The marketing strategies for Antigua and Barbuda’s main source markets in the USA, UK & Europe, Caribbean and Canada, were scrutinised by local stakeholders at a public/private sector market consultation hosted by Antigua and Barbuda’s Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, on Thursday.
Senior tourism officials and marketing directors presented updated action plans and exchanged information with members of the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association. The meeting was held at the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute and was co-chaired by Tourism Consultants, Ricky Skerritt and Shirlene Nibbs.
Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism, The Hon. Asot Michael, said this meeting was a continuation of his Ministry’s efforts to achieve effectiveness and sustainable growth for tourism in globally competitive markets. The meeting also addressed airlift and related concerns raised by the hotels and tourist association membership as tourism officials continue to monitor tourism arrivals and expenditure and adjust marketing strategies accordingly. The meeting focused on the stay-over projections going into the summer and upcoming 2017/2018 season and expressed optimism in a highly competitive environment.
The Tourism Minister said: “This meeting will strengthen our resolve for achieving ongoing private/public sector partnership. Working with our local and international stakeholders, and taking into consideration their expertise and experience, we have already begun to develop new and creative strategies allowing us to be more competitive and grow visitor arrivals and revenues to the wider destination.”
Stakeholders present included representatives from: Nonsuch Bay Resort, Blue Waters Resort, Hodges Bay, Inn at English Harbour, Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort, Curtain Bluff, Sugar Ridge, Elite Island Resort properties – The Verandah Resort and Spa, Galley Bay, St. James’s Club, Carlisle Bay Resort, Jolly Beach Resort and Spa, Curtain Bluff, Jumby Bay, Siboney Beach Club, and Tropical Adventures. They were joined by the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s partner BDO, accounting firm.
BDO Senior Partner Cleveland Seaforth and ABTA Chairman, Ricky Skerritt, presented a study which gave stakeholders insight into the options for much needed short-term growth of funding for destination marketing, focusing on the projected expenditures of the Tourism Authority and the financing needed to pursue aggressive marketing efforts on a more sustainable basis.
With access to funding of marketing activities a main area of concern for stakeholders, the gathering discussed ways of ‘injecting new sources of cash to achieve the desired results’ in order to effectively compete with other major destinations that are well known to be outspending Antigua & Barbuda in destination marketing.