HONORABLE ASOT MICHAEL MINISTER OF TOURISM, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, INVESTMENT & ENERGY REMARKS FOR KNICKERBOCKER COCKTAIL EVENT NOVEMBER 4TH 2015 KNCKERBOCKER HOTEL, NEW YORK, NY 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
H.E. Ambassador Aubrey Webson, Mr. Dennis Corrigan, VP of Sales & Revenue Management at JetBlue Airways, Other Jet Blue and Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Officials, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism and Travel Partners, Distinguished guests, Members of the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen; good evening,
It is truly an honor to be able to address such a great audience. Thank you for joining us to mark an incredibly important new beginning: a new relationship with our esteemed partners, JetBlue and a new non-stop flight to Antigua and Barbuda.
We truly wanted a venue befitting of how important this new partnership is, and knew this wonderful rooftop in the heart of New York – Times Square – was the perfect venue.
You can feel the energy of this city that mimics the enthusiasm and energy Antigua and Barbuda has for this new service between the East Coast and our twin island nation. New York and the tri-state area is truly our heart, as it is our most important market in North America. Not only do we have the largest diaspora community here, but throughout the years, we've found New York audiences to be the greatest fit to everything we have to offer visitors: paradise via a short 4 hour flight.
If we seem incredibly effusive; it is because we are. New airlift is integral to the success of our tourism industry. If you can't get to Antigua and Barbuda – how are you and other possible visitors going to discover why we're the best destination in the Caribbean?
Just being able to announce there are three new nonstop flights a week from New York to Antigua alone would be reason alone to celebrate. What makes this such a significant announcement is that we are here, partnering with our new friends at JetBlue Airways who are leading the aviation industry. From on-board service to the overall customer experience – JetBlue is truly the most innovative airline in the industry. Forcing legacy carriers to follow their lead.
With JetBlue we know that flying with them is an incentive for passengers and visitors, and we are confident this new service will be a success. In fact the inaugural flight tomorrow morning was sold out 3 weeks in advance! In case you think this might be due to the fact that it is an inaugural flight, many flights during our peak winter season are already nearly sold out. Proof positive that together: JetBlue and Antigua and Barbuda is a winning combination!
As the Minister for Tourism, Economic Development Investment and Energy, I am giving my word to everyone here this evening that Antigua and Barbuda will not only meet but also exceed our responsibilities for ensuring the success of this new connection. While JetBlue will be providing seamless, smooth and enjoyable service to Antigua and Barbuda – everyone on the twin island nation will be ensuring visitors receive the best experience possible from the point they touch down to departure.
Arriving passengers will experience our new VC Bird International Terminal – the newest and most modern airport in the Caribbean. This service will continue across the portfolio of properties from leading brands in the industry such as Sandals – who are here this evening – to boutique hotels some of which offer a chic green eco-friendly experience.
Dining options range from the popular Nelson's Dockyard Seafood Friday's recently featured in USA Today in the top 5 Caribbean “Fish Frys” to fine dining at master restaurants.
All this of course is, in addition to our pristine beaches – we have 365 of them. One for each day of the year – and beautiful waters that are perfect for any water sport from yachting to deep sea fishing to scuba diving and snorkeling.
The idiom there is something for everyone is truly befitting of what we have to offer in Antigua and Barbuda. What I believe truly separates us is the genuine warmth, hospitality and friendliness of our people. It is why we have some of the highest rates of repeat visitors in the region.
So tonight we celebrate being able to share this warmth and hospitality with even more people through this new JetBlue service from New York! We're confident that working together this partnership will be a success.
I hope that everyone enjoys the evening, the unrivaled view of the heart of New York, and ask that you share the story of Antigua and Barbuda and JetBlue's new flight with all of your colleagues, friends and respective audiences.