ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
UK FLIGHTS FROM LONDON TO CONTINUE THROUGH TO END OF THE UK’S LOCKDOWN AND INTO 2021
JOHN’S, ANTIGUA (November 7, 2020) –The Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Authority are delighted to confirm that Virgin Atlantic will continue its services to and from the United Kingdom. The airline will maintain its twice weekly passenger flights through to November 21st with a weekly Sunday service thereafter until the end of the UK’s national lockdown. The twice weekly flights will arrive on Wednesdays and Saturdays from London Heathrow to Antigua and Barbuda V. C. Bird International Airport. The flights will then reduce to a weekly Sunday service where the flight will overnight and depart the next day.
The news of the continued service comes after a series of successful meetings between senior officials from the UK carrier, a team of tourism officials lead by the Honourable Charles “Max” Fernandez, and representatives from the local hotel private sector organisation the ABHTA.
Antigua and Barbuda has successfully retained its place on the UK government’s quarantine exemption list and maintaining airlift during the UK’s lockdown for ‘business and essential travel’ was a priority to provide connectivity to the island itself but also as a gateway for the rest of the Caribbean during this uncertain time.
GRENADA IMPLEMENTING STRATEGIC CRUISE BUSINESS ACTIONS IN PREPARATION FOR GRADUAL REOPENING OF THE INDUSTRY IN 2021
St. George’s, Grenada W.I. – 9th November, 2020 – The Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) is continuing to implement key strategic cruise business actions in preparation for the safe and gradual resumption of the industry. One of these actions is the completion of an Aquila Centre for Cruise Excellence destination readiness workshop for public and private sector cruise teams including the Grenada Ports Authority, Ministry of Health, Customs, Grenreal, Immigration, Local Agents and Tour Operators.
As part of the workshop (September to October) dubbed ‘How To’, stakeholders completed the five-part series focused on health and safety as well as maintaining the quality of Pure Grenada experiences based on the new way of doing business in the Tourism industry. Some of the major topics included preparing your community to welcome cruise, building an operational plan that adapts with change, reimagining product development and guest experiences, creating a culture of service and delivering wow experiences for cruise lines and guests.
Nautical Development Manager at the GTA Nikoyan Roberts expressed her appreciation of the stakeholders’ commitment to the program. She further stated, “As a destination we want to deliver “WOW” experiences to cruise guests, while observing the strictest protocols. I believe our team has already visualized what these experiences will look like. We have a small cruise ship SeaDream arriving on November 13 where we can practice and refine our learnings over the coming weeks.”
CEO of the GTA Patricia Maher was also keen to see that one of the modules delved into having an adaptable cruise operational plan. She further stated, “We’re living in a different time and we have to adapt to the new way of doing business in Tourism. We can offer smaller, more personalized group tours to our many unique experiences on land and at sea. Now is the time to train and prepare to welcome cruise ships back in a safe, efficient, and mutually beneficial way in the year ahead.”
Team Grenada also participated in recent Seatrade Cruise Global virtual meetings. It was an opportunity for the team to learn about current cruise trends as well as network with cruise decision makers while promoting the global digital health and safety campaign, Pure Grenada Just For You. Grenada’s Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Climate Resilience and the Environment Hon. Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen M.P. featured prominently during the event when she delivered a cruise update interview for Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
Coming out of the high level discussions with cruise lines there are opportunities for Grenada to be included in more Southern Caribbean cruise itineraries with home porting in Barbados. Prior to the crisis, our main cruise markets were UK and European guests and now we have the opportunity to target North Americans who can fly to Barbados and sail on shorter cruises to Grenada and beyond in 2021.
TOURISM MUST GET BACK ON TRACK, BARTLETT
KINGSTON, Jamaica; November 09, 2020: Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says the industry is a key driver of the Jamaican economy and urges stakeholders to view the unprecedented crisis brought on by the pandemic as a transformational opportunity to help get tourism back on track.
Speaking at the opening of the first-ever virtual staging of the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX), the Minister said, “Tourism must get back on track. Pre-pandemic, there were 1.5 billion international tourist arrivals; travel and tourism accounted for 10.3% of global GDP, and it employed 1 in 10 persons around the world. At home, as we welcomed 4.3 million visitors, the sector earned US$3.7 billion, contributed 9.5% to the nation’s GDP and generated some 170,000 direct jobs.”
Bartlett noted that the Government is doing its part to rebuild the economy and tourism will play a key role. He shared that despite Covid-19, proactive measures were being implemented that will ensure a tourism product that is safe, attractive for visitors, and economically viable for all tourism stakeholders.
Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, Bartlett remains cautiously optimistic as data from the Jamaica Tourist Board indicate that the industry is slowly rebuilding.
Preliminary JTB figures indicate that since reopening on June 15, the country has recorded a little over 211,000 passengers to the island; June to September earnings amounted to US$231.9 million, and hotel occupancy rates are slowly inching up. A 40% increase in arrivals over the winter season when compared to the preceding periods of massive downturn, is also projected.
“In terms of airlift, most of the major airlines serving the destination are increasing service as the demand picks up. These include the following airlines in the Americas: American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, United, Southwest, Air Canada, WestJet, and Copa,” he said.
Expedia also reported that searches for Jamaica’s Montego Bay rose 15 percent in July, and Jamaica was among the most-searched-for destinations in the Caribbean.
“I have received reports that some of our hotel properties have reported that they are reaching up to 60% occupancy through a combination of international and local guests, with numbers reaching nearly 90% around holiday weekends,” he said.
The Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) is the premier trade event and the single most important business generator for Jamaica’s tourism industry. It facilitates pre-scheduled appointments for leading wholesalers and tour operators with hundreds of Jamaica’s leading tourism suppliers to conduct business negotiations.
Since its 1990 inception, The Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) has been a joint project of The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB). It is supported by every Jamaican organization involved in the development, promotion and sale of the Island’s tourism product.
According to the organizers, the three-day event, which is being held virtually this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, has more than 2,000 buyer and supplier delegates, travel agents and media representatives from countries such as the UK, USA, Canada, China, India, Russia, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina.