CEO of the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association Mr. Neil Forrester recently released the data stating that “there are signs of recovery with several hotels showing good occupancy whilst others are struggling to find their clientele”.
Minister of Tourism, the Hon. John Maginley is delighted at the rise in figures and states that the improvements are as a result of the collaborative strategizing and marketing efforts embarked upon between the Ministry, the Tourism Authority and the Antigua and Barbuda Hotels and Tourist Association; not to mention the rigorous marketing campaigns embarked upon by the major properties who have the financial backing to engage in such costly activities.
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. The question is therefore raised “Where are the other properties faltering?”
Forrester notes that the problem lies in the product offered by the properties firstly; and then with regards to the lower end, small independent boutique properties, it has to do with marketing, and the procurement and management of the right distribution channels.
“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”, states Tourism Minister, the Hon. John Maginley. “I also concur with my AHTA colleague on the concept of continuous product development and this too is an area that the government through our technical team and marketing officers in the ABTA can collude on as to the way forward because in this fragile Tourism Industry…Experience Matters!”, Maginley concluded.