WHAT MINISTER, CHAIRMAN, DIRECTOR SAY ABOUT TOURISM WEEK

The content originally appeared on: The Anguillian Newspaper

With the observation of Tourism Week in Anguilla, from November 28 to December 4, 2021, under the theme Destination Ready: Rediscover, Reimagine, Reignite, four speakers on the island delivered addresses on the event.
The first speaker was the Parliamentary Secretary, Mrs. Quincia Gumbs-Marie. Excerpts of her address are published elsewhere in this edition of The Anguillian newspaper.

The other radio speakers were the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Haydn Hughes; the Chairman of the Tourism Board, Mr. Kenroy Herbert; and the Director of Tourism, Mrs. Stacey Liburd.

Minister Haydn Hughes said that this year’s Tourism Week was not so much about highlighting awareness of the value of the tourist industry to the lives of Anguillians. In his view, it was really more about what they could collectively do to address the challenges that confront them. “The current problems were not of our making, but the solutions, most certainly, are our responsibility,” he stressed. “We were placed here at this time to make a difference and to navigate our country through the most difficult waters.”

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Mr. Hughes went on: “We have taken extraordinary measures to ensure that we protect both our residents and our visitors, as we approach our all-important winter season, starting with the requirement that all visitors to Anguilla who are 18 years or older, except pregnant women, must be fully vaccinated. We have kept the application process in place, along with the submission of a negative Covid-19 test result, and we will continue to test all guests on arrival – with exception to fully vaccinated day trippers from neighbouring St. Maarten/St. Martin.

“It should be noted that… our main source market for visitors, the United States, has also begun to require that all travellers arriving in the US by air be fully vaccinated. Before boarding, passengers will need to show proof of vaccination, and a negative coronavirus test taken within three days of entering the United States.

“Visitors from the UK and Canada are also experiencing changes in protocols. And the same goes for virtually every major tourism destination in the world. The point here is that COVID has helped to remind us that we are all in uncharted territory, and we must always be prepared for circumstances that are sometimes beyond our control.”

Mr. Hughes further stated: “My Ministry, the ATB, and our stakeholders here in Anguilla, and our teams in the main markets overseas, have combined our resources to position Anguilla as a premier tourism destination, accessible to the right prospects, and capable of delivering world-class visitor experience that offer excellent value for money. Our strategy is carefully crafted, and specifically aimed at encouraging consumers to rediscover the pleasures of Anguilla and reimagine their own desires. In many ways this is the challenge of all high-quality destinations, such as ours, that are jostling for the attention of luxury travellers.”

The Chairman of the Anguilla Tourist Board, Mr. Kenroy Herbert, asserted: “Our message is that Anguilla is ready with new resorts, new airlift, new events and new attractions. We have used this period to reimagine our tourism product and the visitor experience, and we invite clients to rediscover Anguilla.”

He continued: “Our ‘Win A Dream Anguilla Vacation’ campaign, launched on September 23, has already garnered figures exceeding our expectations. Our new website launched this week, with new features, breath-taking imagery and in-depth analytics, help us understand and identify our best products. We have negotiated partnerships with highly influential travel brands, such as Lonely Planet and Travel+Leisure, who command a loyal and enthusiastic audience of avid travellers that we will introduce to Anguilla. We are also in discussions with select companies and organisations whose clientele we can leverage for general new brand awareness, and encourage new bookings for the upcoming winter season.”

Mr. Herbert made the point that Anguilla was a special place, also describing it as “the ultimate getaway.” He added: “Our visitors come for the peace and tranquillity we offer, and to enjoy our premium product. We must deliver excellence, whether it’s at a luxury resort or a charming escape property, at a five-star restaurant, a beach bar or a neighbourhood BBQ. This is the hallmark of the Anguilla experience.”

Director of Tourism, Mrs. Stacey Liburd, said that the end of the year [Christmas time], was typically the time when people everywhere count their blessings and embrace the spirit of goodwill. “With the festive season fast approaching, and the temperatures beginning to fall in countries where our visitors live, every Anguillian looks forward to saying: ‘Welcome’ and ‘Welcome back.’”

Mrs. Liburd went on: “As Tourism Week commences, we give God thanks for the many blessings that make our island the destination of choice for tens of thousands of discerning visitors. This is a time when we honour industry workers at every level, and remind ourselves of the opportunities which the tourism industry has provided for Anguillians in practically every area of our economy.

“While professionals in the transportation, aviation, accommodation, entertainment, retail, and food & beverage sectors are on the industry’s frontline, there are others we must also highlight. Sometimes we forget the vital role of researchers, marketers, IT professionals, engineers, legal, medical and construction workers. They too are included in the business of tourism.”

Mrs. Liburd gave kudos to those working with her. “The team at the Anguilla Tourist Board have worked tirelessly to improve our communication with, and outreach to, our industry partners and the wider Anguillian community,” she stated. “We strive to keep you well-informed of our activities, and provide opportunities for you to participate in our initiatives. This is also why we have taken a different approach to Tourism Week this year – hosting a series of educational workshops as well as entertainment events.”

She added: “Together, as we continue to chart Anguilla’s post-pandemic course, the Tourism Week theme urges us to ask whether our destination is ready. The answer is a resounding YES!”