Caption: The Minister of Tourism of Antigua and Barbuda, Charles Fernández, and a delegation from the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority meet with executives from American Airlines at Routes Americas (Photo courtesy of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority).

The Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Transportation, and Investments of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honorable Charles Fernandez, led the Routes Americas event, an air service development event, in Bogota, Colombia, earlier this month. Along with the Minister, the team from the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) included the Director of Tourism for the Caribbean and Latin America, Charmaine Spencer, the Director of Sales and Marketing (USA), Norrell Joseph, the Director of Business Development (UK), Joel Henry, and the Managing Director of BlueSea, Maria Britto-Bettini. The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism officials had a busy schedule, holding thirty-five meetings with airline executives over three days. Following productive discussions with American Airlines, the immediate outcome was an increase in flights. Daily flights from Charlotte (North Carolina) to V.C. Bird International Airport will begin on December 5, 2024, and continue throughout the Caribbean winter season (summer in the Southern Hemisphere). The Miami route will also continue to operate two daily flights during the summer and winter, offering year-round service from Miami International. Delta will also increase service to twice a week during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter seasons in 2024 and 2025.

The Tourism Minister stated, “We are enjoying increases in air transport from our established markets, with the USA continuing to show the greatest expansion, with more daily flights added for the critical summer and winter months. We are pleased that American Airlines will offer daily flights to Antigua from JFK and Charlotte airports in winter and will maintain double daily services from Miami, boosting air connectivity through the company’s main hubs.”

In addition to the increase in services with American Airlines, the destination will also see JetBlue increase its flights from three times a week to daily during the Caribbean summer of 2024. Delta will increase its flights from Atlanta to twice a week in the winter of 2024, and United will offer daily services during the winter months (summer in the Southern Hemisphere). This growth in air transport from the largest source market will be crucial to support the increase in room availability with the opening of new properties like the Royalton Chic.

Other notable successes included Westjet maintaining two weekly flights year-round from Canada, and the resumption of direct service by Condor from Frankfurt during the winter season, from November 2024 to April 2025.

British Airways, the largest airline flying to this destination from the UK, is also considering offering a daily service from the UK in the next Caribbean winter season.

All the airlines currently operating in Antigua have reported that demand for the destination is growing as a result of strong marketing campaigns carried out by the Tourism Authority.

Participation in Routes Americas, in Colombia, also provided the opportunity to forge valuable connections with regional decision-makers and influencers in air service development and with other tourism and travel officials, particularly in the rapidly expanding Latin American market.

During a welcome cocktail hosted by ABTA and organized by EM Marketing & Communication as part of the Routes Conference, to network with airline officials, tourism professionals, media, and regional and government officials, the Minister stated: “It is important for me to emphasize that, along with our established markets, Antigua and Barbuda recognizes that the Latin American traveler will be vital in boosting our tourism figures.” He added, “Antigua and Barbuda’s ability to forge strong and mutually rewarding partnerships within Latin America are fundamental to our long-term strategy, and the growth of our connectivity is a direct result of ABTA’s strategy to execute specific sales strategies in key markets.”

The annual Routes Americas conference and exhibition is dedicated to the development of air routes through meetings with global airlines. This allows destinations to foster relationships with new and existing airline companies, develop strategies, and at the same time, maintain and enhance air routes. Each year, the conference brings together key airline, airport, and tourism authority officials from across the Americas (North America, Central America, South America), the Caribbean, the UK, and Europe, to discuss and agree on their air route networks.

About Antigua and Barbuda Antigua (pronounced An-tee’ga) and Barbuda (Bar-byew’da) are located in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. This twin island paradise offers its visitors two unique experiences, ideal year-round temperatures, a rich history, vibrant culture, exciting excursions, award-winning resorts, mouthwatering cuisine, and 365 stunning white and pink sand beaches, one for each day of the year. Antigua, the largest of the Leeward Islands, covers 108 square miles and boasts a rich history and spectacular topography that provides a variety of tourist attractions. Nelson’s Dockyard, the only remaining example of a Georgian fort declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, is perhaps the most famous landmark. Antigua’s tourism event calendar includes Antigua and Barbuda Wellness Month, Run in Paradise, the prestigious Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, Antigua and Barbuda Restaurant Week, Antigua and Barbuda Art Week, and Antigua’s annual Carnival, known as the biggest summer festival in the Caribbean. Barbuda, Antigua’s smaller sister island, is the ultimate celebrity retreat. The island lies 27 miles northeast of Antigua, just a 15-minute flight away. Barbuda is renowned for its 11 miles of pristine pink sand beaches and for housing the largest frigate bird sanctuary in the Western Hemisphere. More information about Antigua and Barbuda at: “Antigua and Barbuda’s ability to forge strong and mutually rewarding partnerships within Latin America are fundamental to our long-term strategy, and the growth of our connectivity is a direct result of ABTA’s strategy to execute specific sales strategies in key markets.”