St. John’s Antigua; Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy the Hon. Asot A. Michael took the opportunity today (Mon) to officially welcome a high level delegation of technical experts from the United Arab Emirates(UAE) to the twin island state of Antigua and Barbuda for advanced bi-lateral communications between the two nations.
The UAE team comprising of Mr. Khalid Al Mannaei, Director of Commercial and Government Relations, Mr. Trevor Chong, Route Planning and Economics of Emirates Airlines, Mr. Hassan Mattar Hassan, Senior Operations Manager of DP World, and Mr. John Caruso, Renewable Energy Expert of MASDAR will engage in two days of bi-lateral discourse and on site visits in a quest to exchange technical expertise and experiences.
During his welcoming address the Hon. Asot A. Michael recognized the significance that such a visit plays in the development of the twin island state, considering the overall goal of the mission which is being hailed as a thrust to collaborate efforts between the Governments of Antigua and Barbuda and the United Arab Emirates in mutual spheres of economic benefit. These areas are inclusive of aviation, port management, and green energy which will further advance burgeoning relations between both countries.
Minister Michael who has responsibility for the areas of Tourism, Energy, and Investment, used the opportunity to engage the Principals of Emirates Airlines about the prospects of having Antigua and Barbuda added to its route.
“I am particularly elated at the presence of a senior executive of Emirates Airlines in the person of Mr. Trevor Chong as it signals a major move forward in the hard work and efforts previously made by the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation in attracting this flagship carrier to our shores. We truly hope that your visit with us over the next two days will further convince you that Antigua and Barbuda has all the necessary technical and operational facilities required to position us as one the best destinations in the region to accommodate Emirates Airlines as you expand your network operations to the Americas”, remarked Minister Michael.
The Hon. Minister of Energy highlighted the urgent need for strategic collaboration with the UAE in a quest to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. Highlighting the fact that the UAE are trailblazers in the area of green economics, the Hon. Minister expressed the hope that “through these extremely warm and cordial bilateral relations, and the synergies and linkages that we have formed, that the United Arab Emirates will play a major role in helping Antigua and Barbuda to attain its energy security objectives”.
Investment opportunities in the field of Tourism via the Citizenship by Investment Program were highlighted by the Hon. Minister as well. He remarked that, “while I have the distinct honour to drive the policy agenda of our Government’s tourism policy, it would be remiss of me not to suggest that there are many opportunities available in the tourist industry through which we can attain mutual gains”. He continued that, “the existing opportunities here in Antigua and Barbuda revolve around our Citizenship by Investment program, which is rated as one of the best of its kind in the world, and by establishing cultural exchanges, which will foster cooperation between our countries”.
The packed two day agenda of the visiting team will include a tour of the newly constructed Sir. V.C. Bird International Airport, the Antigua Port Authority and the PV Renewable Energy Site on the Sir George Walter Highway.
The delegation will also be given a first class opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of the beautiful twin island state during an official island tour.