PRAISE FOR ANGUILLA’S HOTELS, TOURISM INDUSTRY Island Voted Number One Caribbean Destination

By anguillian July 24, 2017 12:24




Despite a number of challenges, Anguilla has recently been voted as being the top tourism destination in the Caribbean including the Bahamas and Bermuda. The award of this title, based on visitor experience, was made by Travel & Leisure Magazine which rated a number of selected regional destinations and individual properties in terms of beaches, food and other hospitality features.

This was commented on by Anguilla’s Parliamentary Secretary, Tourism, Mr. Cardigan Connor. Speaking as the lone guest on the Government’s interactive radio programme on Tuesday night, hosted by Mr. Mark Romney, Mr. Connor said in part:

“This was not surprising at all because when I was at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation Week, in New York, everybody was saying that Anguilla is doing well and is moving forward, but if you listen to our folks at home, you will think that we are not going anywhere,” Mr. Connor commented. “The last eight years or so have been challenging for Anguilla but, I think, in recent times, you have to give a lot of credit to those in the hotel industry who stuck to the task and those working for us in the markets.

“Despite the fact that our marketing budget needs to be increased in order to be openly competitive – and the other challenges facing us – when people come to Anguilla they realise there is something special. That’s why we have so many repeat guests year after year.” He said statistics over the past several months, up to this month of July, showed increases in the numbers of tourists visiting Anguilla.

Mr. Connor, referring to the number placement of Anguilla as a top destination, continued: “It is great to accept this award and everybody should be applauded for it, but we should not sit back on our laurels. We feel right now as number one, but I think it is a great opportunity for us, if it is a race, to move further and further down the road. There is no reason whatsoever to suggest that, over the coming years, we should fall back in the path. We have put ourselves in a great position to be the leader in the Caribbean, Bermuda and The Bahamas. We talk about one Caribbean, one sea, one people, but the fact is that we all want to be number one. I think for us in the hotel and tourism industry, size doesn’t matter when it comes to quality. Diamonds are small and I think Anguilla is one of them.”

Mr. Connor was pleased that two properties in Anguilla, Zemi Beach and Malliouhana-Auberge, came up for recognition in the top 20 hotels in the region. “If you consider the work that the Goldsteins have done at Zemi Beach, and built at a time when there was a bit of a challenge, that investment was very handy for us in Anguilla,” he stated. “Now to see that Zemi Beach was rated number 10, you have to say kudos to the Goldsteins.

“They invested a lot and I believe over the year and a half their property has been opened they would happily tell you they have been successful. The fact that Shoal Bay East has always been regarded as one of the better beaches in the Caribbean, or even world-wide, means that a property on that beach started with a positive. But, of course, it is much more than just a building on the beach. I am sure the developers have been professional enough to make sure that they did their research and now, after less than 18 months, they have been rated in the top 10 hotels in the region.

“Another property that needed a shot in the arm was Malliouhana-Auberge. You have to say it means a lot to Anguilla. When Malliouhana was built, I think it was the first 5-star hotel on Anguilla and the standards it set really put Anguilla on a plane of success. They have had their challenges over the last 10 years, but to see that of the 25 hotels in the Caribbean, The Bahamas and Bermuda – to have Malliouhana-Auberge at number 19, says so much for us.” The rebranded Malliouhana-Auberge has been operating under that name for some three years.

Mr. Mark Romney took the opportunity to observe that all the other properties in Anguilla regularly attract high praise in the marketplace. “We boast some of the finest properties across the tourism market – when you think about it in terms of the Four Seasons brand – the Reef at CuisinArt and, of course, the new branding of Belmond Cap Juluca,” he pointed out.

Mr. Connor was pleased to report that “visitor numbers at Four Seasons are up on last year and that the property is going to get better and better because it is very much an international brand.” He went on: “Belmond will be the same. We have a great opportunity here in Anguilla, and I think it is a great vote of confidence for Government that Belmond and Four Seasons were prepared to put their name to Anguilla. Malliouhana-Auberge, as I said, has brought some recognition in recent times and Zemi Beach as well. We are hoping that the marketing skills of CuisinArt and the Reef team can also bring them up to scratch as well. For us here in Anguilla, at the Tourist Board, it is also in our best interest to look after a number of our Charming Escapes and this is important for us.”
Commenting on Belmond Cap Juluca, Connor said: “Those persons who wish to know what Belmond is and what it has brought to Anguilla should go and do some research. Belmond saw a great opportunity in adding Cap Juluca to their portfolio and to shape it into something to raise its standard. Over the next couple of years, the plan is to further develop Cap Juluca.

“There is something special about the staff at Belmond Cap Juluca. They have been through trials and tribulations over the past years and still people continued to come back again and again. It is not just for the bricks and mortar or the beach. The energy comes from the people. The staff faced various challenges and uncertainties over the last couple of years, but it is different now. A new management team is coming in; there will be time for training and Belmond will provide that. I believe in a short space of time that Belmond will come to Government with their final plans.”

While interviewing Mr. Connor, Mr. Romney referred to an article he came across about the proposed expansion of the resort. He had this to say: “The current 96 rooms will be increased by an addition of some 25 beachfront villas or suites over the next two years. The estimated cost of the Cap Juluca purchase, the planned renovation and expansion will run to the tune of some 121 million US dollars. This works out per room or per suite or villa to one million dollars. That’s quite a sizeable investment when you put it all together. We are really hoping that, in terms of job creation and employment, that we will get a shot in the arm fairly soon in the construction industry with this build-out.”

By anguillian July 24, 2017 12:24


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