The time has come for tourism-sector stakeholders to re-imagine how to better manage, market and measure Antigua and Barbuda’s industry, says Harold Lovell, Political Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP).
Lovell, a former Minister of Tourism, says this is vital, given that this country is listed among the Caribbean’s premier tourist destinations and tourism is the heartbeat of our economy.
He made the call in a message to mark “World Tourism Day 2022,” held under the theme “Rethinking Tourism.”
Lovell says the sitting Administration must focus on getting people back to full employment and ensure that tourism businesses – of all sizes and across all sectors – can recover and realize their full potential.
“This will require a visionary Tourism Master Plan that prioritizes infrastructural upgrades, public education, financing for tourism businesses, linkages to other sectors of the economy, and social protection for tourism workers,” he says.
Lovell also believes the time has come to increase digitalization, so that the tourism workforce can be up-skilled and the country’s competitive edge can be sharpened.
He says the pandemic has caused major disruptions within the global tourism industry, and Antigua and Barbuda must develop a solid plan for resiliency that will allow it to act and not merely react.
The Political Leader says the UPP has a number of long-term plans for the development of the tourism product, including creating a financial climate that will attract reputable foreign, local and Diaspora investments.
Speaking directly to the theme, he says, “We will fuel the industry with innovative strategies to better manage our resources and strengthen our brand in all sectors – accommodations, aviation, cruise, yachting, attractions, food and beverage, transportation and entertainment.”
This is a call to action for Antiguans and Barbudans to pool ideas, resources and talents to make the tourism product the best brand in Caribbean tourism, Lovell concludes.