Hoteliers blamed for drop in tourism

Michael, who spoke on the Voice of the People said the decline can be attributed to a failure by hoteliers to liaise with main tour operators and the fact the some of the country’s room stock is simply unsellable.

“The drop in arrivals is directly attributed to about 35 percent of our room stock that is just not sellable, or should I say underperforming,” he said.

“Look at properties like the Royal Antigua Hotel. They have absolutely none, or very little relationship with any of the main tour operators to sell their inventory.”

Antigua & Barbuda recorded the third highest decline in the region, behind Bermuda and Montserrat. During the same period, 16 of the 22 states within the Caribbean Tourism Organisation saw increased arrivals.

The opposition has argued the drop came as a result of Michael’s decision, upon taking office little over a year ago, to scrap a web marketing plan and other initiatives put in place by former Tourism Minister John Maginley.

The tourism minister cast blame on the operators of the Jolly Beach Hotel, Rex Halcyon and Hawksbill for failing to re-invest in their properties.

“We gotta make sure we re-invest into our hotels, so that they’re sellable. These hotels are not five star hotels, they’re not four-star, but they’re very important to our overall tourism product, because these are the hotels that fill the back of the planes. These are the hotels that bring the three-star visitors to your country and you need these hotels,” he said.


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