Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel “Max” Hurst, believes once the opening of the Colombian market materializes, it could help boost the country’s struggling tourism sector since a number of other stakeholders could benefit from the proposed business.
Cabinet agreed to a request for concessions for the setting up of a business in the South American market by a female entrepreneur who – at the Prime Minister’s Business Forum on April 30th – had indicated that the government had yet to make a decision on the matter.
According to the businesswoman’s proposal, a weekly charter from Colombia to Antigua with 100 visitors will target a number of hotels whose management would agree to special rates and arrange daily tours by buses and taxis across Antigua – and even to Barbuda – at a price that would be computed into the total package cost.
“The expectation is that when those passengers arrive they will be distributed to several hotels that have agreed to receive them. Tour buses and taxi drivers will also benefit greatly. They will transport these visitors around Antigua and Barbuda … to enable them to see more of the country,” Hurst said.
“The idea is that every day they will go on a different outing until such time they depart. All of these outings result in the spending of resources in Antigua and Barbuda.”
Hurst went into further detail on the discussions between the businesswoman and the government.
“It is a charter service that would in the very least bring at least 100 tourists from South America each week and they would return them at the end of each week and bring another set. They wanted to ensure that the concessions would enable this business in the first two or three years to thrive, which would include waiver of corporate income tax. The Cabinet agreed to virtually everything, every concession which was sought,” said Hurst.
The female entrepreneur, who was not named by Hurst, is expected to be notified of the decision taken by the government.