29th February 2016
(St. John’s, Antigua) February 29, 2016 - Visitor arrivals by air to Antigua and Barbuda grew by 14% in 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. Tourism Officials welcome the news of double-digit growth, which represent 26,928 passengers who arrived in the twin-island nation by air.
Minister of Tourism, The Hon. Asot Michael expressed pleasure with the latest arrival statistics.
“The strong performance we experienced in November and December as we closed off 2015 is continuing into 2016,” said the Tourism Minister.
"Growth was recorded in our two largest, major source markets and it is clear that our strategic tourism plan is returning positive results in a big way.
“We have increased airlift to the destination, made enhancements to the product, strategically looked at our hotel operations and room stock, and intensified our sales and marketing efforts. The growth now, speaks volumes of the extremely hard work put in by our teams and industry partners,” said Minister Michael.
In January 2016, the combined United Kingdom & European markets maintained their position as Antigua and Barbuda’s strongest performing markets.
A closer look at the January 2016 air arrivals revealed that the destination attracted 8,536 visitors from the UK, an increase of 20% over January 2015. This was the strongest month to date for the UK market since March 2014. Visitor arrivals by air from the UK have now grown at double-digit rates for the last seven months since June 2015.
Visitors from the UK generally stay on the islands longer, and the resurgence of a high-performing UK market to Antigua and Barbuda is a leading indicator for the destination as it aims to grow its tourism revenues and stimulate economic activity.
In late 2015, Antigua and Barbuda's UK-based Tourism Office launched various Underground advertising campaigns to promote the destination ahead of the winter season.
Air arrivals from Italy grew by a whopping 60% following the commencement of non-stop charter Alitalia service from Italy while arrivals from Germany grew by 32%.
Arrivals from the USA also increased, by 12% and airlift to Antigua and Barbuda from the USA increased with the addition of JetBlue service. A positive feature in USA Today in January is expected to yield more positive results for the destination for 2016.
Additional Caribbean air service to Antigua and Barbuda contributed to growth in Caribbean visitor arrivals by 23% in January 2016 compared to January 2015.
Hotels in Antigua and Barbuda have also recorded a high occupancy rate of 68% in January 2016, compared to 62.1% in January 2015.
Tourism Officials in Antigua and Barbuda have seen an upsurge of tourism activity in the destination in February, with the arrival of the RORC 600 Yachting Race and Talisker Whisky Atlantic Rowing Challenge.
Most of the hotels on island during the first 3 weeks of February, have reported very high occupancy rates and there are reports of full occupancy heading into March.
Demand for the destination, continues to surge with Barbuda just named as one of the top ten destinations to watch for 2016. Antigua and Barbuda continues to attract visitors as a premier Caribbean destination and is on target for a bumper winter tourist season from all sectors.
For media enquiries, please contact: Maria Blackman Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority
T: 1 (268) 562 7600/464-7601