Antigua and Barbuda is ready to receive its yachting guests for the start of the Winter Season and is sending a clear signal that Antigua and Barbuda is open.
The docks are well-booked and marine service businesses, restaurants, stores and yacht services are gearing up to receive an influx of boats who have already set sail for the Caribbean.
The marinas are all implementing protocols to control access to the docks. Wearing of masks, sanitization and social distancing are all key along with temperature testing prior to being given access to the docks. Restaurants similarly have re-laid their floors to ensure that guests can enjoy a socially distanced enjoyable dining experience.
There are plans afoot to execute all of the yachting events on the calendar including the Budget Marine Hightide Series, the Nelsons Pursuit Race, the Superyacht Challenge Antigua, RORC Caribbean 600, Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, Antigua Sailing Week and other fun one day races.
The ABMA is working with the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health on upcoming Covid-19 compliance training certificate for its members to ensure yacht workers understand the necessary precautions needed to be taken to ensure the safety of all. Of this the Yachting Cruise & Marine Development Officer Tanny Rose Jr. says, “The Ministry of Tourism has been leading a concerted effort in partnership with other government agencies, particularly the ministry of health, to devise specific protocols and guidelines for our marinas and port of entries. A major imperative is training for all stakeholders. Taxi drivers, yacht workers, restaurant and bar staff as well as vendors have all participated in health protocols workshops. The series of training exercises are intended to ensure that our frontline ambassadors and our visitors can safely enjoy the world famous unique and authentic Antigua & Barbuda experience ”.
Work has also been ongoing with the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) to ensure that the world understands that Antigua and Barbuda are open for business. Senior Business Development Manager for ABTA for the USA, Donyelle Bird-Browne says, “Antigua & Barbuda is undoubtedly the perfect year-round destination, to safely sail or charter a yacht, with your family and friends. Choosing our distinctive space in the sun, is choosing twin- islands with consistently ideal sailing conditions, powder white sand beaches, fabulous local dishes, and a spirited cultural environment. It is choosing exciting regattas, watersports activities, slow sailing to our outer islands, or simply relaxing, and watching the sun rise or set in paradise, from your own private sundeck.” She went on to say, “Given the logistical challenges of the new health and safety protocols globally, we are grateful, and encouraged by the current level of interest, and bookings for our destination. We are open, and we remain focused and committed to our community, visitors, and industry partners, on the provision of a seamless, enjoyable, valuable, and complete experience; inclusive of sun, sea and safety”.
In closing the Minister of Tourism has said “No effort has been spared in getting the yachting industry ready for its re-opening. We were always confident that favourable winds would hit this sector first before any other in our tourism industry. I am pleased with the results of the coordinated effort by all involved to overcome the prevailing challenges and equally as enthusiastic to join in the welcome of our yachting family to our shores. Antigua & Barbuda has long been known as the Mecca of Yachting in the Caribbean. We are eagerly looking forward to once again putting this proud distinction on show. Come sail with us!”