Antigua and Barbuda took to the New York skies to make a splash in celebrating the launch of the new nonstop JetBlue service from New York JFK airport to V.C. Bird International Airport at the newest and most exciting venue in the city, the rooftop of the Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square. Offering stunning 360 degree views of the Times Square skyline, including the iconic ‘ball’ that drops at midnight on New Year’s Eve, guests were treated to drinks and canapés while being delighted by the music from a steel drummer. The venue was fully branded Antigua and Barbuda with the latest Antigua and Barbuda video featuring the best and most enticing images the islands have to offer visitors playing on loop. The evening was hosted by The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and the Honorable Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy, Asot Michael and was headlined by honored guests including His Excellency Ambassador Aubrey Webson and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy, Ms. Paula Frederick Hunte, Vice President of Network Planning for JetBlue, Dave Clark and famous Antiguan actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste currently starring in the hit new TV show, Blindspot.
The evening was held as an exclusive event with top influentials of the travel, business and media industries of the Tri-State area in order to raise awareness of this exciting new flight connection between the East Coast and Antigua and Barbuda. Attendees included the leaders of the top travel agencies, from the CFO of Tzell to executives from Virtuoso to Vacation Express to American Express to Island Destinations to the Vice President of Etihad. Media included the Vice President of CBS along with top management, NBC, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, NY Post, AOL Travel, executives from Bloomberg, and leading lifestyle and travel publications such as Men’s Journal, Travel + Leisure, UPTOWN Magazine, Downtown Magazine and broadcast lifestyle channels, Style M and Globetrotter TV. Partners in attendance included the JetBlue team, as well as a variety of properties including top executives from Sandals.
Minister Michael and Dave Clark spoke to the audience about the excitement and importance of building this new partnership and connection between the East Coast and Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda has become JetBlue’s 92nd destination in its growing network and 34th destination in Latin America and the Caribbean. With the inaugural flight taking place on November 5th, this new service will operate three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, making it an ideal schedule for those visitors, whether they are looking for a short weekend getaway or a longer one. While New York is the first gateway for Antigua and Barbuda for JetBlue, with their broad network across the East Coast, the flight schedule allows for those across the East Coast to easily connect via JFK, extending the catchment area beyond just the Tri-State area.
Minister Michael said of the occasion, “Airlift is integral to the success of our tourism industry. If you can’t get to Antigua and Barbuda, how are you and other visitors going to discover why we’re the best destination in the Caribbean? What makes this such a significant announcement is that we are here, partnering with our new friends at JetBlue who are leading the aviation industry. We know that flying with them is an incentive for passengers and visitors, and we are confident this new service will be a success. In fact, the inaugural flight was sold out 3 weeks in advance!” Further adding, “As the Minister for Tourism, Economic Development, Investment, and Energy, I am giving my word to everyone here this evening that Antigua and Barbuda will not only meet but exceed our responsibilities for ensuring the success of this new connection.”
Guests left the evening with Antigua and Barbuda branded gift beach bags filled with Antigua and Barbuda branded gifts that are sure to remind them of the magic of islands throughout the year.