Antigua and Barbuda’s delegation to the September 27- September 30, Seatrade Cruise Global Exhibition and Conference, led by Minister of Tourism and Investment, The Honourable Charles Fernandez comprised of key partners and representatives from both the public and private sector. The Country’s attendance at the world’s largest global cruise industry event is critical to the rebuilding of the cruise sector post the covid-19 pandemic.
The Antigua and Barbuda delegation held over a dozen face-to-face and virtual meetings with cruise executives, that provided the opportunity to inform the stakeholders about the nation’s capabilities pertaining to the massive port development project, tourism infrastructure investments, the transformation of eco-friendly Barbuda, and to place emphasis on the new mandatory vaccination mandate.
Antigua and Barbuda’s ‘sun, sea, and safe’ protocols that seek to ensure the safety of the cruise passengers and local community alike, were also shared. These will help to make the destination a ‘must’ for inclusion in the respective cruise itineraries.
The destination was able to confirm 85 calls for the remainder of the season with Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class Harmony of the Seas the largest ship in the world, which will be making its inaugural call to Antigua on November 24, with a second call on December 22.
Another notable achievement in rebuilding the cruise sector is the advent of Virgin Cruises the world’s newest cruise line which will make its inaugural call on November 17, 2022 with an additional 14 calls to end of the 2022/23 season.
In offering his comments on the success achieved in the local cruise industry so far, Minister of Tourism and Investment, The Honourable Charles Fernandez said, “The entire tourism sector, and particularly our cruise partners, have had an extremely difficult journey over the past 18 months. The fact that the Seatrade Cruise Global Conference is taking place this year albeit as a hybrid of in-person and virtual meetings; it brings a positive element of hope to the industry and faith in its ability to recover in an impactful way for the success of all partners. We are confident that Antigua and Barbuda has implemented measures that will allow us to welcome cruise guests in a safe and sustainable manner as we work to rebuild the sector”.
CEO of the Tourism Authority Colin C. James reported that, Antigua & Barbuda has welcomed 12 port calls with 2,858 passengers, since the reopening of the port in July of this year. Our goal is to continue to negotiate for more calls and to work with the Antigua Cruise Port (Global Ports Holding) to improve the seamless passenger welcome and the product experience. We are known in the industry for providing unique shore excursions that include a UNESCO World Heritage site, guided tours, diving, hiking, and local culinary immersions. These will continue but will now be done against the backdrop of ensuring the health and safety of our locals and visiting cruise guests”.