Above: Tourism Minister John Maginley and Ambassador Ren Gongping
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Minister John Maginley met with newly-appointed Chinese Ambassador to Antigua Ren Gongping during a courtesy call on Thursday.
Maginley, who will speak to Chinese officials in Beijing this month about Antigua’s tourism sector, said it was time for Antigua and the Caribbean region to work harder to attract Chinese tourists, who are now the world’s biggest-spending travelers.
“The Chinese are going in great numbers to Europe and more will travel, but sun and sea destinations are not popular yet among them,” he said following the meeting. “We have to seek out that niche and capitalize on it, and find activities also that will attract the Chinese.”
Airlift is also a significant issue — and, by most accounts, the number one hindrance to potential Chinese tourism.
China is doing its part to help that front, funding the construction of a new terminal at VC Bird International Airport in Antigua, which will open in the first quarter of 2014, China’s envoy said.
Maginley’s visit later this month will include talks with China’s government on issues including visas, product development and airlift.
He said the Ministry would seek to create a new digital platform whose information could be translated into Mandarin.