Record year for cruise tourism in 2015

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The cruise tourism sector is celebrating a significant increase in cruise visitor arrivals to the island this past year.

Approximately 340 vessels visited the shores of Antigua & Barbuda in 2015, bringing a total of 650,000 passengers. According to President of the Antigua & Barbuda Cruise Tourism Association, this represents a “24 per cent increase over the past year”.

“This has been one of our best years for a very long time, in terms of the numbers of passengers. It really created an opportunity for our people in Antigua & Barbuda to benefit,’ Dundas said.

“Not many destinations can actually show a reflection of 24 per cent within a year period. Of course, we have the issue of cruise spending, but it shows that we have an opportunity to become creative and proactive based on the number of people we have coming in, and we have to do our best to capitalise on that,” he added.

Another first, in a long while for the twin island state, was the number of inaugural calls to the island.

“We had a record number of new cruise calls to the twin island state, 11 new cruise calls,” Dundas said.

Among those was the Arison from Pullmantur. The vessel returned to the island after a 12 year absence.

Dundas said the cruise ship made one call to Antigua, but will be returning this year with follow-up visits.

The 2016 season is also shaping up nicely so far, according to the cruise tourism official.

As early as next week, Antigua & Barbuda will welcome its biggest ship in terms of gross tonnage – the Norwegian Breakaway.

The vessel has a passenger capacity of over 5,000.

There’s also much more on this story in today’s Daily Observer.

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