Barbuda has debuted a new tourism campaign at WTM London – its first since Hurricane Irma devastated the island last September, destroying 90% of its structures.
Asha Frank, chair of tourism culture, youth and sport affairs at the Barbuda Council, said WTM London was the “ideal” place to extol Barbuda’s virtues.
“Barbuda’s selling point is delivering a low density, high-end experience. We are a destination where locals and tourists become friends for life. If you want to have the beach all to yourself and have the best lobster, then Barbuda is the place to be.”
Titled “We live it, you’ll love it, visit Barbuda”, the campaign highlights Barbuda’s eco-tourism offerings, such as the Codrington Lagoon – home to the largest Frigate Bird Colony in the western hemisphere.
Frank said preparations were underway to ensure Barbuda was ready for the next tourism season, including the reopening of the Barbuda Codrington Airport and the reestablishment of the SVG Air flight from Antigua. Daily ferry services, which depart from St John’s harbour, have resumed too.
“It’s a slow but sure start. We now have 1,000 locals who have moved back that are participating in a council incentive to ensure the island is ready for the next tourism season. It’s been so great to see everyone coming back.”
Positive news includes the reopening of the six Barbuda Belle Luxury Hotel in Codrington Lagoon Park.
“To see the before and after images really shows how much work has been done,” Frank added.
Additional properties to open on Barbuda include the six-room Barbuda Cottages, which will welcome guests in December and the 125-room Barbuda Ocean Club, currently at the consultation phase of a five-year development.
However, Frank confirmed progress at the Niro-Packer development on the K-Club site had now been postponed. The Hollywood actor and his billionaire business partner James Packer have signed a land lease for 99 years and plan to build 40 cottages with private pools on the 859-acre site.
Regarding visitor numbers, Frank said that the Barbuda Council expected figures to pick up in 2019. “Our source markets are very similar to Antigua – Canada, the US and the UK. I believe we will receive roughly 10,000 of the 250,000 visiting Antigua.”