(St. Johns, Antigua, August 28, 2014) – A historic meeting was held between the Honourable Asot Michael, Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Development Investment and Energy and Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, the Honourable Michael Coteau, at Minister Coteau’s Bay Street office during Minister Michael’s recent visit to Toronto.
In attendance at the meeting of the Ministers were Mr. Rohan Hector, Special Advisor to the Minister and Chairman of the St. Johns Development Corporation, Mr. Colin James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and Antigua and Barbuda Consul General in Toronto, Ms. Ann-Marie Layne.
Minister Michael brought greetings to Minister Coteau on behalf of the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda and both leaders readily agreed that many Antiguans and Barbudans living in Toronto helped build the Canadian economy. Coteau, who is of Grenadian heritage, was reminded by Michael of the close relationship Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada enjoys through the 7-nation Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, (OECS) and the need for Canada to strengthen that bond.
Michael He shared information on the government’s plan to expand and improve the islands tourism infrastructure, citing agreements that have already been recently signed for the construction of luxury accommodations, a golf course and high end shopping facilities.
Minister Michael invited Minister Coteau to visit Antigua and Barbuda to explore how both nations might work in partnership to increase their visitor arrivals. Michael specifically raised the possibility of collaborating on offering double-destination holidays to visitors from China. He suggested packaging a visit to Canada and to Antigua and Barbuda as one trip and sell same to both the high-end Chinese traveller as well as their fast growing middle class. The Ministers agreed that the idea was worth consideration but that logistics would have to be carefully worked out and planned to take it to the next step.
Minister Michael also used the opportunity to broach Minister Coteau with a concept paper to establish training facilities in Antigua for the utilization of Canadian athletes, particularly in the winter months.
In presenting his proposal, Michael cited the abundance of naturally talented athletes in the OECS but the lack of proper facilities in the region for training. He made the case that such a training facility, built by the government of Canada, would also be a tangible contribution to sports development in the Eastern Caribbean, one that would be recognized by all the people and appreciated by the youth. “The construction of such a facility would be an enduring symbol of the friendship of Canada and the members of the OECS” Minister Michael said.
In his presentation Michael also recognized the success Canada enjoys in the Commonwealth and Olympic games, suggesting that the Canadian Minister may wish to consider hosting a Hemispheric Commonwealth Games to be staged alternately in Canada and Antigua. Minister Michael was confident that such an event would bring the additional benefit of promoting the all-important ‘Sports Tourism’ product in both countries.
In concluding, Minister Michael took the opportunity to speak of the energy component of his Ministerial portfolio, referring to Canada’s leadership in the field of renewable energy technology. He recognized that energy was not under Coteau’s portfolio but nonetheless suggested there were opportunities between both countries in this essential area for joint ventures and public/private sector partnerships.
Both Proposals were well received by Minister Coteau who thanked Minister Michael and the members of the delegation for their visit and gave his assurance that the positions put forward would be given careful consideration. Antigua and Barbuda’s Consul General in Toronto Ms. Ann Marie Layne would provide immediate follow-up with Minister Coteau’s office on the plans and proposal put forward on behalf of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.
For further information contact:
Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority
Tel: 1 268 562 7600
Fax: 1 268 562 7602
ABOUT ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
Antigua (pronounced An-tee’ga) and Barbuda (Bar-byew’ da) is located in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. The largest of the Leeward Islands, Antigua & Barbuda comprises 108-square miles. The 365 white and pink sand beaches, one for every day of the year, are just the beginning of the treasures that await visitors. Antigua’s rich history and spectacular topography provide a variety of popular sightseeing opportunities. Nelson’s Dockyard, the only remaining example of a Georgian fort commissioned by the British in 1755, is perhaps the most renowned landmark. Betty’s Hope, built in 1674, is the site of one of the first full-scale sugar plantations on Antigua, and offers a chance to step back into time by visiting the restored mills. Another unique attraction is Devil’s Bridge, located at the eastern tip of the island in Indian Town National Park, where Atlantic breakers have carved out a natural limestone arch. Antigua boasts a varied tourism calendar including events such as the World Class Antigua Sailing Week, Classic Yacht Regatta, Antigua Sports Fishing and also the annual Carnival; known as the Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival. Island accommodation ranges from luxury resorts and all-inclusive hotels to smaller more intimate boutique guesthouses and cottages. For information about Antigua & Barbuda visit www.visitantiguabarbuda.com