Archive for Destination News

Kimolisa Mings Wins Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Romance Writing Contest

JOHN’S, ANTIGUA (MAY 25, 2022) – The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority has officially announced Kimolisa Mings, the winner of the local romance writing contest for her story entitled ‘Rule No. 3’. The contest was part of the ‘Love and Wanderlust’ Romance campaign that was launched by the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, on Valentine’s Day, as a way to involve local storytellers and writers in tourism, while offering Antigua and Barbuda’s writing talent an international platform for their work to be seen. The announcement comes days away from the start of Antigua and Barbuda Romance Month in June.

Mings wins EC$1000 as her prize. An elated Mings expressed appreciation to the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) during the cheque presentation. “Thank you to the ABTA for this opportunity for us writers to showcase our abilities to the wider public. Hopefully similar initiatives will emerge for the talented creatives who call Antigua & Barbuda home.”

Kimolisa Mings, who was born and currently lives in Antigua, writes contemporary fiction, primarily romance. According to her biography, “when she’s not writing and generally living, she is watching too much shows on streaming services”. Three of her books are available locally at the bookstores ‘Best of Books’ and ‘Ten Pages’ and internationally through Amazon. She is currently working on a new novel.

Shermain Jeremy, lead on the organization’s romance pillar initiative says, “The ABTA is dedicated to making tourism a community effort and this writing contest has allowed us to tap a very creative pool of local storytellers and writers whose talents we plan to weave into our romance messaging and stories”.

Joelle Edwards’ ‘Take My Hand Darling’ and Travis Defreitas’ ‘Love Island’ placed 1st and 2nd runners-up respectively.  The writers will receive free access to the Jhohadli Writing Project Workshop Series in June hosted by acclaimed Antiguan author Joanne Hillhouse. Hillhouse whose published work includes: The Jungle Outside, Musical Youth, Lost, The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight has partnered with the ABTA to offer both runners-up the opportunity to expand their craft through her year-long writing series.

“I appreciate the opportunity given to writers in Antigua and Barbuda and the privilege of reading the entries. I would like to congratulate the winner Kimolisa Mings’ whose entry Rule No. 3 winningly frames love as the most daring adventure within a very tight and well-shaped rom-com, rich with pilot tension, character depth and chemistry, and a real sense of place”, said the consulting judge for the contest, Joanne Hillhouse.

The panel of judges included Joel Henry from the Authority’s UK office, Abena Merchant, Digital Platform Manager, Carolyn Punter, Marketing Officer in the New York Office and Donald Watkins of Watkins Multimedia in addition to Joanne Hillhouse.

Entries which received Honorable Mention were ‘Secret Paradise (Island)’ by Petranilla Estraeda-Jospeh and ‘The Viola Pan’ by Dr. Lester Simon.

Other entries included:

‘Finding Love in Silence’ by Hilesha Humphreys
‘Love Meets Paradise’ by Mene Lewis
‘It’s A Fairytale’ by Dalisha Spencer
‘My Love’ by Brenda Cochrane
‘A Letter to My Wife’ by Jeffrey Williams
‘Beneath the Tamarind Tree’ by Zemilia Ishana Lashanda Samuel
‘A Life Worth Living’ by Nicole Leyva

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority intends to create a short video of the winning entry for video and television as well as a romance booklet of all entries for circulation in all Antigua and Barbuda’s source markets to help promote the destination’s romance agenda.

For more information on romantic escapes to Antigua and Barbuda, visit:

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Barbuda’s Caribana Festival Takes Place June 3 – June 6, 2022

ST. JOHN’S, ANTIGUA (May 23, 2022) – Barbuda’s popular Caribana Festival, a four-day celebration of culture, music, and pageantry, normally held over the Whit weekend, is all set to make a grand comeback following a two-year absence.

The highly anticipated festival will take place this year from June 3 – June 6, under the theme ‘Reviving our culture needs me and you, Barbuda Caribana 2022’.

The Culture Coordinator within Barbuda’s Tourism, Sports, and Culture Department Jezette Davis said, “We promise it will be a weekend full of excitement, food, drinks, music, and plenty outside!”

Residents as well as visitors attending Caribana, will have the opportunity to enjoy the horse racing action, battle it out during the fishing tournament, dance to the sweet sounds of calypso and soca music, delight in Barbuda’s famed seafood specialties and much more.

Events taking place for Caribana include:
June 3: Little Mr. and Miss Barbuda
June 4: Johnny Desuza Fishing Tournament & Beach Bash
June 5: Horse Race & Calypso Melting Pot
June 6: J’ouvert, Food Fair & Marketplace

The weekend starts with the ‘Little Mr. and Miss Barbuda’ a cultural display of talent among the youths of Barbuda on Friday. This will be followed by a day soaking up the sun and enjoying Barbuda’s River Beach with the fishing tournament and an epic beach bash packed with lots of games, music, and entertainment. On Sunday, the horse races will wow audiences, and in the evening, the stage will come alive with the eagerly awaited ‘Calypso Melting Pot’ with each calypsonian aiming to emerge the winner.

The final showdown that culminates the four days of culture, sports, entertainment, and revelry is the J’ouvert on Monday, a spectacular display of masqueraders dressed in humorous fashions and colorful t-shirts dancing through the streets of Codrington to live band performances and DJ music. The Monday will also feature a not-to-be missed food fair, that will display the culinary skills of amazing cooks in Barbuda and satisfy the appetite of revelers.

“Barbuda’s pink sand beaches, turquoise waters, Magnificent Frigatebird Sanctuary, and laid-back lifestyle have for years been an attraction for visitors. Those arriving in Barbuda for the Whit weekend, will be drawn into the vibrant celebrations and revel in the feel-good vibes that will surround Caribana City during the festival”, said Marketing Communications Manager within the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Maria Blackman.

Visitors are advised to book flights, ferry, and accommodation early to ensure they don’t miss out on the excitement of Caribana.

For more information on Barbuda’s Caribana, contact Barbuda Marketing Officer at the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Anreka Geness at 1 268 562 7600.

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Antigua’s Carnival, The Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival, will also return following a two-year hiatus. The summer celebrations will take place from July 27 – August 2, 2022, under the theme: ‘Reigniting The Spirit’.

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Representatives from Top Global Organizations Will Speak at World Free Zones Organization’s Annual International Conference & Exhibition in Jamaica

KINGSTON, JAMAICA, MAY 24, 2022 – Jamaica is looking forward to welcoming keynote speakers and panelists from top organizations around the world for the World Free Zones Organization’s 8th Annual International Conference & Exhibition (AICE) 2022, the first to be held in the Caribbean, when the highly anticipated event takes place on island this summer.

“Hosting this premier global event provides Jamaica with the opportunity to host a number of key individuals specializing in sustainable economic growth and the advancement of international trade,” said the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica. “As we are working to diversify our tourism sector to make it more resilient to disruption, we could not be more pleased to have the opportunity to speak with and learn from those who specialize in attracting investment that will align with and support our goals.”

The 2022 AICE program will feature executives from multilateral organizations and other major institutions who will speak about free zones as partners for building resilience, promoting sustainability and achieving prosperity. Among the noteworthy professionals confirmed to participate in the program are: the Hon. Andrew Holness, Prime Minister, Jamaica; Dr. Samir Hamrouni, CEO, World Free Zones Organization, UAE; James Zhan, Director, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Switzerland; Richard Trevino, Deputy Secretary General, World Customs Organization, Belgium; Scott Hodge, President, Tax Foundation, USA; Emilio Pineda Ayerbe, Chief, Fiscal Management Division, Inter-American Development Bank, USA; and Jacopo Dettoni, Editor, fDi Intelligence, Financial Times, UK.

Among the topics they will be discussing at the event are: shaping the future of supply chain resilience; reforming the global tax system; charting the future of inclusive e-commerce; building a new generation of sustainable and environmental entities; and ecosystems of trust driving prosperity.

Dr. Samir Hamrouni, CEO of the World Free Zones Organization (WFZO), emphasized the importance of the WFZO AICE returning to an in-person event, especially in Jamaica, as it is a bridge to the Latin American and US markets. He said, “As we come out of this pandemic, we continue to see the effects it is having on society and economies, and more directly on the global supply chains and Free Zones. The WFZO remains committed to our philosophy of ‘Converge, Connect and Converse’. We see a great number of opportunities arising and believe that the AICE is the perfect platform for bringing together key international decision makers, service providers and consultants to exchange knowledge, experiences, and best practices to drive our industry into the future.”

“The conference is expected to advance Jamaica’s goal to attract major investment opportunities for the development of large-scale modern Special Economic Zones,” said Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce. “It will also showcase our country as an ideal location for Special Economic Zone investment while underscoring our rich cultural heritage.”

Themed, ‘Zones: Your Partner for Resilience, Sustainability and Prosperity,’ the World Free Zones Organization’s AICE 2022 five-day event will be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre from June 13-17, 2022. It is expected to bring over 1,000 visitors into Jamaica.

Registration for AICE in Jamaica is now open at and a complete event program and speakers may also be viewed on the website.

For more information about Jamaica, please visit

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Thousands of Antiguans and Barbudans to Benefit From Major Employment Recruitment Drive by Royal Caribbean Group

Miami – Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism and Investment The Honourable Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez was joined by Royal Caribbean Group, Vice President of Government Relations, Americas, Russell Benford to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and Royal Caribbean Group to bring thousands of job opportunities to the people of Antigua and Barbuda in June.

In making the announcement, Minister Fernandez said, “Royal Caribbean is one of the iconic brands that is part of the foundation of cruise tourism in the Caribbean, and this initiative will not only see a huge cadre of our tourism professionals become gainfully employed while being ambassadors for our country, but it will further strengthen the partnership between the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and Royal Caribbean. It’s a win-win solution for all of us.”

The Minister also spoke of the Government’s careful and successful management of the coronavirus pandemic that gave Royal Caribbean the confidence they could hire the services of citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, knowing our people are vaccinated, fully trained and possess the skills needed to add value to Royal Caribbean’s operations.

“The relationship between Royal Caribbean and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda goes back well over 30 years,” said Benford. “We have supported each other through the most challenging times and signing this agreement demonstrates the strength of our partnership and will result in boosting the tourism economy.”

He added, “I take this opportunity to congratulate Minister Fernandez as well as our entire team involved in moving negotiations forward that will benefit the people of Antigua and Barbuda. This is a good day for the travel industry.”

In congratulating Royal Caribbean for its service to Caribbean tourism, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority CEO, Colin C. James remarked, “Antigua and Barbuda have enjoyed a strong rebound in cruise arrivals in January and March of this year and Royal Caribbean has been a major part of that. This new partnership will impact hospitality employment opportunities for the destination in a positive way that goes beyond just welcoming cruise passengers to our shores.”

The employment initiative on Royal Caribbean’s ships will commence with a major job fair in St. John’s in June open to nationals and residents of Antigua and Barbuda. Opportunities for employment are in a number of positions such as the Marine sector which include junior seaman, junior engine man, assistant electricians; in the Operations Sector including storekeepers, cruise staff, youth staff, sports staff, laundry and restaurant attendants, bar waiters, wait staff, bakers, and butchers. In the specialty sector, vacancies are available for all positions in the casino, entertainers, photographers, and the list goes on. “This is the tourism industry performing at its finest”, James concluded.

Antigua and Barbuda will also receive the bonus of showcasing the talent of its people in a range of services.  The new employees will be Antigua and Barbuda’s cruise guest ambassadors and further strengthen the existing Royal Caribbean partnership.

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Jamaica Ranked #1 in the Caribbean for Summer Bookings

KINGSTON, JAMAICA – Destination Jamaica ranks at the top for bookings by US travelers heading to the Caribbean in coming weeks and months.

The announcement was made during a high-level meeting lead by Tourism Minister, Hon Edmund Bartlett today, between Senior Executives of Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (FLT), one of the world’s largest travel groups at their US headquarters in New Jersey and JTB team members.

The Executives also shared optimism for 2023 and 2024 with strong bookings for Jamaican vacations.

“This is great news as we actively work on recovery in the US, which is our biggest source market. Based on these booking numbers Jamaica may experience the best summer ever since the pandemic,” said Minister Bartlett.

Flight Centre is a 40-year-old travel agency that is headquartered in Australia with offices in the United States and other countries across the globe.

“Part of our recovery strategy is meeting with our long-standing tourism partners like Flight Centre to get a feel of market sentiment and projections and we are happy that Jamaica remains top of mind,” added Minister Bartlett.

“We are aggressively working towards recovery, and we cannot do this without partners like Flight Centre. As travel rebounds, we aim to ensure that Jamaica is the first choice for visitors,” said Donovan White, Director of Tourism, Jamaica.

Jamaica Tourist Board and Ministry of Tourism team members who were apart of the discussions include Donnie Dawson, Deputy Director of Tourism, Americas, Francine Carter- Henry, Manager, Tour Operators and Airlines, Delano Seiveright, Senior Strategist and Advisor, and Fiona Fennell, Public Relations and Communications Manager.

For more information about Jamaica, please visit

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