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Tourism, Sport Ministers Present at World Travel Market (WTM) in the UK, Antigua's Number One European Market

The Antigua and Barbuda has a major presence at the 35th World Travel Market in London (3-6 November). The high level delegation of senior officials included; Honourable Asot Michael – Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy, Honourable E. P. Chet Greene – Minister of Trade, Industry, Commerce, Sports, Culture & National Festivals, Colin James - CEO Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Ms. Paula Frederick Hunte – Permanent Secretary, Ms. Shirlene Nibbs - Consultant, Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Rohan Hector – Chairman, St. John’s Development Cooperation, Mr. Neil Forrester – General Manager, Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association (AHTA) and Ms. Cherrie Osborne – Director of Tourism for the UK & Europe, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.

The delegation was supported by nine co exhibiting partners: Antigua Yacht Club Marina and Resort; Bluewaters Hotel; Carib World Travel; Cocos Hotel & Keyonna Beach; Elite Island Resort; Hermitage Bay; Jolly Beach Resort and Spa; National Tours and Services and Sugar Ridge.

Throughout the week future strategy meetings were held with many of the UK’s travel industry leaders from key tour operators including Best at Travel, TUI (UK), Caribtours, Kuoni, Travel Counsellors, Lotus, Barrhead Travel, British Airways & BA Holidays, Virgin Holidays. Overall for Antigua and Barbuda both the tour operators and the hotels reported robust forward booking figures for 2015. The final quarter is looking strong, as the destination has already outperformed the number of bookings made in the whole of 2013 in the first six months of 2014 and UK market predicted to deliver double digit growth by the end of this year.

During an on stand presentation on Monday, the Managing Director of Selling Travel Martin Steady presented Minister Michael with the prestigious Travel Agents Choice Award for ‘Best of the Rest Travel Uni Training Programme’ for its online training course, the only travel awards entirely nominated and voted for by UK travel retailers. The Minister thanked the UK travel agents for voting, as Antigua and Barbuda’s phenomenal success can be attributed to the support and commitment the travel agents have given to the destination.

The destination hosted a gala Trade Partners Appreciation Dinner on the first evening on the first evening of the exhibition with 56 people attending from airline partners to tour operators in the presence of Minister Hon. Asot Michael.

On the Tuesday Minister Michael attended the UNWTO Minister Summit joining Ministers from around the world to discuss and debate the topical issue of the links between tourism and mega-events.

“The importance of sport and sporting events to Tourism Development is not only crucial to Antigua but as we learnt throughout the week to Global Tourism Development”. Commented Hon. Asot Michael. “This was our first visit to WTM and proved to be a highly useful exercise. Our one-on-one meetings with our trade partners and exchanges with Ministers from across the globe have strengthened the delegation’s relationships, provided greater insight into the market needs, current trends and factors that will impact Antigua’s main engine of growth tourism in future years helping to increase the country’s overall economic development”.

Honourable E.P. Chet Greene - Minister of Trade, Industry, Commerce, Sports, Culture & National Festivals met with a number sports tour operators and media during the show. The Minister commented “No doubt Antigua and Barbuda as a destination can reap enormous benefits from a well organised and effectively managed Sports-Tourism platform. Marketing out country as the ideal destination for cricket tours with an academy staffed by our international personalities including Sir Vivian Richards, Sir Anderson Roberts, Sir Richie Richardson and Sir Curtly Ambrose, makes us a one of a kind and a must for every young player and definitely an excellent sell for sports tour operators. An additional advantage comes through our ability to host sports conferences, supported by excellent year round weather. Sports in Antigua and Barbuda is an athletes dream.”

World Travel Market is the world’s leading travel trade exhibition, attended by over 50,000 visitors and exhibitors from around the world over the four day period.


Copyright © 2014 Antigua Chronicle
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Antigua Chronicle

Antigua Chronicle News Listing

British national, 77, dies while on vacation at popular Antigua resort

The police are investigating the sudden death of a British national, who died whilst vacationing in Antigua.

It was reported that the 77yrs old man and his wife were spending time at the St. James Club Resort, when he fell ill.

He was rushed to the Mount St. Johns Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead. A post mortem examination is expected into the matter.

The incident took place around 10pm on Tuesday. Further investigations are ongoing.


Copyright © 2014 Antigua Chronicle

Award-Winning Writer Set to Delight Antigua as a part of Three-Island Tour

Award-winning writer A-dZiko Simba Gegele is set to delight audiences in Antigua and Barbuda with her debut novel All Over Again, as a part of a three island tour. The author arrives on Antigua on November 9, 2014 when Best of Books Bookshop (St. Johns) will host a reading by the dynamic author, poet and storyteller. Simba Gegele is the first place winner of the inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean literature and her tour is supported by the award’s organizer, CODE.

All Over Again is a hilarious coming of age story that has received rave reviews across the region and has already delighted audiences in Simba Gegele’s home island, Jamaica (Calabash International Book Festival), as well as Anguilla (Anguilla Literary Festival), and Trinidad and Tobago (Bocas Literary Festival). As a part of the current regional tour, Simba Gegele will go on to Montserrat for the Alliouagana Festival of the Word and later Barbados, where she will be engaging in a series of readings and workshops.

“All Over Again is for young adults and adults who are young at heart and still remember their own heady days of youth,” Simba Gegele said. “It’s like one of those animation movies that you take children to see because you want to see it yourself,” the author explained.

A celebrated storyteller, who is known for her energetic and engaging readings, Simba Gegele is also an internationally anthologized writer whose poetry and prose have appeared in several collections including: The Virago Book of Wicked Verse, Iron Balloons: Hit Fiction From Jamaica’s Calabash Writers Workshop, So Much Things to Say: 100 Calabash Poets, Jubilation!: Poems Celebrating 50 Years of Jamaican Independence, and Watchers and Seekers: Original Anthology of Creative Writing by Black Women Living in Britain.

All Over Again is published by Blouse and Skirt Books, an imprint of Blue Moon Publishing.


Copyright © 2014 Antigua Chronicle

Twenty-million Euro grant for disaster management in the region

Antigua and Barbuda is among regional territories that will benefit from a 20 million euro disaster management grant from the European Union.

The funding has been secured under the ACP-EU CARIFORUM Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme, which will be implemented over a five year period (2014-2019) by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Caribbean Development Bank and the Dominican Republic.

It is expected to support the strengthening of National Disaster Offices and CDEMA in the implementation of the 2014-2024 Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy. In addition to capacity building, early warning, national risk profiling and community-based risk reduction systems are expected to be bolstered locally and regionally.

The EU intervention is also expected to strengthen critical infrastructure in the transportation and water sectors in CARIFORUM countries, to make them more resilient to natural hazards and the climate change and climate variability phenomena.

Head of the European Union Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Mikael Barfod said: "The flash flooding which occurred in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as St. Lucia last December should be a wake-up call for the Caribbean. It should send the signal that the region should be prepared, not only for the hurricane season, but for any disaster related eventuality."

This is not the first time the European Union is providing disaster related support to the Caribbean.

In the past, the EU has supported initiatives such as disaster management capacity building and institutional support as well as installation of regional weather radar systems.

Additionally, they have contributed significantly to the establishment of the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, which provides compensation to countries following disasters.

Other beneficiary countries of the funding are The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, Saint Lucia, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.


Copyright © 2014 Antigua Chronicle

Sandals Hosts Series of UNVEILING Events For Travel Agents in the UK

On 28th, 29th and 30th October 2014, Sandals Resorts hosted more than 1200 travel agents across the UK at a series of ‘Unveiling’ events in Glasgow, Manchester and London.

Agents attending these special events were given the chance to learn more about the Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts and Grand Pineapple Beach Resort products and news, in order to help them to sell more holidays and earn more commission in the coming year.

At each event, the top selling agents were recognised and awarded certificates of ‘Outstanding Achievement’ to thank them for their business and support over the past year.

Attending agents were also given the chance to win one of 20 Sandals holidays through a variety of prize-draws and competitions throughout the evening.

The ‘Unveiling’ events each kicked off with a trade show, where agents could find out more about different aspects of the Sandals Resorts’ Luxury Included® experience, including Discovery Dining, Weddings and Honeymoons, Groups, Golf, Watersports, Island Routes and the newest resorts Sandals La Source Grenada and Sandals Barbados.

This was followed by a fantastic three course dinner and presentations from CEO Adam Stewart; Director of Romance, Marsha-Ann Donaldson Brown; Vice President of Global Sales, Gary Sadler; UK & Europe Managing Director, Karl Thompson; and the regional Business Development Manager for each area.

Also in attendance at each of the three events were several senior delegates from across the Caribbean, including General Managers Josef Zellner (Sandals Barbados), Lennox Dupal (Sandals Halcyon Beach), Gaurav Sindhi (Sandals Grande Antigua) along with Dwight Johnson, Chief Business Development Officer for National Accounts; Omar Josephs, National Manager Industry Relations at Unique Vacations Canada and Brett Warbrick, the new Senior Creative & Marketing Director.


Copyright © 2014 Antigua Chronicle

Antiguan & Barbudan Students Celebrate Independence Overseas

Antiguan & Barbudan nationals studying in the United States celebrated the 33rd anniversary of the country’s Independence at the official Thanksgiving Service held in New York last Sunday, October 26, 2014.

The service was hosted at the Bethel Gospel Assembly in Harlem, New York by the United Nation’s Ambassador Designate, Dr. Walton “Aubrey” Webson.

The contingent of over twenty (20) students who are attending various institutions of higher learning in New York, including Monroe College, Mercy College and City College, are members of the recently founded Antigua & Barbuda Student Association, USA Inc. (ABSA-USA).

At the invitation of the New York Consulate they participated in various aspects of the service. Prior to the church service, thirty five-plus students studying at Monroe College-New York also gathered on October 23rd for a “Meet and Greet” luncheon with the association’s directors Jerry Marshall and Rosannette Kirby and Diaspora Liaison Officer with the New York Consulate, Dr. Dave Ray.

This event was hosted by the Executive Vice President of Monroe College, Marc Jerome.

The students are also expected to participate in the Independence State Gala hosted by Prime Minister, the Honourable Gaston Browne and his wife, Mrs. Maria Browne on November 15th in New Rochelle, New York.

To donate, sign up as a mentor, or to become a student member persons can go the website Association’s website www.absausainc.com and complete the appropriate application.


Copyright © 2014 Antigua Chronicle

Hon. Gaston Browne Receives Knighthood From Sacred Military Constantinian Order Of St. George

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LIAT to cut operational fleet, staff - Reports

LIAT could be heading for staff retrenchments as a result of the airline's decision to cut its fleet from the current eleven aircraft, to nine next year. LIAT Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Evans held talks with airline unions over the carrier's new business plan.

“Like any responsible business we have to examine our cost base and if we fly fewer aircraft in 2015 than in 2014, we also need to reduce our costs to reflect this," Evans said "We have also been mandated by our Board of Directors to ensure that our costs reflect the level of activity that we carry out. It is too early to say what impact there may be on jobs as a result of this, and the company will consult with its staff and their representatives over its plans before making any announcement.”

Though no specific numbers have been mentioned, Antiguan media speculate that as many as 140 employees could be made redundant by the move.

LIAT's total fleet consists of four ATR42-600s, four ATR72-600s, one Dash 8-100 (used for its Quikpak freight service), and eight Dash 8-300s (although only some of the Dash 8 aircraft are still active). With the arrival of its new Avions de Transport Régional machinery, so LIAT plans to phase out its ageing Bombardier (BBA, Montréal Trudeau) fleet completely.

REPUBLISHED


Copyright © 2014 Antigua Chronicle

Department of Youth Affairs to host free youth business training workshop

The Department of Youth Affairs is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the Creative Employment and Business Opportunity workshop (CEBO). The workshop will take place at the Department of Youth Affairs Headquarters from 10-15 November, and is geared towards youth 15-30 years old.

This workshop, which is funded and organized through a CARICOM- Spain Citizen Project, seeks to enhance the capacity for sustainable livelihoods among youth.  CEBO is intended as a tool to engage, inspire, and create entrepreneurial interest and action among youth in and out of school. Participants will be taught how form and develop business ideas using both theoretical and hands on training methods.

Participation in this programme is free but interested persons should register as soon as possible due to limited space. The registration deadline is Friday 7th November.

For registration or more information please contact Sophia Zachariah at the Department of Youth Affairs at 462-6781 or 481-5307.


Copyright © 2014 Antigua Chronicle

33rd Anniversary of Political Independence – Statement by the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition

My fellow citizens and residents, as we commemorate the 33rd Anniversary of Political Independence of our beloved Antigua/Barbuda, let us, to begin with, give thanks and praise to Almighty God for the blessings He has bestowed upon us over the past year, despite our challenges and human frailties, and wish for the continued showering of His blessings upon us as a Nation and as a People.

Thirty three years in the life of a Nation, to write in comparative terms, is not a long time; but it gives us an opportunity to look back with some measure of pride and satisfaction that, in many respects, we have accomplished much but still have much more to do.

As we celebrate, we must all be mindful of our individual and collective responsibility to strive for excellence in everything we do, with the aim of contributing positively, not only to our individual advancement, but, by extension, that of the community and the Nation as a whole.

Our 33rd year of Independence, though, is being held against the backdrop of discontentment and uncertainty.  We have come out of a political campaign that saw a change of Government, and that new Government would have promised a lot but has delivered very little.  The Society is clearly on edge, particularly in light of what has transpired by the Government’s actions, reactions and inactions, which have led to a more divided country and a politically-charged atmosphere. 

The spate of political victimization, discrimination and marginalization which has attended the change of Government does not bode well for giving credence and true meaning to the theme of this year’s celebrations of “Rebuilding Our Nation with Togetherness, Commitment and Perseverance.”  Where is the rebuilding when hundreds, if not thousands, have been wantonly and unwarrantedly sent home to “twiddle their thumbs,” to grieve, to be “starved into submission” and become a permanent part of the growing band of unemployed and disadvantaged?  Where is the “togetherness” when the level of victimization, discrimination and marginalization has reached unprecedented proportions over the last four (4) to five (5) months?  How can we have “commitment” and “perseverance” when nepotism, graft and crafty political partisanship have become the order of the day?  What has become of the laudable pronouncements about healing and reconciliation?

Celebrate we should and celebrate we must!  Our forebears – and many of us alive now – fought long and hard to bring this Nation to where it is today.  We must cherish, but at the same time understand and fully appreciate, what Independence should mean to a young emerging Nation-State in an interdependent but, nevertheless, harsh and sometimes unkind world.

Let us use this 33rd Independence celebrations not only to reflect on what has transpired but to move as a united and committed people across the political, social, religious and economic divide to arrest the divisiveness, the breakdown in social order, and the escalation of crime, especially among our youth, among other ills.

Let me close by calling on the Nation, as a whole, to earnestly pray to Almighty God to guide, guard and protect this Nation from harm, and that we, as a People, will respond by showing continuous love, care, commitment and togetherness, going forward.

Happy Independence!


Copyright © 2014 Antigua Chronicle