Wednesday, 30 May 2012 02:30
By caribarena news
Antigua St John's - Cruise tourism officials' ongoing lobbying efforts have reaped huge dividends for the cruise industry.
Antigua & Barbuda's tourism officials have just concluded a series of successful meetings with three of the major cruise lines that serve the destination. After a recent strong showcasing of the destination at Cruise Shipping Miami, the country’s delegation then gave a commitment to its cruise line partners to actively continue the negotiation process to arrive at a win-win solution for all parties.
The delegation was led by Minister of Tourism Civil Aviation and Culture John Maginley, and included: Consul General Ian Sweeney, who is based in Miami; CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C James; Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Association Nathan Dundas; and General Manager of the Antigua Pier Group Conrad Pole.
The Antigua & Barbuda team met over a two-day period with senior officials from Royal Caribbean Cruise lines, Norwegian Cruise lines, and Carnival cruise lines.The delegation held one-on-one meetings with the key stakeholders for each company, and presented them with individual presentations on what the destination has to offer.
Minister Maginley said, “The key objective coming out of these negotiations was to receive increased business from the cruise lines, and in satisfying this we went a step further to also make certain that we attracted cruise business during the crucial slow summer period. This was our focus so as to ensure that the many businesses in Heritage and Redcliffe Quay, in addition to other stakeholders such as vendors, taxi drivers, and tour operators, have a sustainable income throughout the entire year. I am delighted to report that our hard work and effort has now paid off for the people of Antigua & Barbuda, with 29 additional cruise ship calls starting next summer 2013."
The 29 additional calls by Royal Caribbean’s “Jewel of the Seas” will run from May 2013 to April 2014 and will bring an additional 72,500 cruise passengers to Antigua & Barbuda throughout the period.
Director of Government & Community Relations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd Federico Gonzalez-Denton said, “Royal Caribbean thanks Minister Maginley and his administration for their continued support of the cruise industry. Antigua & Barbuda has been a great partner and we are thrilled to bring Jewel of the Seas to St John’s in summer 2013."
This was seen as a remarkable achievement in light of the strategic decision which has been taken by most cruise lines in recent times to reposition their ships to Europe during the summer in an effort to reduce their costs and to improve their margins.
General Manager of the Antigua Pier Group Conrad Pole pointed out, “Royal Caribbean remains by far the largest contributor of cruise passengers to the country with some 84 calls in 2011 with their passengers consistently rating the destination very highly. So it is vital that Antigua & Barbuda keeps developing and enhancing its cruise facilities for a greater destination experience."
CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin James said he remains optimistic that this trend of increased calls to the destination will continue. He said, “This is a vote of confidence in our destination and will only serve to renew our efforts to work with the industry to aggressively market and position Antigua & Barbuda for inclusion in their cruise itineraries."
The recent meetings were used to provide the cruise itinerary planners with a detailed presentation which included upcoming infrastructural improvements, the new attractions and tours, along with the attributes which differentiate Antigua & Barbuda from our other regional competitors, such as the no residency requirements for cruise passengers who would like to get married on island.
Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Association Nathan Dundas indicated that “The effort to market the destination to the industry is an excellent example of private and public sector partnership as all local industry stakeholders collaborate to promote and develop the country’s cruise industry. This is critical as the Caribbean has seen its share of global cruising decline in recent years as more and more destinations around the world are seeking to develop their cruise industries."
However, the region still remains the world’s most popular cruise destination attracting 42 percent of the total business.
Antigua & Barbuda attracted 606,485 cruise ship passengers at the end of 2011, a nine percent increase over the previous year. With each passenger spending on average US$75, this represents a US$45M injection into the local economy.