Antigua & Barbuda has successfully presented its Master Plan for transforming its cruise tourism sector to top cruise executives and decision-makers at the recently concluded Annual Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Conference, held this year in Puerto Rico from September 26 – September 30.
In a series of high level one-on-one meetings, the Antigua & Barbuda delegation made power-point presentations showing the impressive improvements that are already on the way at Port St. John’s, Antigua.
The presentations shared details of the already commenced construction, as well as plans to construct two additional berths to accommodate the largest ships currently in operation, and a passenger terminal to support home-porting.
Additional dredging will also be made to the turning basin and the approach channel to the harbour. The delegation making the presentations was led by The Honourable Asot Michael, Minister of Tourism.
In the meeting with members of the influential FCCA Operations Committee, a presentation was also made promoting new fuel Bunkering services now being offered by the Government via WIOC and Shell, the leading oil company for fuel bunkering in the region.
This first-of-its-kind offering in Antigua will allow cruise ships to easily take on fuel at any of the piers while they are at berth in Port St. John’s. The storage capacity of WIOC for 1.5 million barrels allows Antigua to now offer this bunkering service at very competitive prices to its cruise line partners.
The cruise executives were extremely receptive to this announcement, particularly when they learned that Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas had already made use of the new fuel bunkering services.
Team Antigua and Barbuda were complimented for delivering on a promise made just over a year ago to offer this added incentive for the cruise lines to call at Antigua and help the destination regain its former status as a key port of call on Caribbean cruise itineraries.
Minister Michael used the opportunity to leave this takeaway message with the cruise decision makers. He said “Antigua and Barbuda has made tremendous progress in just two short years in delivering on its promise to its cruise line partners and local industry stakeholders.
President and CEO Adam Goldstein at the end of the presentation to RCCL, when asked for his feedback on the progress that has been made by Antigua, he said he was impressed.
Royal Caribbean also confirmed that Antigua’s efforts have already yielded tangible results in that the ‘Anthem of the Seas’ will be making its inaugural call this December with 5,000 passengers as a direct result of the extension to the existing pier and completion of dredging works.
Additionally for the season 2016/17 the destination will receive a total of 93 calls from RCCL up from 81 calls last season. This represents a 25,000 passenger increase in total passenger from 213,000 last season, to 237,000 this season.