The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) wrapped up a series of strategy meetings as marketing teams all gathered in Antigua for face-to-face meetings — the first since COVID-19 — to discuss the future of marketing for the destination.
The ABTA Board, CEO, and Directors with responsibility for the United States, United Kingdom & Europe, Canada, Latin America & The Caribbean, alongside their teams, were locked into sessions where they reviewed key elements of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority brand and marketing strategy.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism and Investment, The Honourable Charles Fernandez told the teams ahead of the meetings to bear in mind that the “Vision 2032 plan published by the Ministry of Tourism will only be achieved if we succeed in creating economic value for locals and residents through maximum linkages.”
The meetings took place at a time when Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism stay-over arrival numbers have surpassed pre-pandemic levels. July, August, and September 2022 tourism arrivals have outperformed those of 2019, previously considered the best summer ever for the destination.
In August 2022, the destination welcomed 20,125 at the V.C. Bird International Airport. This is 2,472 more persons than in benchmark year, 2019 when arrivals stood at 17,653.
The August 2022 stayover tourism arrivals have also exceeded those of August 2021 when Antigua and Barbuda received 18,792 visitors.
Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s Chairman, Dr. Lorraine Raeburn, declared to teams at the start of the meeting that, “Now is the time to review, re-evaluate and make sure we are aligned to the new traveller and the rapidly changing industry.”
In an appeal for collaborative partnerships across the industry, the ABTA Chairman is “also galvanizing the support and energy of all stakeholders, anticipating that our revitalized vision inspires you to join us on this journey.”
Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s CEO, Colin C. James summarized the approach of this year’s strategy meeting saying, “At this stage of our growth, as we look towards elevating our product, marketing and economic impact, collaboration is key. We engaged stakeholders prior to our team sessions, and for the first time brought the entire ABTA team, those working internationally and locally together, for a bottom-up approach to planning.
“We are pooling all creative talents and skills to ensure Antigua and Barbuda has the best possible strategy in place to build on the momentum that we have and finish this year strong, but most importantly continue our growth into 2023.”
A two-year marketing plan will rollout following the marketing meetings. Top of mind for the tourism market teams will be growing visitor arrivals by cruise, yachting, and air to maintain the current growth being experienced. The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority also intends to leverage the destination’s strengths, to position and market Antigua and Barbuda, as a year-round destination. Emphasis is being placed on the further development of the destination’s marketing pillars Romance, Yachting and Sailing, Heritage and Culture, and Wellness to achieve this.
The ABTA CEO said, “Our vision aligns with the Vision 2032 presented by the Ministry of Tourism. It is to grow our numbers, grow the revenues that this country receives from tourism, ensure that more revenue is left in Antigua and Barbuda, for services that our visitors will enjoy while they are here and ultimately ensure Antiguans and Barbudans have a better standard of living, a better lifestyle, and we do so in a sustainable manner.”
In other news, dates for Showcase Antigua and Barbuda 2023 have also been announced by the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) and Antigua & Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association (ABHTA). The Showcase is set for June 7 to June 9, 2023.
Antigua and Barbuda’s dedicated travel trade business to business event, is aimed at increasing business from the destination’s main source markets in the US, Canada, UK, Europe and the Caribbean. The event will target tour operators and buyers from overseas markets for travel to Antigua where they will experience the destination and conduct business with on-island suppliers ranging from accommodation providers, airlines, destination management companies and more.
Minister of Tourism and Investment, The Honorable Charles Max Fernandez noted that “the uniqueness of our destination has to be relayed through the eyes of our travel partners first before it can be experienced by potential visitors. Herein lies the importance of our Showcase Antigua Barbuda platform. It presents an opportunity for our travel partners to learn initially, experience intermediary and finally position Antigua and Barbuda as the ideal vacation destination. Showcase Antigua and Barbuda 2023 is a must do for any Travel Partner who wants to stay ahead of the game.”
More details on registration will be released at a later date.