19th March 2016
Antigua & Barbuda continues to record strong growth in the destination's cruise tourism sector. This was realized at Seatrade Cruise Global, the cruise industry's largest annual conference being held for the first time at the Broward Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale Florida.
The vibrant destination booth was a hub of activity as Antigua and Barbuda tourism officials conducted a series of one-on-one meetings, and media interviews. In its communication to the major cruise lines the destination provided updates to its industry partners on the detail plans to expand the St. John's Port facilities which will be ready by the end of November.
The Antigua and Barbuda Team used the opportunity to also share with the Cruise Executives the Government's new energy initiative, which will offer the cruise lines an opportunity to refuel their ships in Antigua and Barbuda. This added service will further open up new opportunities to increase the likelihood that Antigua and Barbuda is a destination of choice in cruise line itineraries.
Several cruise lines showed renewed interest in using the destination as a homeport which will be realized after the planned improvements to the landside facilities that will include a passenger terminal. Other service options being considered include the expansion of the destination's ability to provide potable water from our desalination facility to more of the smaller cruise ships.
Cruise-line executives commended the destination and confirmed that Antigua & Barbuda is still well positioned as a premier cruise destination of choice within the Caribbean on many of the cruise line itineraries. However, cruise-line officials would like to see the local transportation sector evolve which will give their customers choices. This coupled with the improvements to the new transportation hub now being constructed will enhance the destination's cruise tourism product for a desired outcome of improving the visitor on-island experience and spend.
Chairman of the St Johns Development Corporation (STDC) Rohan Hector, along with Executive Director Neil Butler, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin James, Arah Robins of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority's office in New York, and President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Association Nathan Dundas were also present and led the negotiations for increased cruise ship calls for the upcoming season.
Officials from the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority Senator Mary-Claire Hurst and Darwin Telemaque General Manager were also on hand to meet with their shipping industry partners to share plans concerning all matters related to the planned improvement to the commercial port of St John's.
A major increase to the destination was achieved with a total of 14 new ship calls from Pullmantur each bringing 1,800 passengers for the upcoming season. This is up from a single call made last season. The positive response of their guests to Antigua and Barbuda along with the support from the destination has resulted in this dramatic increase.
Antigua & Barbuda thanked one of its major cruise line partners, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) after securing a total of 82 Ship calls for the upcoming season. This will increase our passenger numbers by over 10,000 up from 206,078 in season 2015/16 to 216,036 for 2016/17.
Seatrade Cruise Global presented Antigua and Barbuda with a not to be missed opportunity to showcase its products and services to the cruise industry buyers and decision makers. It provided unique networking opportunities with industry leaders from all facets of the industry, and exposed its tourism executives to the conference's educational industry programs, which allows participants to stay ahead of the curve.
The Industry leaders have forecasted that, with a record orderbook for new ships over the next three years and a record 24 million set to cruise in 2016, the Caribbean continues to be the world's number one cruising destination. The renewed focus on the industry by the Government has now positioned the destination to increase its share of this business.
At the end of last year Antigua and Barbuda saw an increase of 122,584 cruise arrivals which represented a year on year increase of 22.6%. It is forecasted to see further 15% in cruise arrivals for the 2016/17 winter season with over 700,000 cruise passengers visiting the destination.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority
T: 1 (268) 562 7600/464-7601