Embracing the new world of tourism

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LONDON, England —  The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) is in the midst of London’s World Travel Market (WTM) held annually –  the world’s leading conference for the travel industry. While the event has transitioned to a virtual platform this year, the three-day conference welcomes exhibitors, buyers, media, and industry professionals for a chance to network and negotiate with members of the tourism community.

Colin C. James, chief executive officer of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority on November 10 joined a virtual WTM panel of leading tourism industry experts to discuss the Future of Travel and Embracing the New World of Tourism.

Led and moderated by BBC presenter, Babita Sharma, ABTA’s chief executive officer was joined by Dr Betty Radier chief executive officer of the Kenya Tourism Board, Jonathan Keane managing director of Global Aviation, and Godja Sönnichsen – director of communications at TUI Cruises.

The session aimed to explore the future of tourism and to discuss what the new trends and priorities of travellers will be in the coming years. Following the immediate impact of the pandemic, the tourism landscape has now developed; the session touched upon the key challenges for destinations and travel brands moving forward.

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Weighing in on how Antigua and Barbuda is keeping up with the evolving landscape of the travel industry, the tourism authority’s chief executive officer touched upon the various health and safety measures that have been implemented across the island which will likely be a regular feature for holidays going forward.

While this year has seen many countries shutting their borders and enforcing quarantine restrictions, the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda continued to remain open for business and have retained a consistent spot on the UK’s air bridge agreement list. Health and safety and are the top priorities for the islands which have introduced several strict protocols that must be adhered to by both residents and visitors alike.

James also touched upon the recently launched Nomad Digital Residence (NDR) programme which encourages UK travellers, who can meet the requirements of their employers, to relocate to Antigua for up to two years to work remotely from its idyllic shores. The programme provides some much-needed space and recuperation following a turbulent 2020 and offers some of the emerging trends that UK travellers are now prioritising; including space, natural beauty and a focus on mental wellbeing.

Following an unprecedented year of challenges for the tourism sector, the panel ended the discussion with optimism for the future. While the landscape will continue to change and develop over the next few weeks and months, the insights offered by the chief executive officer of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin James and his fellow panelists showed commitment and resilience, as the industry continues to rebuild.

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