It’s a New Year and many families may have probably decided where their 2020 vacation would be.
Most people tend to choose the Caribbean for their family vacations. Well-known islands like Jamaica, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic usually make it to the top of the list.
However, there are equally exotic islands like Antigua and Barbuda which has gained grounds with tourists and is rising to be one of the Caribbean’s most sought after destinations.
The twin-island’s tourism sector has invested in the country’s amenities like hotels and a new world-class-airport and many visitors visited the island in 2019.
This week, Antigua and Barbuda received its 300,000th visitor, breaking its own record number of visitors from 2018.
The country made history on December 31, 2019, for attaining this substantial milestone. “An achievement that cements just how far the twin-island destination has come since it kicked-off its tourism strategy in earnest half a decade ago,” Caribbean Journal reports.
2019 was a good year for the twin-island because during the summer holidays, there was a significant 10 percent increase in the number of stayover visitors who went to Antigua and Barbuda for the holidays.
A couple from the United Kingdom, Laura and Ian Bowen, who arrived via a Virgin Atlantic flight, were the ones who propelled the country to reach its visitor milestone by being the 300,000th and 300,001st visitors.
At the VC Bird International Airport, an entourage of cultural performers and a tourism team member welcomed the couple.
“We have seen incredible year over year growth every month this year so far”, said Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Charles Fernandez.
“Almost every key market is seeing incredible growth – in particular the US, Caribbean, and the UK where our lovely couple hails from. These markets have all contributed to the double digit increase in stay-over air arrivals that we are celebrating this year.”
The rapid growth of the twin-island’s tourism sector has not gone unnoticed by Caribbean Travel Awards scheme.
Antigua and Barbuda was adjudged the Caribbean Destination of the Year for 2020 at the 2020 Caribbean Travel Awards owing to it exceeding expectations and setting new records with its tourism industry boost in 2019.
“At the end of November, we had already exceeded our total arrivals reached in 2018. This represents a +14.9% increase year to date, and we were then only 25,000 shy of reaching the 300,000 visitor arrival milestone,” Fernandez said.
The boost has also made the country an attraction for investors. Best Western hotels and other luxury hoteliers like Rosewood and Waldorf are putting up top-notch hotels in the country.
BY AMA NUNOO