Antigua and Barbuda was one of the first Caribbean destinations to reopen its borders for tourism when it did so back in early June 2020.
Now, that decision is continuing to pay off, with tourism to the twin-island destination bouncing back and then some — with some tourism indicators eclipsing the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.
Antigua and Barbuda is reporting a “steady” increase in tourism arrivals from the United States, along with a surge in bookings from the United Kingdom.
“This is good news for the country’s economy, as our main source markets re-open to international travel and we see our airlift and hotel occupancy levels increase,” said Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Minister Charles “Max” Fernandez. “Antigua and Barbuda is open, and we are delighted that consumers can have confidence in traveling to our shores. We have worked steadfastly to ensure the safety of our people and our visitors, and we are pleased and proud that this resulted in a lower number of COVID cases and by extension, reduced the negative impact on our economy.”
Arrivals in June were at 14,503, buoyed by 12,205 visitors from the United States.
That represented a 9.8 percent increase over the total of U.S. visitors to Antigua in 2019 — when 11,115 Americans visited the country.
“This was until now our best June ever for USA arrivals to Antigua and Barbuda. The hard work of the tourism teams in the overseas markets to remain engaged and active during and after the pandemic has now begun to bear fruit,” said Colin C. James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.
Long one of the Caribbean’s top luxury destinations, the islands are also seeing a rum pin private jet services.
In the first half, there were 1,219 private jet flights to Antigua and Barbuda, an 18.6 percent increase compared to the same period in 2019.
And that’s manifesting itself in the hotel sector, where some hotels are nearing 100 percent occupancy.
July occupancy is now projected at 71 percent, according to the ABTA, compared to an earlier prediction of 35 percent.