The COVID-19 pandemic put a lot of people in a lot of hurt. Our economy is built on tourism and indeed, prior to the pandemic, our economy was bustling. Hotels were being built and renovated. We had record cruise ship numbers. Things were happening in this country.
Then the pandemic hit. People lost their jobs because of the inevitable closure of the tourism sector brought on by a halt to any kind of travel. The government did it best to help see people through with relief, but there was certainly a lot of hurt.
Now, the economy is roaring back like a hungry grizzly bear fresh from a long winter hibernation, and Antiguans and Barbudans need to have their businesses ready to serve the flood of tourists that is about to come back. In November there will be 30 calls and in December there will be 69 calls to Antigua. And already hotels are reporting high bookings for the winter season.
Our economy grew at a rate of 7.4% last year and is set to grow at 7.5% this year. We are set to have record cruise ship arrivals and record overnight stays during the 2022/2023 season.
Our businesses and our workers need to be ready to provide top quality service to the tourists that will be thronging to our shores. The world is coming and watching, and we need to be ready to roll out the red carpet and impress.
If you are looking for a job, now is the time to approach the tourism sector! If you own a business, now is the time to prepare!
Do not judge the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) only on its words alone. Watch and see the economic recovery in action when the tourists are once again coming from these big, beautiful ships and spending money in our country.
Then, when you go vote consider: Who saw us through the difficult times of the global pandemic? Who is presiding over the strong economic recovery? Do we want to put this economy at risk with a man like Harold Lovell, who crashed our economy in good times for the global economy?
The choice will soon be yours.