By Dana Niland
The event, themed around “The Next 50 Years,” will run from April 28 to May 4 and has about 116 entries to date.
Antigua’s Ministry of Tourism and Economic Development said the numbers are “quite impressive” considering the blow that Hurricane Irma dealt to the region’s sailing infrastructure in September 2017.
Antigua Tourism Minister Charles Fernandez, who was present at this week’s event launch, remarked that the careful design and execution of the race continues to reap significant benefits for Antigua and Barbuda’s yachting sector, and the economy overall.
“In 2016, 101 boats participated in the contest and that event had a direct impact of $3 million,” said Fernandez. “In 2017, the number of boats grew to 145, bringing some 1,600 crew members and an impressive addition of over 5,000 spectators.”
“Sailing Week has raised our profile through the media,” he said. “Coverage of the race grew from an audience of 6.3 million to approximately 15 million and we are confident that there will be continued growth in media coverage in years to come.”
A new highlight added to this year’s land-based events is the Round Antigua Bike Race, which will occur simultaneously with the Peters and May Round Antigua Race on April 28.