Antigua And Barbuda Arrivals Hit Pre-COVID High

The Antigua and Barbuda tourism industry is in an upbeat mood following the release of July 2021 stayover arrival numbers that show that arrivals during the month have surpassed pre-Covid levels, as pent-up demand for travel, has tourists flocking to the twin-island paradise during the country’s traditional low season.

The Ministry of Tourism reports that stayover tourism arrivals for the month came in at a high with 23,405 tourists visiting Antigua and Barbuda via the V.C. Bird International Airport.

The July 2021 air arrival figures have surpassed 2019 arrivals, which during the record-breaking year for Antigua and Barbuda, stood at 23,031.

Minister of Tourism, The Honourable Charles Fernandez said, “There has been a visible change in the travel behaviour of our visitors brought on by the covid-19 pandemic and we continue to see a steady increase in arrivals during the summer months.”

The Minister continued: “July has been an extremely strong month with demand for the destination from the US Market as well as the UK market, booming, with growth above 2019 figures. We are also beginning to see an uptake from our Caribbean and Canadian market.”

From the main source markets, 15,350 of Antigua and Barbuda’s tourists travelled by air from the United States in July 2021 compared to 10,221 in July 2019. This is followed by 6,521 from the United Kingdom compared to 5,378.

With airlift still not up to pre-Covid levels, Antigua and Barbuda received 839 tourists from the Caribbean and 107 from Canada during the month.

Colin C. James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, said: “We are indeed buoyed by this continued upward trajectory in the air arrival numbers which is a clear indication that the recovery is well underway. This is particularly encouraging in that this July which is the best July ever for air arrivals was accomplished in a year when Antigua’s carnival was again cancelled due to the pandemic as compared to 2019 when we had carnival. This good news only serves to redouble our efforts for the remainder of the year.”

With air arrivals up, hoteliers across the country have been busy. Vernon A. Jeffers Snr. Executive Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association, reports that, “July saw a return to very high occupancies particularly across our mid-range sized hotels who performed at 80% and higher. We certainly hope that these occupancy levels are sustained over the next few months as travelers continue to make last minute decisions to travel to the destination.”

The good news continued as reports coming in from tourism stakeholders across the sector have also been positive. Tour operators, taxis and restauranteurs have indicated that they are experiencing an uptake in business for the month of July with some partners calling July 2021, “the best July in years even before Covid.” with increased bookings for the month, as well as going into August.

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