After losing out to other Caribbean nations Antigua is planning large infrastructure developments to attract more superyachts back to the island.
In an exclusive interview the Prime Minister of Antigua Gaston Browne told Boat International that his government is committed to encouraging more superyachts to visit and base themselves in Antigua.
“We lost some market share within the past decade but we are a relatively new government and we recognise the importance of this very crucial sector. We are investing funds in improving infrastructure to attract these yachts, especially mega yachts,” Browne said.
“Superyachts give us the opportunity to attract a number of high net worth individuals to the country. It is a sector we believe is potentially very lucrative.”
The developments will include several new private marinas as well as a new government-backed marina in St John’s harbour. There are also plans to increase other superyacht services, including shopping and provisioning.
“My government is committed to investing more to improve the visitor experience,” said Browne. “It will take some time but I believe in the next 24 months you will see a significant improvement. It is a growth area for us and we want Antigua and Barbuda to be the Mecca for yachting in the Caribbean.”
Violent crime has been an issue in Antigua with the murder of a British honeymoon couple in 2008 attracting global attention. In 2009 superyacht captain Drew Gollan was shot and killed during a failed robbery in English Harbour.
The Prime Minister said that efforts have been made to “beef up” security.
“We did have a couple of unfortunate incidents that took place but I can tell you that we have cleaned up. We can now boast that we are one of the safest places in the world,” he added.
However, British and American governments still highlight issues of violent crime including murder, armed robbery and sexual assault and recommend that tourists take precautions when in Antigua such as avoiding isolated areas, including beaches, particularly after dark.