Two government officials said that the decline in tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom is due to the devaluation of the British currency.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA), Colin C James viewed the plunge in the destination’s tourism arrivals from the UK following that country’s decision to withdraw from the European Union as critical, because “the destination depends heavily on tourism”.
“The collapse in the value of the pound made the Caribbean that just more expensive. What we have done is to mitigate with our tourism partners, hoteliers, and tour operators to offer packages which are discounted to compensate for the falling value of the pound,” James said.
Speaking at a recent Round Table discussion themed, “Brexit: Implications for Antigua & Barbuda and the Wider Caribbean” James said that the tourism authority noticed “a softening of demand from the UK”.
In providing some statistics, the CEO said that the tourist arrivals at the beginning of 2016 “started very strongly” and the cause for concern was that “we ended  just about flat”.
“The UK visitors tend to stay longer, 10 to 14 days as opposed to the North American visitor, so there is more impact on spending in our economy,” James said.
He further explained that the UK has daily flights with two of the major carriers, in Virgin Atlantic and British Airways and visitors can fly to Antigua daily.
According to the CEO, those passengers represent “about a third of all our visitors”.
James also noted that travel destinations like Antigua & Barbuda are entering challenging times with the travels bans and visa restrictions negatively disrupting international markets.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)