Significant Growth In Antigua And Barbuda’s Cruise Traffic Highlighted At Seatrade Cruise Global 2024.

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

The steady growth of Antigua and Barbuda’s Cruise Tourism industry was the topic of discussions at Seatrade Cruise Global 2024 recently concluded in South Beach Miami.

Tourism Minister Charles Fernandez led a delegation consisting of Permanent Secretary Walter Christopher, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin James, Senior Business Development Manager, Strategic Partnerships Donyelle Bird-Browne, ABTA Administrative Executive Matara Thomas and Communications lead in The Ministry of Tourism Samoya Kirby to the 4-day event.

Multiple Cruise lines and marketing agencies are upbeat on the bullish trajectory of cruise business in Antigua with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), registering an uptick in passengers to 849,632 in 2024 thus far, compared to 755,866 registered in the 2019 pre-Covid marque year.

Minister Fernandez notes that this increase has occurred even without the arrival of the Oasis-Class vessels, and this can be attributed to the completion of the 5th berth which has accommodated up to two vessels at once on crowded cruise ship days.

Marella Cruises has pre-empted this continuous growth into the upcoming 2024/2025 with itineraries showing a 20% increase even into the 2025/2026 winter season. Results from their customer satisfaction survey also has Antigua and Barbuda trending in the top 5 of their featured destinations. MSC, Holland America and Virgin Voyages are also excited about the growth of their itineraries for the 2024/2025 and 2025/2026 seasons.

Michelle Paige, CEO of the FCCA which is inclusive of lines such as Carnival Corporations PLC, Royal Caribbean Group, Norwegian, MSC, and Disney among others, has complimented the Taxi Associations in Antigua saying they are among the best in the region and plans are already afoot to host them at the upcoming Transportation Service Providers Conference in St. Maarten to be held from the 21st to 24th October 2024.

According to Miss Paige, “taxi drivers make or break your product and it is essential that you provide them with the tools necessary to improve their skills.”

The team hosted dozens of meetings focused on the pertinent business of creating and maintaining partnerships, addressing any infrastructural requirements necessary, as well as itinerary inclusion discussions.

Other local partners who took advantage of the opportunity to be a part of team Antigua and Barbuda’s efforts to increase its business from the sector included Bryson’s Shipping and Insurance, The Rendezvous Company Antigua, and Rum Runners Restaurant and Bar.

Seatrade Cruise Global is the world’s largest event for cruise line executives and suppliers of cruise services and is an excellent opportunity for networking. This year’s event saw over 11,000 attendees, 600+ exhibitors, 2.7K+ Cruise line executives and over 120 countries represented.

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