World politics is impacting Antigua & Barbuda’s tourism

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Antigua & Barbuda is among many destinations where tourism is the main source of income. With that being said, to what extent does the global political climate affect the country’s tourism industry?
OBSERVER media sat down with Chairman of Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association (ABTA) Alex Debrito, yesterday, during the fourth annual Showcase Antigua to talk about the various buyers and sellers who meet and share each other’s ideas and concerns.
DeBrito said that there is an impact from politics, but depending on the market it can be either positive or negative.
“I think it can have both effects. For example, from the US, more and more guests will come and say to me ‘I just want to go away from all that media, political and social harassment’. Other ones, like from England, where the political decisions coming out of Brexit and the big impact on the value of the pound, those ones will travel less,” DeBrito reasoned.
Politics often gives rise to tense social atmospheres and conflict. On Tuesday, Al Jezeera described the Syrian civil war as “the deadliest conflict the 21st century has witnessed so far”. The conflict has entered into its seventh year with more than 465,000 people killed and left over 12 million people displaced, seeking refuge in Europe and other regions.
Debrito believes that maintaining national security is instrumental as Antigua & Barbuda continues to promote its tourism product.
“Whatever happens around us will kind of have different effects and depending on where you’re coming from, what I think is important for Antigua is keeping this place safe. I think that will be a big factor. More and more around us, there is a lot of insecurity, and I think finding a place to come where you’re in peace and feeling safe is very important.”
Director of Tourism Shirlene Nibbs also joined OBSERVER media on the couch and said that while the overseas offices of the Ministry of Tourism are aiming to function at their best, the employees are always battling an evolving global society.
“The teams in the North American markets are working really hard. I know that they’ve been on the road, they have teams and sub-teams for the various markets in the USA, and you need to recognise that tourism operates in an environment that is constantly changing,” she said.
Nibbs noted the same example that DeBrito provided, and she said it’s not just unique to Antigua & Barbuda because it can be seen across the region.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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