ST JOHNS, Antigua – Antigua and Barbuda celebrated the arrival of an inaugural flight from Colombia to Antigua and Barbuda expected to open up trade and tourism opportunities for the destination.
Antigua and Barbuda’s minister of foreign affairs, international trade and immigration, Paul ‘Chet’ Greene, joined with airport and tourism officials at the V.C. Bird International Airport to greet the arrival of the Gran Colombia de Aviación (GCA) charter flight organized through a tour operator, South America Venture Ltd.
The international trade and foreign affairs minister said: “This project intends to bring not only passengers, but also bilateral trade between Antigua and Barbuda, and Colombia. Colombia is only the first step in our exploration of South America. We are going to explore the entire South America corridor ensuring that we build synergy, build capacity among our people and expand our tourism trade.”
In 2018, the government of Antigua and Barbuda established bilateral trade relations and provided visa waiver access between Colombia and Antigua and Barbuda.
With South American winters occurring during June – September, minister Greene added that this too poses a very exciting moment for tourism, allowing for the extension of Antigua and Barbuda’s tourist season post-North American winters, by targeting the South American visitor seeking out warm weather, during their cold winter months.
At the start of 2019, one of the objectives for the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority was to explore non-traditional markets with the goal of growing tourism arrivals and introducing potential new visitors to the destination.
Minister of tourism and investment, Charles Fernandez said at the time, “This new tourism foray into the growing South American Market is part our strategic push to increase visitor arrivals in the slower summer periods and to carve out a competitive niche for ourselves.
Following Saturday’s inaugural flight, marketing consultant for the Caribbean and Latin America Charmaine Spencer said: “This direct lift now really allows us to aggressively tap into and grow our share of the large Latin American market.”
The new service which begins in early 2020, will allow consumers to travel to and from St John’s, Antigua and Cartagena, Colombia within two and a half hours.
Founder and managing director of South America Venture (SAV) Ltd., Maria Britto-Bettini said: “I wish for all of Antigua and Barbuda, and Colombia to enjoy our beautiful countries and also the trade that we can offer.”