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Newsletter 10 - 29th September 2014
 

This week sees the first anniversary of the Group Health Insurance plan that we introduced in collaboration with state Insurance and the Antigua Barbuda Workers Union. For the past twelve months employees through the industry whether in hotels or other member companies have been able to benefit from this health insurance.
A big welcome to another new member - Budget Car Rental ( see below). We are most pleased to see a car rental company as these have sadly been lacking from our membership and yet represent an important part of our tourism product.
Another packed newsletter this week with a lot of important information. Please keep the stories coming so that we can share them.
AHTA News
AHTA enrols over 1,800 workers for health insurance by the first anniversary of the scheme
 
This week marks the first anniversary (Oct 1) of the group healthcare programme established by the Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association (AHTA) and the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union for hotel industry workers by reaching a major milestone—the enrolment of over 1,800 participants into the scheme.

The AHTA & ABWU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with State Insurance in May 2013 providing health insurance to all permanent employees in hotels governed by their Collective Agreement, effective October 2013.

“We are delighted so many industry professionals chose to take part in the health care scheme,” AHTA Chairman Andrew Hedley said.
 
He added, “We are not only interested in the health of the tourism industry, but the health and welfare of the very people who drive it. I am urging every eligible worker to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.”
 
Read more...
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa focuses on "Value" All-Inclusive Vacationers with Updated logo and Targeted Promotion
 

The Jolly Beach Resort in Antigua, long known for an enjoyable "jolly" all inclusive vacation, is officially targeting value focused all-inclusive vacationers by launching a moderated logo and a new fall promotion, sure to pique the interest of any budget traveler.

"Jolly Beach Resort guests return mostly because of the value of our all-inclusive program, the spectacular beach, and overall good time everyone has while on vacation," says General Manager Vernon Jeffers. "So we want to highlight that this is an all-inclusive experience where a vacationer does not have to choose between fun and value, where the vacation is outside the room," he adds.

To focus on reaching this audience, the property recently removed the graphics from their logo and added a tag line "Antiqua's Best All Inclusive Value", while also offering a promotion for bookings made by September 30th that discounts up to 50% off for travel.
Read more...
Curtain Bluff Media Mentions

The accolades keep coming! In June Curtain Bluff was featured in Condé Nast Traveler (US edition). The flattering article described the resort as the perfect retreat to reconnect with family and friends and to take advantage of all the inclusive activities from sailing, snorkeling to tennis.

This month (September), Curtain Bluff was honored as one of 11 best hotels in the world (one of only 3 in the Caribbean) for all-inclusive vacations by Fodor's Travel.

New Member - Budget Car Rental

We welcome our latest member Budget Car Rental. Budget has been providing car hire services in Antigua since 1999. With nearly 15 years of experience Budget Car Rental provides excellent car rental services to both the general public and local business as well as to visitors planning their vacation. They have a variety of cars from compact to full size and 12 passenger vans as well, ranging from 2 door cars to 5 door cars. In addition to daily and weekly Car and Van rentals Budget can provide long term vehicles rentals for periods from 3 to 12 months on flexible term contracts.
Check them out at www.budgetanu.com
National Tourism News

Antigua and Barbuda launches innovative video campaign to engage North American Travel Trade Industry.

180,000 Travel Agents and Group Travel Planners will be exposed to Antigua and Barbuda as the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority launches an innovative all-video email campaign with Travelview’s HDVideoChannel.

The lively video campaign which begins this month, will run until March 2015, with twice monthly email blasts being circulated to virtually every seller in the US and Canadian markets.

The TravelView HD Campaign has a 93% cumulative open rate, and  high-conversion rate to destination and suppliers website. Trade partners are known to spend 3 – 5 minutes watching the videos, which can be conveniently done, from the comfort of their homes or within the office.

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, is excited about this cost-effective and highly efficient means of interacting with thousands of members of the North American travel industry; showcasing the destination and it’s hotel product. 

Promoted in the email blasts are the accommodation offerings of: Curtain Bluff, Antigua Village, Admiral’s Inn, Carib House, Galley Bay, St. James’s Club, The Verandah, Tranquility Bay and Carlisle Bay. The short video clips are a mixture of educational and promotional.

The programme allows the hotels, to provide  information on their special offers and incentives, and importantly links to travel agent training websites, allowing opportunities for members of the trade and hotel sales and business development teams to strengthen business relationships.

The first Travelview e-blast can be viewed here. The website allows for easy measurability with capabilities to track and report on email performance.

Antigua returns to daily year round flights with British Airways
Tourism Minister, The Honourable Asot Michael has today announced that Antigua and Barbuda will benefit from an additional flight with British Airways for the Summer 2015.

This increase comes, following a meeting held with British Airways officials yesterday at the BA headquarters in England, but also on the back of the airlines growing confidence in the destination.

The additional flight will take airlift available on British Airways from 6 to 7 daily, and will allow the airline’s seats to the destination to grow by twenty percent, making way for increased UK tourism arrivals.

Currently, Antigua and Barbuda is trending up with the airline.

Full story here

Minister Michael meets with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays on first official visit to the UK

Antigua and Barbuda’s new Tourism Minister, the Honourable Asot Michael, met with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays Airline Executives on Tuesday, as part of his hectic meeting schedule during his first official visit to the United Kingdom since being elected.

Virgin Holidays, one of the largest volume operators in the UK, works simultaneously with their airline partner Virgin Atlantic. Antigua and Barbuda is considered a key strategic route for the airline and has been a major player in its Caribbean leisure business.

Minister Michael said: “That as a consequence of our on-going collaboration with Virgin we have been able to grow arrival figures by 10% from the UK this year.”

The Minister added that “The Tourism Ministry has agreed to explore the possibility of a closer and mutually profitable relationship with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays.”

“Virgin Atlantic's new aircraft is configured with more upper class seats, moving from a modest 14 to 33” “This significantly benefits the destination and sits well with Antigua's client base of a more affluent and discerning passenger”, said Minister Michael.
Full story

Click the image above to watch a press conference by the Prime Minister, the Hon. Gaston Browne at the Lambs Club in New York City where he discusses tourism and investment.
Click the image above for a video round up of Minister Michael's trip to the UK.
Antigua & Barbuda's National Hero, Sir Viv Richards Honoured by the Lord's Taverners
 
Antigua and Barbuda’s only living National Hero Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards took centre stage last evening at Lords, the hollowed home of International cricket. The celebrity studded fund raising dinner was held in honour of Sir Vivian Richards by the Lord’s Taverners and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.

The Lord’s Taverners is one of the UK’s leading youth sports and disability charities who currently donate over £3 million pounds per year to programmes that give young people particularly those with special needs the opportunity to engage in Cricket and other sports.

All funds raised from the dinner will be split between two charities, with the Lord’s Taverners receiving 75% and with 25% going to the St John’s Cathedral Antigua Restoration Project. Sir Viv graciously accepted a cheque for a minimum agreed donation of £25,000. This cause was chosen by Sir Vivian as one that is close to his heart. The funds raised will provide a substantial contribution toward the restoration of one of the nation’s most iconic and historic landmarks.

Read more...

Hodges Bay Club to re-open
 
After months of speculation, Tourism Minister Asot Michael has confirmed that the now defunct Hodges Bay Club is scheduled for a soft opening within a few weeks.

In an interview with OBSERVER media, Michael said that the resort, which shut down in 2012, will be holding a soft opening some time in October.

“The Hodges Bay Club, they’re planning to have the soft opening early next month, and to have the final grand opening – that’s an additional 75 villas – by February of next year.”

Full story on antiguaobserver.com

CTO News
Happy World Tourism Day
from the Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Hugh Riley

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) joins the world in commemorating September 27 as World Tourism Day 2014.

We welcome this year’s theme of ‘Tourism and Community Development’ with great enthusiasm as it shines a much-needed spotlight on the importance of community involvement in tourism planning; a tenet of sustainable tourism and the core of the CTO’s mandate.

As the most tourism-dependent region in the world, the Caribbean relies upon its tourism decision makers to lead the industry to profitability and sustainability, understanding fully the extent to which the citizens of this Region rely upon the sector for their economic well-being. An estimated one in every 10 jobs in the Caribbean, as well as one of every five dollars of foreign exchange earnings is directly attributed to tourism.  More than anywhere else in the world, the Caribbean turns to its communities of stakeholders to deliver the hospitality and the superb vacation experience our Region needs in order to be truly competitive.
The full Message can be accessed here.
BookAntiguaNow Corner
 
 Hotels – Profile Maintenance!
 
As you know, the Regatta Extranet got an upgrade (http://extranet.regattatravelsolutions.com)!  While we were in the transition, our image uploader was deactivated on the old dashboard but the new image uploader on the new Extranet is working and ready for your new images!  There are two places to upload images: 1) The Hotel—General Information—Images tab and 2) The Hotel—Room Type Details.  We encourage you to update your hotel’s “look” online!  It is the first impression guests will have of your property!
 
Along with images, we’d also like for you to make sure the map featuring the location of your property is accurate.  To do this, on the extranet, please go to The Hotel—General Information—Location tab.  You will be prompted to define a Time Zone—Please choose America/Antigua.  Then, either type the hotel address or move the red marker on the map to identify the exact location of the hotel.  Remember to click on the Save button and the new location should be registered!

As always…
If you have questions or need help with any aspect of your profile on BookAntiguaNow.com, contact Martha Valdivia at
martha.valdivia@regattatravelsolutions.com.

How Many ‘Likes’ Equals an Actual Visitor to a Destination?

"Social media has been the darling of destination marketing for the last five years, but you may be surprised how those impressive Facebook and Twitter numbers translate to actual visitors."

— Doug Lansky - Skift.com

Destination marketing organizations have had some spectacular social media growth over the last six years.

The average year-over-year growth between 2006-2012 for Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter, WordPress, and Google+ is over 900%. That’s 900% growth per year across all platforms. Everyone with a social media presence should have amazing growth — even if they’re not that good at it.

The big question is: how do social media efforts translate into sandals on the ground? Social media has been around long enough to compare social data with arrival data, so let’s have a look.

May as well start with Australia, the reigning world social media champ with 5.9 million likes on Facebook. Their social media explosion occurred in 2011 and has been continuing to grow since. Between 2010 and 2011, their international arrivals increased by 3.8%. In 2012, when their Facebook fans jumped from 1.2 million to 4.1 million, international arrivals increased by 1.3%. In 2013, international arrivals increased by 4.9%. Those growth figures don’t put Australia in the top 15 growth destinations or even above average for growth in the region.

To read the full report on Skift.com click here
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Our mailing address is:
Island House. Newgate Street
PO Box 454
St John's
Antigua
Tel: (268) 462.0374 Fax: (268) 462.3702
E-mail: ahta@candw.ag

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