The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority is toying with a “love-ly” way of generating more revenue.
Marie Walker, the tourism authority’s vice-president of sales and marketing for North America, notes the destination doesn’t have any residency requirements for those wanting to get married there and is considering enabling unmarried visitors to get hitched without even setting foot outside the airport terminal.
“We want to create Las Vegas-style weddings,” she said in Toronto, adding people impatient when it comes to tying the knot could essentially get off their planes and get married after clearing customs and immigration.
Land vacationers and cruise ship passengers on day calls can get married in Antigua and Barbuda, but authorities are considering creating a chapel named Sugarmill – a reflection of the destination’s sugar industry heritage – at the airport, which newly arrived visitors could head right to and which would have clergy waiting.
“You can literally come on the island, get married, just like they do in Las Vegas – in and out,” Walker says.
An airport room could be set aside for would-be brides and grooms to change into wedding attire. Walker speculates that particularly adventurous sorts could wear wedding attire on the plane if they chose.
Tourism authorities would understandably prefer if newly hitched couples stayed on the island for their honeymoons, but Walker says time-strapped couples who have to return home immediately would still be welcome, adding those who pay quick visits to destinations and are impressed during their brief stays often return for longer periods.
“What we want is for people to come down and then go back Mr. and Mrs. and the visit whet their appetite [for a return Antigua and Barbuda visit].”
Pictured are Tameka Wharton (l), sales and marketing manager and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Office in Toronto and Walker.