Antigua tourism continues to rebound
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, Monday May 14, 2012 – Antiguan hotels are showing signs of recovery with the country recording its best occupancy levels in the past three years.
This has come from chief executive officer of the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association, Neil Forrester, who recently released data showing that the island had recorded its best hotel occupancy figures for April since 2008 with an average of 63.8%.
He added that this year’s statistics beat those of 2010 with 58.4% and 2011 with 61.0%.
In April 2008, the pre-recession era, occupancy rates stood at an overall average of 72.4%. Out of a sample of 29 hotels 36% of the rooms available are attributed to the Elite Grouping and Sandals Brand with the said properties accounting for 51% of the rooms occupied.
However, Forrester also acknowledged that some hotels were struggling to find their clientele. He attributed those challenges to problems with the product offered by the properties firstly; and especially in case of the lower-end, small independent boutique properties, he said they faced challenges related to marketing, and the procurement and management of the right distribution channels.
Minister of Tourism, John Maginley, expressed delight in the overall rise in occupancy levels and stated that the improvements were as a result of the collaborative strategizing and marketing efforts embarked on between the Ministry, the Tourism Authority, and the Antigua and Barbuda Hotels and Tourist Association; as well as the rigorous marketing campaigns embarked upon individually by major properties that had the financial resources to engage in such costly activities.
“Visibility and proper placement in today’s ever competitive global tourism market are the key essential elements in ensuring that rooms are filled year round”, stated Maginley.
The minister also advocated for continuous product development by tourism attractions and assured that the government would offer those in need assistance in this area through its technical team and marketing officers in the tourism authority.