tourism & hospitality students
Antigua & Barbuda students and industry professionals are encouraged to apply for a scholarship from the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF) so they can pursue higher education or professional development in the tourism and hospitality field. Scholarships are awarded with support from CHTAEF sponsors including Virgin Holidays, Interval International, FirstCaribbean International Bank, Johnson & Wales University and Florida International University.
CHTAEF is accepting applications for its scholarship program until March 30, 2015 at 5 pm Eastern Caribbean Time. Applications forms are availble here  Applications must be submitted with the approval of the AHTA in order to be considered.
Scholarships are awarded for study at any approved college or university including, but not limited to, the University of West Indies and local community colleges throughout the Caribbean.
Scholarship recipients will be advised of their approval status and, if accepted, the amount of their award, no earlier than May 25, 2015.
More information here

New Members

Since our last newsletter we have two new associate members
The Rendezvous Company - Now firmly established as Antigua’s number one Tour Operator with over 32 unique, innovative and exclusive tours, all professionally run by our extensively trained Guides offered to most leading cruise lines visiting Antigua.   Our tours range from low minimum niche tours to high volume and extremely popular tours. We offer a variety of tours to suit all demographics including Beach, Private Island, Golf, Zip Lining, Segway, Helicopter, Island & Historical Tours and St John’s City Walking Tour (we are the first and only Tour operator to offer these tours with the Whisper Listening System), Beach Horseback, Private Yachts, Hiking, and catamaran tours. 

Sting Ray City - Your Stingray City Antigua Snorkel Adventure will be the highlight of your vacation, and an experience that will live with you forever. Our Southern Rays are without doubt The Brightest Rays in the Caribbean, very friendly and gentle. Come and enjoy with us this unique experience of touching and feeding a Stingray, together with snorkeling amongst magnificent coral reefs and colorful tropical fish. The Southern ray is known as the puppy dog of the sea, always looking for attention and a snack
We have recently added the following the statistics page of our website
1) Hotel occupancy statistics for February 2015
2) Air arrival figures for February 2015
3) Cruise passenger figures for 2014 and year to date 2015
Upcoming Trade Shows

Travel & Adventure Show Philadelphia
The second largest largest of the Travel & Adventure Shows will be in Philadelphia on March 21st & 22nd. This is the first Travel & Adventure Show in Philadelphia. The ABTA New York Office will be attending this show which will no doubt attract a large audience. If you would like your material to be distributed at this show contact Dean Fenton in New York or Neil at the AHTA office.
National News
New Strategy for Tourism” announces Tourism Minister, as he calls in Tourism Technicians in two-day round table session

Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Asot Michael, has charged technicians in The Ministry of Tourism and The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, to be custodians of the country’s economic growth.

“We have many projects coming on stream. We have the responsibility to fill those rooms. But, while that is happening, we have a few existing properties that are non-performing. We have to figure out what can be done to make those properties vibrant again.”

The Tourism Minister made the remarks yesterday as he met with over thirty-five technicians from the product development and marketing bodies of the organizations under his leadership, in a two day strategy and planning workshop. Prior to the strategy meeting the individuals responsible for the various overseas offices, held separate meetings with almost every hotel on island, where they met with the respective General Managers to gather critical feedback. This information will be incorporated into the destination's marketing plans to ensure appropriate buy-in to the final plans. Full story here

Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Stakeholders meet with IMF, Central Bank and Caribbean Development Bank Delegation
Antigua and Barbuda’s Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Authority officials led by Tourism Minister Hon. Asot A. Michael met with a joint delegation comprising the IMF, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank CDB who were on island to conduct their biannual assessment of the country’s economic performance.
The country’s Tourism team was augmented by other Ministry officials representing the areas of Economic Development, Investment and Energy. These included Chairman of the St. Johns Development Cooperation Rohan Hector, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Development Investment and Energy Paula Frederick-Hunte, Tourism Consultant Shirlene Nibbs, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C. James, Ambassador Brian Challenger and St Clair Soleyn Project Manager in the Ministry of Tourism.
Full story here
Minister of Tourism leads delegation on inaugural visit to Berlin, Germany
The Honourable Asot Michael, Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment, and Energy completed his inaugural visit to  Berlin, Germany last week.  The Minister attended three conferences to seek new hotel investment and forge closer relationships with German tour operators and airline partners.  Travelling with the Minister as part of his delegation were Ambassador Brian Challenger, Mr. Rohan Hector - Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority; Hans Kupin - Economic Envoy for Antigua and Barbuda in Germany, new Vice President of Sales and Marketing for UK and Europe Mr. Jean-Marc Flambert and Cherrie Osborne - Director of Tourism UK & Europe. Full story here

Antigua & Barbuda's UK Joel Henry represented the destination at 2015 Unite Caribbean In London. The original and well-established 'one-stop-shop' event for UK and European based tour operators
to hold informal, pre-booked, one-to-one meetings with tourist boards, hoteliers, representation companies, airlines, ground handlers and car hire companies from the Caribbean region.
Also attending were, Blue Waters, Inn at English Harbour ,Curtain Bluff, Hermitage Bay, Rex Resorts, Sandals, Elite Island Resorts, Sugar Ridge ,Carlisle Bay and Jumby Bay.

Regional News

CHTA names Vanessa Ledesma-Berrios Chief Operating Officer

Emil Lee, president of  CHTA announced that longtime employee Vanessa Ledesma-Berrios has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer making her the first female to hold such a commanding  position within the CHTA.  Vanessa will work along with CHTA's new executive team comprised of Frank Comito, Chief Executive Officer and Matt Cooper (Chief Marketing Officer), to execute the association's strategic plans and serve the membership of 32 National Hotel Associations and over 600 hotels and 300 allied members


Other News...
Expedia and Strengthen Partnership
Expedia yesterday that they have strengthened and deepened their partnership with, Inc., the Latin American online travel company that operates the Decolar and Despegar branded websites across the region. The expanded commercial agreement includes deeper cooperation on hotel supply through the Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN) and an equity investment by Expedia, giving them a minority stake in Despegar.
Building on the commercial relationship the two companies have had since 2002, the expanded agreement broadens Expedia’s powering of Decolar’s hotel supply and introduces the opportunity for Decolar to provide Expedia access to its hotel supply in Latin America. The customers of both companies will benefit from the broad, shared selection of hotels, and hotel partners will gain increased access to travelers in Latin America and around the world.
Expedia is excited to bring increased access to Latin American travelers. Phocuswright forecasts that the Latin American travel market will grow to $98.5 billion in gross bookings by 2016, up 23% from 2013, with online channels (including supplier websites and online travel agencies) growing by more than 50% during the same period.
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Island House. Newgate Street
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St John's
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