Antigua and Barbuda hosts Cricket Press Trip for Journalists ahead of England’s tour of West Indies

As Antigua and Barbuda prepare to host the England vs West Indies One Day Internationals in March 2014, thirteen journalists from England, have recently spent eight days in the destination familiarising themselves with the product.

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority hosted the reporters and editors who belong to the Fleet Street Exiles Cricket Club, in Antigua from 23rd to 30th November.

The writers, who represent highly ranked UK newspapers such as the The Times, and Press Association were in Antigua visiting for a cricket Club tour which was combined with a press trip.

The journalists played 3 limited over games against the Antigua Masters, the Antigua Under 19s and the Antigua Legends at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium and American University of Antigua Cricket grounds.  The Antiguan teams were victorious, for all their games with impressive wins against the Fleet Street Exiles.

In addition to playing friendly matches, the visiting team got a true feel for the island as they mingled with everyday Antiguans and Barbudans. They took part in several tours that included hiking to the top of Signal Hill, sampling local fruits, visiting the Antigua Recreation Grounds, cruising Antigua’s coastline, and enjoying the nightlife in English Harbour and St. John’s. This provided the team with lots to write about their experiences in Antigua both on and off the cricket field.

Minister of Tourism John Maginley said, “2014 is going to be an exciting year for Antigua in cricket with a large group of tourist arrivals expected from the UK.  We are looking forward to hosting the One Day Internationals against England, as well as celebrating, forty years since our own Andy Roberts became the first Antiguan to play with the West Indies Team.”

“To be able to host these Fleet Street Exiles journalists, allowing them to experience and share in our passion for cricket and our beautiful islands, and then to have them deliver the message to their readers that, Antigua is the place to be for cricket, is something we are delighted to have done.” This is exactly the kind of PR that is needed ahead of next year’s games.

Fleet Street Exiles Cricket Club Representative Michael Evans said the group was overwhelmed by the hospitality and warmth of their Antigua and Barbudan hosts.

“We have had an amazing week.  We had three games of cricket, fantastic sunshine, and have stayed in two of the popular hotels on the island.  But the best thing is the people.  The week has totally been made by the people we have met.   They were brilliant – the cricketers, non-cricketers, it has all been absolutely fantastic.

Antigua is so special.  It’s just the people are so friendly and they just love cricket and we love cricket. And although we have been beaten, we have been treated really well and very hospitably. We have made lots of friends and we are looking forward to writing about Antigua.”

Evans said the crowning moment of their week was when the group met Sir Vivian Richards while playing at the famous test grounds named after Antigua’s only living National Hero.

Sir Vivian Richards attended the final match of the week and presented signed cricket bats to members of the Cricket Club during the closing ceremony.  He encouraged the journalists to revisit the island for the upcoming ODIs in 2014.

The Fleet Street Cricket Exiles have been on eleven tours since formation.  This is their third tour to the Caribbean, and second trip to Antigua.

The journalists stayed at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa, and The St. James’s Club.  Members of the West Indies Cricket Board and the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association, the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, the Antigua Hotel and Tourist Association as well as UK tour operator England Cricket Tours, all interacted with the journalists during their stay and contributed to the overall success of the trip.