Stakeholders meet to discuss tourism marketing strategies for Antigua and Barbuda

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Tourism stakeholders, who are responsible for marketing the twin island destination, from beach safety to accommodation, and other private sector partners, are meeting this week to examine the strategies used to market Antigua and Barbuda in the various international source markets.
This is the primary purpose of the annual tourism marketing and stakeholders conference, which is being hosted by the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) at the Jolly Beach Resort and Spa from October 15 to 19. ABTA is responsible for the overall marketing and promotion of the destination, in addition to the development of the tourism product on the island.
Chief Executive Officer of the statutory corporation, Colin James, said the annual exercise is of critical importance, noting that although the ABTA is responsible for marketing the destination, there has to be continued dialogue with other stakeholder agencies to ensure that the overall product suits the expectations of visitors to Antigua and Barbuda.
“We are looking at all aspects of the tourism product. What are the plans for the next two years? What do we need to improve? What are the challenges and how best we can work together to ensure that we have a first-class tourism product?” James said.
According to him, the main challenge at this time, is the lack of adequate funding to deliver on the objectives of the authority and the projects that are to be implemented. This includes the installation of proper signage at historical sites, restroom facilities and improvements in the city of St. John’s.
“We want to ensure that everybody is brought into the vision of where we want to go so that we can get the funding to do what we need to. That is why we brought everyone together to get an understanding of, what we do, how we do it and what is required to do what we need to do,” the CEO said.
He also disclosed that on Monday, discussions were held with hoteliers and those talks focused on the marketing strategies used in the overseas markets.
He said, on Tuesday the discussions continued with marketing agents who are employed overseas to market Antigua and Barbuda, Ministry of Tourism staff and other local agents, who operate within the tourism sector.
Today, and tomorrow (Wednesday and Thursday) the stakeholders will hold closed door sessions.
The strategy meeting will end on Friday with different presentations to Tourism Minister Charles “Max” Fernandez and other delegates.

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