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(Photo: investantiguaandbarbuda.org)

Antiguan hoteliers dread cancellations from UK

(Photo: investantiguaandbarbuda.org)

The Antigua and Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association (ABHTA) has forecast a falloff in tourism revenue after the Government of the United Kingdom announced the four-week lockdown due to the resurgence in coronavirus cases.

“Many of our members who traditionally see high bookings from the UK are faced with cancellations and extremely low occupancies for the month of November. For hotels that have opened, it is a huge financial hit, especially
after implementing extensive changes to their operation with a focus on ensuring that all protocols are met and maintained,” Vernon A Jeffers, senior chairman of the ABHTA said.

(Photo: ABS TV Radio)

“We have many of our team members as well who will see reduced wages due to a shortened workweek or work in rotation. The harsh reality is many properties are now fighting to remain open and weather the next few weeks,” he continued.

Just last month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK’s second national lockdown after the nation passed the grim milestone of one million coronavirus cases. Beginning last Thursday, November 5, the lockdown would last for a month.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving his daily COVID-19 press briefing at Downing Street on March 22, 2020 in London, England. (File photo)

Waiting for a return to normalcy

Prior to Johnson’s announcement, many Antiguan hotel and tourist attractions had forecast that their performance for the months of November and December would be 50 per cent and greater.

“All eyes were set on the return of the high season and its potential for seeing increasing demand for travel from our major source markets,” a release from the ABHTA noted.

Sandals Antigua (File Photo)

In light of the development in the UK dampening hopes for November, the ABHTA senior chairman pointed out that, “…we are looking forward to December and the normalisation of flights, and also seeing the return of the Canadian carriers. Some guests have opted to rebook [for] the month of December instead of cancelling their vacation and we hope that this trend will mean a strong December for arrivals, barring any extension of the
lockdown.”

Up to last week, 31 major hotels across Antigua and Barbuda were open with fifteen coming into operation only within the last four weeks.