Antigua and Barbuda, a destination where the beach is just the beginning

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Antigua and Barbuda, a destination where the beach is just the beginning
Colin C. James
Source: EM Marketing & Communication
June 01, 2022

The twin islands offer a unique opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of life in the metropolis, with some of the most luxurious accommodation in the region

On the eve of the Antigua Barbuda 2022 Showcase, we had the opportunity to interview Colin C. James, Chief Executive Officer of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.

"We have sun, sea and everything you need to enjoy," says James. The territory of Antigua is almost exclusively surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and is surrounded by 95 miles of magnificent coastline. The sister island, Barbuda, is surrounded by reefs that protect it and has a large lagoon and a sanctuary for frigate birds. The islands are famous for the friendliness and hospitality of their inhabitants, the white and pink sand beaches, crystal clear waters, the ideal conditions for navigation and the most satisfying and pleasant climate in the world.

In recent years Antigua and Barbuda has begun to spread in Latin America, how would you describe the destination to our region? 
Antigua and Barbuda are two of the purest islands found in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. With easy access across North America, Antigua and Barbuda offers a unique opportunity to get away from the bustle of life in the metropolis, with some of the most luxurious accommodation in the region. These twin islands are famous for their spectacular beaches, famous athletes, world-class sailing and unique nature reserves. It is a paradise for couples looking for the perfect destination for a wedding or honeymoon.

How can passengers from Latin America get to the destination?
Passengers from Latin America can arrive from the United States: Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte, New York and Newark. Also making a combination with other Caribbean destinations through Liat, InterCaribbean, and several companies in the region. 

What is the Antigua Barbuda Showcase event and how does it benefit travel agents?
In its seventh year, after a two-year absence due to the pandemic, Showcase Antigua Barbuda 2022 will take place from June 8-10. It is an annual B2B event organized by the Antigua and Barbuda Hotel and Tourism Association, in collaboration with the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, and which attracts the main tour operators from the Caribbean, Latin America, United Kingdom, Europe and North America. It is the destination's main travel business event.

We offer tour operators from around the world a great opportunity to meet and discuss directly with hotel owners and suppliers to the tourism industry in Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean region.

The event focuses on promoting the generation of work networks and promoting spaces for 1 to 1 meetings with the main tourism and hotel companies in Antigua and Barbuda. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to live the experiences offered by the destination: Culture and Heritage, Wellness, Romance, as well as Yachting and Sailing. 

What are the main attractions and proposals of Antigua and Barbuda?
The twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda is known for its spectacular 365 beaches, famous for their white and pink sands and clear turquoise waters. They are quite an attraction for travelers looking for an authentic vacation in the Caribbean. 

Antigua has a valuable and rich nautical legacy: the destination is synonymous with sailing and yachts. The Antigua Naval Shipyard, “Nelson's Dockyard” declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the archaeological sites that surround it, are the heart of our nautical community. Our Shipyard is unlike any other and remains the only operating Georgian shipyard in the world. Our constant and strong trade winds and the multiplicity of safe ports make us the favorite place of the nautical community. Our sailing calendar offers a host of regattas such as the RORC 600, Antigua Classics Yacht Regatta and Antigua Sailing Week.  

Our sister island, Barbuda, the smaller of the two, is only a 15-minute flight or 90-minute ferry ride from Antigua. Barbuda offers the ultimate in luxury and privacy. The only boutique hotel on the island has 7 rooms and the enchanting landscape of the island has charming cabins. Nature lovers will be amazed by the Barbuda Frigate Bird Sanctuary, located in the natural surroundings of the lagoon. Visitors can also explore unique caves that are home to ancient petroglyphs or visit the stunning pink sand beaches. For lovers of gastronomy, the maritime proposals are very tempting. 

The islands have also been awarded numerous times for being the leading destination for weddings and honeymoons in the Caribbean. Most of our hotels offer guests wedding and honeymoon packages and there is no residency requirement for marriage.

Annually, in June we celebrate the Month of Romance and this year we have launched the "Lane of love" at VC Bird International Airport. This allows couples to pass through immigration control quickly, which means they can start their vacation in less time.

Our cultural celebrations are also a huge draw for visitors and, after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid 19 virus pandemic, we are delighted to announce that Antigua Carnival, the largest summer festival in the Caribbean, will return in 2022. It will be held from July 22 to August 2.

The energy throughout the island intensifies during Carnival. We have many visitors and residents traveling for this two week event. It's an amazing time for visitors to immerse themselves in our culture, whether it's putting on a costume for the Carnival parades, dancing to jam bands, steel bands, iron bands, soca, calypso, music" Benna", or enjoying the show, the local street food and attending parties all over the island.

In addition, there are many lodging options and we take pride in our independent brands and the level of excellence of these communities. There are a variety of options for everyone and what makes our destination different is that most of our hotels are located on the beaches. Our standards and quality of service are extremely high.

Antigua and Barbuda is a very safe and easy destination to get around. The extension of the territory (108 square miles) allows you to visit, explore and enjoy the large number of excursions and experiences. Whether it's swimming with rays, hiking in the Wallings Nature Reserve, kayaking through the mangroves, sampling Antigua's black pineapple at the market, joining an Eat n' Lime food tour, visiting our National Museums, shopping "Made in Antigua and Barbuda" products in the shops of the city, or dancing to Steelpan music at the Sunday barbecue party in Shirley Heights.

High-quality restaurants offering high-quality food are also found throughout the island, so travelers shouldn't hesitate to step out of their hotels and sample what the island has to offer. We recommend those interested in savoring the cuisine to pay attention to the places that serve seasonal rice, goat water, shell water, ducana and salted fish, fungi, pepperpot and rice pudding.

What are the actions you are carrying out in the region? Do you have social networks in Spanish?
We are working with tour operators and travel agents, training them to be certified as destination experts through the EM Virtual Campus in Spanish and Portuguese. We make sales visits facilitating contacts so that operators can assemble their products, and yes, we have an Instagram in Spanish @visiteantiguaybarbuda and soon we will have an Instagram in Portuguese.

Who can travel agents and operators in Latin America contact?
They can contact EM Marketing & Communication, which is our Marketing and PR agency in Latin America, at email elsa@emmarketing.net and WhatsApp +54 911 4071-1124.
In Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Mrs. Charmaine Spencer, Marketing Consultant Caribbean & Latin America.


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