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Antigua & Barbuda in bad economic shape despite tourism increase


The President of the Antigua & Barbuda Business Alliance said an increase in tourism, more than local consumption, is what is needed to energize the economy after a recent poll indicated most residents view the economy as poor and are reluctant to make big purchases.

He said in a media interview with local press: “We are totally dependent on First World countries and they have to really recover for us to recover,” he said.

“Besides that, we would do our little token moving things around here, but it is very little we can do inside here.”

The Mind of the Nation poll taken this summer said about 68 per cent of respondents felt economic conditions in the country were either somewhat poor or very poor. Sixty per cent said they thought the economy was getting worse.

Economics Lecturer at the Antigua State College Dwayne George said such negative views of the economy could make things worse.

The poll also indicated that 64 percent of those surveyed thought it was a bad time to buy a major household item.

Ryan said the poll indicated what the general public in Antigua is feeling.

George said government needed to incentivise residents to spend money to give the economy a boost.

Tourism numbers had been increasing, to the dire economic situation of the island country is surprising.

According to the quarterly visitor arrivals report released by the statistics department within the Ministry of Tourism and Investment, the third quarter of 2018, Antigua and Barbuda saw increases in both air and sea arrivals for the period when compared to 2017.

In that time, 52,491 visitors arrived by air to Antigua and Barbuda, an 8.56 percent increase from 2017. Between July and September, 26,631 visitors arrived by sea, an increase of over one-third (36.44 percent) when compared to the total sea arrivals for the previous year.

An 11.99 percent growth in arrivals from the U.S. market, the destination’s largest source market, has contributed to the rise in arrivals for the third quarter of 2018 while the U.K. market experienced a slight decrease of -2.25 percent from 2017 to 2018.

The Canadian market saw a strong performance with a growth of 111.79 percent as the market continues to benefit from increased airlift, brought on by the addition of Sunwing Airlines since November last year, while the Caribbean market continues to hold its own with relatively unchanged figures.

Overall, from January to September 2018, the total visitor arrivals recorded for Antigua and Barbuda stand at 744,390, an increase of 12.18 percent when compared to 2017.

The Ministry of Tourism and Investment expects that visitor arrivals will continue to increase for the remainder of 2018 with significant increased airlift from North America, as well as a full cruise schedule.

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Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.