March 9, 2017 (BERLIN, Germany) - Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Officials achieved positive outcomes at another successful showcasing of the destination, this time in Berlin Germany, during ITB. The event, which was held from March 8 – 10, is the largest gathering of travel and tourism officials in the world.
The country delegation led by Honourable Asot A. Michael included senior tourism officials from the Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority. Local hotel partners, Cocos Hotel, Keyonna Beach Resort, Hermitage Bay Resort, Blue Waters Resort and Ocean Point Resort were also present on the stand to jointly support the European marketing effort.
The destination has set its sights on making greater inroads into the European market as part of its strategy to further diversify its source markets in the wake of Brexit, which has contributed to a general softening of outbound travel from the UK.
Tourism Minister the Hon Asot A. Michael indicated that “The main challenge that we face at the moment is securing adequate airlift to ensure same-day connections into the destination from continental Europe all year round. The current carriers previously operated only during the winter season. This year, we have been successful in extending the Italian charter from six to ten months to allow us to further grow our European arrivals. We are pursuing several options with all our airline partners, which we believe will solve this problem in the medium term” said Minister Michael.
With Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the Caribbean facing increased competition from other global tourism regions and a challenging marketplace, the strategy of growing the European market presents an opportunity to extend the destination’s marketing reach and awareness in mainland Europe.
Antigua and Barbuda recorded over 21,000 European arrivals at the end of 2016 and has seen strong growth in the Italian market, with air arrivals growing +22% last year when over 8,000 Italians visited the destination.
The teams conducted a packed schedule of meetings with European-based Tourism Executives and Airlines and used the opportunity to update European tourism partners on the latest plans for hotel developments in the destination and the increased prospects for tourism in Antigua and Barbuda.
Several PR media interviews were also granted to further promote the country’s image among the European travel trade.
The country’s Tourism Minister also attended the Intercontinental Hotel Group’s International Hotel Investment Forum, (IHIF) which ran concurrently to ITB in an ongoing quest to secure more Hotel Investments for the Country.
This annual event in its 20th year was attended by over 2,000 hospitality and tourism decision-makers from over 70 countries. This investment conference is the place where deals are done and important industry decisions are made. This Investment Forum attracts a very senior gathering and among them nearly every major hotel chain CEO, influential global tourism ministers and the largest group of investors and hotel owners.
The country’s attendance at the investment conference is demonstrative of Antigua and Barbuda’s commitment to a coherent strategy to constantly seek out and attract high quality foreign direct investment. This is critical to Antigua and Barbuda’s development as a small Island developing nation that is very much dependent upon hospitality services.
During the Investment Conference, Minister Michael was invited to be a part of a select group of only seven Global Tourism Ministers. This included countries such as Kenya, Egypt and Jamaica who all participated in a special Minister’s Round Table Forum to share best practices. Minister Michael used the opportunity to share Antigua and Barbuda’s success in attracting high net-worth tourism investments and the country’s success in its Citizenship by investment Program.
The attendance at the IHIF and ITB in Berlin, which sits at the heart of Europe, is particularly strategic for the country’s tourism industry and its Investment development goals.
ITB Berlin 2017 attracted over 10,000 exhibitors from 186 countries and some 115,000 trade visitors on the first three business-to-business meeting days. The event, which also includes two final days on the weekend where the travel fair is open to the general public, presented Antigua and Barbuda’s Tourism industry with a major PR and business negotiation opportunity to further the country’s Tourism marketing efforts.