CHIEF MINISTER & PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY SPEAK ABOUT TOURISM Up To 500 Rooms May Be Available for Christmas

anguillian
By anguillian November 27, 2017 12:20 Updated

 

 

Following the impact of Hurricane Irma, there has been much concern over the island’s tourism season which should now have been well underway, but which has been setback with the main hotels and restaurants still to reopen.

Notwithstanding this, however, a number of local properties are in operation, and at least two of the hotels are expected to reopen soon. One is Carimar Beach Club, at Meads Bay, which will reopen fully on December 1; and the other is CuisinArt Resort and Spa and The Reef which will partially reopen on December 10.

The Anguillian asked Chief Minister and Minister of Tourism, Mr. Victor Banks, and Parliamentary Secretary, Tourism, Mr. Cardigan Connor, for their comments on the recovery process of the industry, in Anguilla, and what the marketplace is being told.
Here are Mr. Banks comments:
“Tourism is probably one of the most challenging sectors of Anguilla after the hurricane. It is obvious that the properties were seriously damaged. As a consequence, it not only affects the investment, but it also affects the employees who work at those properties. It also affects Government’s revenue so we have a stake in seeing the properties up and running.

“I think that the investors in the tourism sector have done very well for the employees for the most part. Most of them have gone beyond what is required by law – and there are a number of properties that I believe have been extremely damaged. So that is helpful at a time when the whole community is in a state of uncertainty because we don’t know when some of the properties are going to be opened.

“Thankfully, however, there are a number of properties that are going to be opened this year. They are not large properties, but they are a very important part of the tourism plant, so we are looking forward to that. I have visited every single property in Anguilla. I know what their challenges are and, for the most part, I think they are genuinely trying to get up and running as quickly as possible. The logistics for reconstruction of hotels are very much more complex than anything that we know. Rooms can be in good shape, but they have to be kept cool for the guests especially in these kinds of climates – so all those matters have to fall in place to make things happen. The major hotels don’t want to open unless they are properly prepared to open to ensure that guest experience is at its highest level. That is very important.
“I spoke to one of the key properties, of forty rooms, and they said to me that they want to open by December 20th, and I can see that they are well on their way to doing that. There are a couple of other small properties that are also opening some villas and so on.

“I estimate that if we can get between forty and fifty percent of our hotel rooms up and running by January, we still will have an opportunity to let the world know that Anguilla is open for business. It is still an opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive and for workers to be gainfully employed. The Government is doing what it can to complement what the investors themselves are doing.”

Parliamentary Secretary, Tourism, Mr. Cardigan Connor, had this to say:

“What is on mind right now is that we are moving very much in a positive direction. For a number of people, in Anguilla, the belief was initially that the tourism industry would not come on stream until pretty much at the end of the first quarter of 2018. But we have had a lot of positive feedback from a number of the smaller hotels, as well as villas, that they have bookings for the Christmas period. In the case of some of the major hotels, their projected time would be even earlier than initially predicted.
“Now, what is also important is electricity throughout the island. I must say that the Government, the Governor and the British Government have done a terrific job by assisting as much as possible so that we can have electricity throughout the island hopefully before Christmas. It is believed that up to ninety-five, to even a hundred, percent of the island will have electricity by then.

“If that is the case, then I think we will be very fortunate because a number of our people had pretty much resigned themselves to the fact that, straight after Hurricane Irma, it would be a very long drawn out process. I think that the fact that right now we are moving forward, with a great speed, raises the esteem of all of our people.
“I would also like to say that it puts ANGLEC in a far greater light. Despite the fact that a number of people would have been donated with generators, or have bought generators of their own, there is a greater appreciation of what it costs to get electricity. I think ANGLEC is doing a terrific job out there on the roads. I also think, going forward, as I said, we will have a greater appreciation for ANGLEC.”

Mr. Connor was asked what the Ministry of Tourism and the Anguilla Tourist Board were telling the marketplace.

“We are telling the marketplace that Anguilla will have up to five hundred rooms available for the Christmas season,” he replied. “What again is very important is that the main structure of Anguilla’s tourism is still very much there – and going into 2018, with Four Seasons expected to come on stream as well as a number of other properties, it would suggest that we are moving in the right direction. We have a number of repeat guests who have decided that Anguilla is the place they want to come to – whether it has been damaged or not. It is a case of saying we are with you, regardless.

“For us, having 2017 as a really positive year for us, and having been rated the number one destination in the Caribbean… would suggest that it is believed out there that Anguilla is a destination of choice.

“Surely, we have been hit by Hurricane Irma but we will come back stronger; and we will get there because we all believe that it is something that we will do our very best to make happen.”

anguillian
By anguillian November 27, 2017 12:20 Updated

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