Antigua and Barbuda cruise tourism INFRASTRUCTURE TO BE Strategically ENHANCED as the destination cements standing as a major port of call

Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism and Investment, The Honourable H. Charles Fernandez led a team of Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Tourism Officials, who accompanied by key private sector partners, recently attended the 26th annual Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Cruise Conference and Trade Show in Puerto Rico.
The Tourism Officials used the event as an opportunity to update cruise line partners and the cruise industry media on marketing initiatives, latest improvements to the tourism product and new developments related to major investments in the country’s cruise tourism infrastructure.
Tourism Minister, The Hon. Charles Fernandez has called these infrastructure upgrades critical in positioning the destination to attract increased calls already confirmed on the itineraries of major cruise ship partners, some of whom have reported that they will double their passenger volumes in the next two years.
In a series of one-on-one meetings, the Antigua and  Barbuda Tourism delegation, which included the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority CEO Colin C. James and Regional Sales Consultant Charmaine Spencer, met with cruise-line officials from Royal Caribbean Cruise lines (RCCL), Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), Carnival Corporation, MSC, and Virgin Voyages the newest member of the FCCA.
Minister Fernandez, and his team held several meetings during the five-day event with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to confirm details of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will govern a multi-million-dollar investment at Fort James. This project will significantly enhance the destination’s cruise product infrastructure and enhance Antigua and Barbuda’s ability to adequately accommodate guests in a unique beach day experience.
In a meeting with Michelle Paige, President of the FCCA Operations Committee, the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Officials also committed to facilitating an on-island meeting early next year with top FCCA Cruise Executives. Specific emphasis will be on inviting the Cruise Executives responsible for shore excursions. This will afford existing tour and excursion operators in Antigua and Barbuda, as well as new entrepreneurs seeking to enter this segment of the industry, an opportunity to understand the requirements needed to tap into this lucrative market.
Minister Fernandez noted that, “This marketing effort and the recent strategic initiatives with Global Ports Holding, Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Corporations are tangible examples of the Government’s sterling efforts to ensure Antigua and Barbuda stays top of mind in the cruise industry and remains a major port of call on the Itineraries of all major cruise lines that serve the region.
“In doing so we are also ensuring that our people continue to benefit and are positioned to take advantage of the host of business opportunities that now present themselves with the exponential growth in cruise passenger arrivals that will take place within the next two years.”
Antigua and Barbuda’s destination booth was a hub of activity as the private sector partners took full advantage of their attendance at the event to secure more cruise line shore excursion business for their respective companies. These partners included, Tropical Adventures Antigua, The Rendezvous Company, SJC Platinum Services and Wadadli Cats Antigua.
CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C. James said, “Antigua and Barbuda has clearly positioned itself to take advantage of the forecasted global growth in cruise tourism with attendance at the annual FCCA Cruise Marketing Convention. This event is a major feature on the Tourism Authority’s marketing calendar and provides unrivalled meeting and networking opportunities with the international cruise industry.”
James thanked the individual cruise lines for their support over the years and their confidence in the destination as demonstrated by the strengthening of the partnership in recent months with major industry players.
The FCCA Marketing conference helps to foster relationships, generate new business and share in the exciting innovations that will enhance the experience of today’s discerning cruise community.  In the spirit of partnership, The Monserrat Tourist Board was afforded complimentary access to the major cruise event as guests on the Antigua and Barbuda stand. The tourism officials from Montserrat were extremely appreciative of this collaborative gesture in support of their efforts to attract smaller cruise lines to Montserrat.

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