Antigua and Barbuda has been one of the top international destinations for North American tourists since the start of the pandemic. Its proximity to major North American cities, air travel options and outdoor offerings have allowed it to perform better than other major European and even Caribbean destinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And now, with tourism shutting down again for the summer and the US recently lifting entry testing requirements, Antigua and Barbuda is gearing up for another big year.
Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority CEO Colin S. James recently briefed TMR on tourism trends in the islands.
Arrivals to the US in April and May this year are higher than the same months of 2021 and 2019, which were Antigua and Barbuda’s best year for air arrivals, according to James.
“We have eliminated shortages due to the pandemic and are now seeing not only the impact of this pent-up travel demand, but also the strong marketing messages we are releasing to the market,” he said.
Some of the marketing messages that James says had a significant impact on this growth in inbound traffic is the “Space Under the Sun” promotion, which launched in July 2020 and targets US and UK consumers through print and digital advertising. Antigua and Barbuda has revised this campaign in 2021 after relaxing some of the COVID-19 requirements in North America and the UK.
The campaign highlighted “travel-friendly protocols” sought by consumers and the travel industry that weren’t offered by other destinations (Antigua and Barbuda was the first in the eastern Caribbean to reopen).
James called the recent news that the US CDC will remove the requirement for incoming testing “good news” for Antigua and Barbuda, which is now more accessible than ever during the pandemic.
“This has eliminated the additional costs that US travelers faced upon returning home, meaning more disposable income can be spent on vacations in Antigua and Barbuda. This is encouraging news and will give a boost to the summer season by canceling incoming testing,” he said.
As for this summer, on July 23, the opening parade of the Antigua Carnival starts in St. John’s. The legendary Pre-Lenten Festival was a top event for visitors from all over the world before the pandemic and is finally returning this summer after a two-year hiatus. break.
James told TMR that carnival enthusiasts “are looking forward to the return of Caribbean carnivals, and as one of the few places in the Caribbean to host a carnival this year, we’re seeing stalwarts as well as newcomers express their desire and make their travel plans.” to visit at the festivities”.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks Antigua and Barbuda in Category 3: High as per COVID-19…