Antigua and Barbuda has seen an increase in Cruise calls for the 2016/2017 cruise-tourism season following a major cruise conference in Florida.
Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Officials represented the country exceedingly well providing updates to industry partners on the detail plans to expand the St. John’s Port facilities which left the destination booth “vibrant and full of activity,” a release said.
The opportunity was made possible at Sea-trade Cruise Global, the cruise industry’s largest annual conference being held for the first time at the Broward Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale Florida.
The Antigua and Barbuda Team used the opportunity to share with the Cruise Executives the Government’s new energy initiative, which will offer the cruise lines an opportunity to refuel their ships in Antigua and Barbuda.
Other service options being considered include the expansion of the destination’s ability to provide potable water from our desalination facility to more of the smaller cruise ships.
The news saw several cruise lines showing renewed interest in using the destination as a homeport which will be realized after the planned improvements to the landside facilities that will include a passenger terminal.
One of the major success coming out of the event was the achievement of a major increase to the destination with a total of 14 new ship calls from Pullmantur each bringing 1,800 passengers for the upcoming season. This is up from a single call made last season.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL), one of the country’s major cruise line partners also announced a total of 82 Ship calls for the upcoming season. This is expected to increase passenger numbers by over 10,000 up from 206,078 in season 2015/16 to 216,036 for 2016/17.
However, cruise-line officials called for the local transportation sector to evolve in order to give their customers choices.
Chairman of the St Johns Development Corporation (STDC) Rohan Hector, along with Executive Director Neil Butler, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin James, Arah Robins of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s office in New York, and President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Association Nathan Dundas led the negotiations for increased cruise ship calls for the upcoming season.
Officials from the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority Senator Mary-Claire Hurst and Darwin Telemaque were also on hand to meet with their shipping industry partners to share plans concerning all matters related to the planned improvement to the commercial port of St John’s.