antigua and barbuda tourism milestone
The Verandah in Antigua.

Antigua and Barbuda Sets a New Tourism Record

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - January 1, 2020

For several years, Antigua and Barbuda has been among the Caribbean’s hottest destinations, with a thriving hotel pipeline, surging arrivals and even a brand-new, world-class-airport.

And this week it just broke a record.

Antigua and Barbuda received its 300,000th visitor for the year on Dec. 31, reaching the milestone for the first time in the country’s history — a significant achievement that cements just how far the twin-island destination has come since it kicked-off its tourism strategy in earnest half a decade ago.

The exciting new Hammock Cove resort in Antigua, which opened last month.

Indeed, the 300,000-visitor milestone capped off what has been a banner year for the destination in 2019. 

Laura and Ian Bowen, who arrived on a Virgin Atlantic flight from the United Kingdom, were the 300,000th and the 300,001 visitors. When they arrived at VC Bird International Airport they were welcomed by tourism team member and cultural performers.

 “We have seen incredible year over year growth every month this year so far”, said Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Charles Fernandez. “Almost every key market is seeing incredible growth – in particular the US, Caribbean, and the UK where our lovely couple hails from. These markets have all contributed to the double digit increase in stay-over air arrivals that we are celebrating this year.”

Antigua and Barbuda’s sizzling, record-breaking growth in 2019 led to the award for Caribbean Destination of the Year in the recent 2020 Caribbean Travel Awards

“At the end of November we had already exceeded our total arrivals reached in 2018. This represents a +14.9% increase year to date, and we were then only 25,000 shy of reaching the 300,000 visitor arrival milestone,” Fernandez said. 

And it seems like the growth is just the beginning, with a growing number of new hotels on the horizon, from popular brands like Best Western to luxury marques like Rosewood and Waldorf-Astoria, among others.

The record-breaking couple is staying this week at the Sandals Grande Resort in Antigua.

“On behalf of our Chairman and Founder, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, we remain committed to the continued promotion of Antigua as an ideal vacation destination and are happy to note that the island’s 300,000th stop-over visitor is among our valued returning guests,” Sandals Resorts International said in a statement. “It is our pleasure to join with the local tourism authority to mark this incredible milestone and we look forward to greater achievements together, as we work to create new milestones for the destination.”

For more, visit Antigua and Barbuda.

– CJ

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