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Latest News from Antigua and Barbuda

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA JUBILEE YEAR CELEBRATED BY NEW YORK MEDIA AND TOURISM INDUSTRY OFFICIALS

New York, NY (Nov. 10, 2005) – The Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism held a celebratory reception Thursday evening at Helen Mills Theater to kickoff a yearlong marketing campaign -- the Jubilee Year of Festivals -- promoting major festivals and events the twin island nation will host in the next 12 months. The Antigua and Barbuda flag flew proudly outside of the midtown theater, indicating that Antigua and Barbuda had taken over New York City for the evening, bringing the warmth and spirit of the Caribbean to New Yorkers.

Of special note, Antigua and Barbuda celebrated their 25th Anniversary of Independence on Nov. 1, 2006, and in keeping with the silver jubilee theme, island officials treated the approximately 125 journalists, travel agents, hoteliers, tour operators and airline representatives at yesterday’s reception to 25 zesty island delicacies prepared by renowned Antiguan Chef Murphy. The guests also delighted in the spirit and sounds of Antigua, as they enjoyed the melodic beats of steel pan music and the colorful costumes and rhythms of Antigua’s Carnival performers.

Highlights of the Jubilee Year of Festivals campaign include:
· 25 Reasons to Travel to Antigua and Barbuda
· 25 Adventures You Ought to Try in Antigua and Barbuda
· and, 25 Tips When Traveling to Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is also commemorating 25 years of hosting International Cricket, 40 Years of Sailing Week (one of the premier yachting events in the world) and 50 Years of Carnival.

“We are thrilled to have so much to celebrate and offer our visitors, as we work to secure our place as the most tropical and romantic destination in the Caribbean,” noted Derede Whitlock, Antigua and Barbuda’s director of tourism for the United States. “It was important for us to show our guests that the beautiful, pristine beaches are just the beginning of what awaits visitors to Antigua and Barbuda and we were happy to share with them a taste of the rich culture, sense of adventure and unique beauty that our destination offers.”
Whitlock also stated that the goal of the new marketing campaign is to increase and extend travelers’ visits by offering an aggressive calendar of activities for them to experience.
During the reception, several notable accolades were also shared -- the romantic destination was declared “Best Wedding Island of the Year” for the second year in a row by Caribbean World International magazine. American Express named Antigua and Barbuda as one of their top five wedding and honeymoon destinations. Also, renowned web-based travel service, Expedia.com, listed the islands as the “Best Beach Destination.

After being introduced by Whitlock, who emceed the evening’s activities, the Honorable Harold Lovell, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, thanked guests for attending and said that he was, “pleased to say we have much to celebrate these days and even more to look forward to in the coming months. We expect a buzz of activity and a surge in visitor arrivals.” Lovell also announced, “ In just a few months, Antigua and Barbuda will welcome with great pride and fanfare one of the most anticipated international sporting events—2007 ICC Cricket World Cup.”

Work on the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium has entered the final stages that include painting and installation of the seats and is expected to open in time to host the matches scheduled in Antigua. With an estimated cost of $54 million, the stadium will have a seating capacity of 10,000 with an additional 10,000 seats arranged to accommodate the 20,000 guests expected during World Cup.

Lovell also discussed the recent boom in development that has resulted in 40 tourism-related new construction and renovation projects currently underway that are scheduled for completion over the next five years. Some highlights include a $70 million expansion at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa and a $35 million investment in the construction of Best Western Dickenson Bay Palace Resort – the first domestic American chain on the islands.

Representatives from a variety of renowned publications attended the event, including: Travel + Leisure, Brides, AAA’s Car and Travel Monthly, Travel Agent and Millionaire Magazine.

ABOUT ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
Journey into the heart of the Caribbean and discover the sister islands of Antigua and Barbuda, where translucent turquoise waters gently lapping against 365 white and pink sand beaches are just the beginning of the treasures that await visitors. As one of the world’s top tropical destinations, accommodations range from trendy, boutique hotels to all-inclusive resorts, and are complimented by a rich cultural heritage and diverse recreational activities that ensure an authentic Caribbean experience.

The Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism would like to remind travelers of new passport requirements: Beginning January 8, 2007, the U.S. Department of State will require all U.S. citizens traveling via air or sea to present a valid passport for travel and re-entry into the United States. For information on obtaining a U.S. passport, visit the U. S. Passport Services Web site: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html or contact the U.S National Passport Information Center, (877) 487-2778.

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Media Contact:

Marie Kephart
(407) 838-1827
Marie.Kephart@ypbr.com

Heather Keroes
(407) 838-1704
Heather.Keroes@ypbr.com

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