Antigua and Barbuda’s Tourism Minister, Honourable Charles Fernandez, opposes subsidizing airlines for regular flights to the country.
He prefers investing in destination promotion to boost demand, unlike some competing Caribbean destinations that offer subsidies to airlines.
Fernandez believes that striking a balance is crucial but is against putting money into flights without considering demand, citing an example where an island paid $1 million annually for a flight that saw few passengers and was eventually discontinued.
He firmly believes that promoting the destination itself will naturally drive demand, as evidenced by increased flights in July, despite concerns about high flight costs.
Fernandez advocates cost reduction through collaborative efforts with airlines, like joint promotions and waiving landing and airport fees for the first six months.
However, he acknowledges the competitive landscape among Caribbean islands in attracting airline flights and calls for a more cooperative approach among Caribbean nations instead of one-upmanship.