ST JOHN’S, Antigua – As the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Tourism season officially kicked off this past week, the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA), alongside the Antigua Cruise Port, welcomed the return of the regional ferry service, L’Express des Iles from Guadeloupe.
After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Guadeloupe-based ferry arrived in Antigua last Saturday carrying 415 passengers on its chartered day service. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin James, ABTA marketing consultant for the Caribbean & Latin America, Charmaine Spencer along with other ABTA executives, were on-hand to greet and welcome the passengers with a vibrant cultural display of stilt walkers, dancers, and steel pan. The ferry and its visitors came right in time for the holiday season to engage in shopping and enjoying the local holiday festivities that Antigua has to offer.
L’ Express des Iles, or L’ Express as it’s more commonly known, has been in operations for over 30 years providing a fast, reliable, and affordable ferry service for French travellers between the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Les Saintes and Marie Galante, all French International departments, as well as offers services to Dominica and Saint Lucia.
The ferry’s management company, Jeans for Freedom, is delighted to resume its charter services to Antigua, has already announced trips for April and May 2023, and is also planning scheduled dates to facilitate persons wanting to visit for Antigua’s Carnival in August 2023.
“We look forward to growing this business with Jeans for Freedom because it’s great to connect Antigua and Barbuda with our regional brothers and sisters. Antigua and Barbuda have always been a regional hub by air, and now we hope to also have it be a regional hub by sea,” said James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.
Charmaine Spencer, ABTA marketing consultant for the Caribbean & Latin America, noted, “We are elated to see the resumption of this intra-regional sealift because it helps to build both connectivity and capacity for the destination and is a step in the right direction for boosting regional travel”.
L’ Express Captain Olivier Fedor, expressed how happy he is to be back in Antigua and looks forward to bringing more passengers to our shores in the coming months.