Driven by U.S. travelers to the Caribbean nation, overnight visitors to Antigua and Barbuda during July surpassed numbers for the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, the country’s tourism minister said late Monday.
Arrivals at Antigua and Barbuda’s V.C. Bird International Airport totaled 23,405 visitor arrivals in July of this year, surpassing the record 23,031 visitors reported in July of 2019.
The dual-island nation continues to experience “a steady increase in arrivals during the summer months,” said Charles Fernandez, Antigua and Barbuda’s minister of tourism, who described tourism to the country as “booming.”
“There has been a visible change in the travel behavior of our visitors brought on by the covid-19 pandemic,” Fernandez said. “July has been an extremely strong month with demand for the destination from the U.S. market as well as the U.K. market.”
July’s visitor uptick was led by U.S. travelers, who totaled 15,350 arrivals, a 33.4 percent leap compared with the 10,221 visitors reported in July of 2019. Antigua and Barbuda also reported 6,521 arrivals from the United Kingdom in July, a 17.5 percent increase over the 5,378 travelers reported in July 2019.
Officials noted air connections with other markets “are still not up to pre-covid levels,” as Antigua and Barbuda received 839 tourists from the Caribbean and 107 from Canada in July.
The “continued upward trajectory” in air arrivals is “a clear indication that the recovery is well underway,” said Colin James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.
“This is particularly encouraging in that this July which is the best July ever for air arrivals was accomplished in a year when Antigua’s carnival was again cancelled due to the pandemic as compared to 2019 when we had carnival,” said James.
“July saw a return to very high occupancies particularly across our mid-range sized hotels who performed at 80 percent and higher,” said Vernon A. Jeffers senior executive chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association.
Added Jeffers, “We certainly hope that these occupancy levels are sustained over the next few months as travelers continue to make last-minute decisions to travel to the destination.”
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