ANTIGUA: Deal with Italian airline for increased airlift

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bimjim
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ANTIGUA: Deal with Italian airline for increased airlift

Unread post by bimjim » Sun Feb 21, 2010

http://www.caribbeandailynews.com/?p=6485

ANTIGUA: Officials sign deal with Italian airline for increased airlift
Posted by admin on 2/20/10 • Categorized as Antigua & Barbuda, Tourism

ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Officials of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) have signed a deal with Italian airline, Livingston, to expand its services to twin-island nation.

Chief Executive Officer of the ABTA Colin James said that under the new deal the weekly charter which usually runs until April will continue until the first week of September.

Additionally, Livingston has also committed to begin its winter schedule for this year in October instead of November.

Livingston presently operates direct charter flights between the city of Milan and the VC Bird International Airport.

“The good thing about the additional airlift that we have managed to secure is that, that flight will now from May until the first week in September come on a Sunday, which really gives us great possibilities to tap into the lucrative wedding and honeymoon market because in Europe,” James said.

“In Europe, most people get married on a Saturday and it’s an ideal time to get away on the Sunday so that gives us an excellent opportunity to really push and sell the destination,” the tourism official added.

Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism-driven economy took a serious blow in July 2008 when British newlyweds Ben and Catherine Mullany were brutally tortured and murdered in their room at a local resort.

Also in January last year, Australian yacht skipper, Drew Gollan, 38, was gunned down and killed near a police station at English Harbour while trying to protect his wife, who was also shot, and their baby daughter.

Then in January this year, an American cruise visitor, Nina Elizabeth Nilssen, was killed while on an excursion on Antigua’s south coast.

The twin-island nation has been trying to rebuild its tourism industry following those incidents and James, who is in Italy for an International Travel Trade Fair, said the decision by Livingston Airlines to increase flights shows that their efforts have started to bear fruit.

“It shows that a lot of the groundwork that has been laid over the years is now beginning to pay off for Antigua and Barbuda,” James said.

“The Italian market has been one of our markets that has grown in 2009 in spite of the declines, so we see this as an exciting move because it shows confidence in the destination,” he added.

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