Tourism Stakeholders meet with IMF, Central Bank and Caribbean Development Bank Delegation
(St. Johns Antigua 13th March 2015) Antigua and Barbuda’s Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Authority officials led by Tourism Minister Hon. Asot A. Michael met with a joint delegation comprising the IMF, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank CDB who were on island to conduct their biannual assessment of the country’s economic performance.
The country’s Tourism team was augmented by other Ministry officials representing the areas of Economic Development, Investment and Energy. These included Chairman of the St. Johns Development Cooperation Rohan Hector, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Development Investment and Energy Paula Frederick-Hunte, Tourism Consultant Shirlene Nibbs, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C. James, Ambassador Brian Challenger and St Clair Soleyn Project Manager in the Ministry of Tourism.
The Country delegation gave an assessment of the latest arrival numbers and the state of the current tourism product. Minister Michael also shared details of the large number of new hotel investments being undertaken to significantly grow the number of hotel rooms. The Minister also stated that “As recently as this week Cabinet had made a decision to commit almost USD$2M to a short term marketing plan in Antigua and Barbuda’s main source markets of North American and Europe. This is a tangible demonstration of the Government’s efforts to support the industry with the appropriate resources”. A brief overview was also given to the IMF delegation of the progress made on renewable energy with the recent enactment of the Renewable Energy Act.
Dr. Arnold McIntyre who led the IMF team commented that their meeting with the tourism officials was the most productive and informative one thus far and commended the Minister and his team on the holistic approach that appears to have been taken to restore the industry to growth.
He acknowledged that the Government appears to be actively addressing both the demand and investment sides of the Industry, which is the correct approach. The visiting delegation commended Minister Michael and his team on their passion and energy which bodes extremely well for the country’s plans to nurture and grow the nation’s critical tourism Industry.