Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Officials participated in another successful showcasing of the destination, this time in Berlin Germany, during ITB. The event, which was held from March 5th – 10th, is the largest gathering of travel and tourism officials in the world.
The country delegation led by CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA), Colin C. James, included Neil Forester General Manager of the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association, Cherrie Osborne Antigua and Barbuda’s Director of Tourism for UK and Europe and Antigua and Barbuda’s Honourary Counsel in Germany Dr. Werner Giersch. Local hotel partners such as Jolly Beach, Carlisle Bay, Blue Waters, Sugar Ridge, and Hermitage Bay were also present on the stand to jointly support this European marketing effort. The teams conducted a packed schedule of successful meetings with European based Tourism Executives and Airlines.
The destination has set its sights on making greater inroads into the European market and as part of a group of eight destinations along with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) ensured the region was adequately represented at this year’s event. CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin James said “The main challenge that we face at the moment is securing adequate airlift to ensure same day connections into the destination from continental Europe.
With Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the Caribbean facing increased competition from other global tourism regions and a challenging marketplace, we view the growing European market as an opportunity to extend our reach and drive new business to the destination” James added.
In a meeting with Herwig Oberhuber Director of Planning for Condor, he confirmed that Antigua and Barbuda has the strongest yield in the eastern Caribbean during this current winter season and Condor now confirmed that the Thomas Cook flights from Manchester which commenced last December will now return with an earlier start in November for the next winter season along with the Condor direct charter flight from Frankfurt Germany.
Newly appointed Director of Tourism for the UK and Europe Cherrie Osborne said, “Our main objective at ITB was to reintroduce the destination to specific operators such as Meier’s Weltreisen, Dertour, FTI and TUI whose business to Antigua has been growing steadily,
During the event the Antigua and Barbuda team participated in a series of media interviews including CTO travel news. ITB also gave the destination an opportunity to update its European tourism partners on the plans for the new VC Bird Airport Terminal scheduled to be opened later this year as well as the latest activities, hotel developments and prospects for tourism in Antigua and Barbuda.
The attendance at ITB in Berlin, which sits at the heart of Europe, is particularly strategic to the country’s tourism industry. It is reputed that the number of Germans per population who travel abroad, is the highest percentage of any nationality that travels outside of their home country for vacations.
ITB Berlin 2014 attracted over 10,000 exhibitors and some 100,000 trade visitors on the first three business-to-business meeting days. The event which also includes two final days on the weekend where the travel fair convention is open to the general public presented Antigua and Barbuda with a not to be missed opportunities to meet the German consumers, to network with its European tourism partners and to conduct valuable business negotiations.