By Shermain Bique-Charles
The country has been receiving what the chief executive officer of Antigua and Barbuda’s Tourism Authority, Colin James, has called “great reviews” from some major cruise lines’ executives.
James, along with Tourism Minister Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez, is currently in Miami attending a meeting and summit organised by the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, ahead of the restart of the cruise industry.
For James, the meeting is essential to bolstering the struggling industry, in the face of a pandemic that isn’t expected to go away in a hurry.
What James said will be moving quickly, however, is tourism arrivals to the country.
“From all indications, things are really going to start ramping up pretty quickly from about November this year, although we will start receiving cruise lines in July,” he said.
An ecstatic James said the week-long gathering also outlined the expectations from each destination, particularly in the area of protocols.
“We were encouraged; we have made a lot of progress. They were giving us all the information we need and the support they expect from the destination, and that is very important.
“We all need to have a common set of protocols to see the industry start in a safe way,” James told Observer in an interview yesterday.
The week-long meeting also took tourism officials to Roots Americus; the only air service development forum uniting the Americas, bringing together senior decision-makers from the region’s leading airlines, airports and other aviation stakeholders.
The annual get-together also discussed increases in airlift and new airline routes to destinations.