Barbuda gets project development officer

Government has hired former tourism director Veneta Burton as the project development officer for Barbuda, as it continues efforts to make Barbuda the ultimate stop for tourists.

Burton, a former tourism director who returned to Barbuda from the US on Monday, took up her new position this week.

“I had first come down in 2002 and I worked as the director of tourism to bring the island of Antigua and Barbuda together and foster a relationship and to make sure things that were implemented in Antigua were implemented in Barbuda,” she said.

Burton added, “I am back now with the (Barbuda) Council working as the project development officer and one of the things we want to do is to look at the standards and have things regularised in terms of taxis, duties and fees and other things pertaining to the government.”

The tourism official said she will be organising for training of taxi drivers and other tourism service providers improve the quality of services.

Outside of tourism, she said she also plans working on developing sports for the youth and to address the issue of alcoholism.

“I’d like to look at the youths and how I can help them in sports and bring projects, development and training for them. Alcoholism in Barbuda is very high, especially among the youths and we want to look at that,” she told OBSERVER media.

Burton will have offices both in Antigua and on the sister isle.

Barbuda began receiving cruise calls for the first time last year and this form of tourism has long been touted as one of the ways to help the island out of its economic woes.

Last September, it was announced there would be eight cruise calls to Barbuda for the 2014-2015 winter season from Europa Cruises, the Sea Dreams, Club Med and Wind Star Cruise.

The officials later said they were in discussions with Sander Groothuis of Windstar Cruises, and seven new calls were confirmed. Each additional visit from Windstar, which will come throughout 2015, is expected to bring up to 300 passengers.