Building Livelihoods through Tourism

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A close look at the small hotel and guest house accommodations in Antigua and Barbuda clearly shows that local entrepreneurism is very much alive. Dozens of citizens and residents have invested in small properties designed to add to the livelihood of their families and themselves. Improving livelihoods often leads to growing tourism assets and wealth. And there is growing evidence of this in Antigua.

The evidence is best seen when an evaluation estimate is made of the market value of real-estate holdings operating within this small business sector of the tourism economy. Numerous bed and breakfasts, inns, villas and apartments now host short and medium term visitors, and have become valuable assets of sufficiently high quality. More importantly, their operators often deliver exceptional service and an authentic experience to their clients.

These properties serve various sectors of the visitor market and are ideally located throughout the island. Most are attractive enough to play competitively in global property markets. When property is held, invested and marketed in this way, it often results in premium returns on investment. This is in effect the bottom line.

Above and beyond this bottom line, is the potential employment, services and economic activity created from the expenditure of their clients. Opportunities are wide ranging. These include gardeners, accountants, web designers, cleaners, chefs, fishermen, drivers and housekeepers, builders, plumbers etc. Suppliers of goods and services all experience incremental demand from this segment despite the seasonal and fluctuating nature of the hospitality industry. In short, that additional income is spent fuelling the economy of Antigua & Barbuda.

Of course, the most obvious benefits to the country are how these properties add not only variety primarily, but also style, glamour, and prestige to Antigua’s expanding tourism product profile. By diversifying its array of accommodations, the country is better able to weather industry downturns while appealing to different market segments and catering to varying budgets and tastes.

The individual aggressive marketing efforts also mean more aggregate exposure for the local sector, much more than the Government alone could accomplish. There’s also the national tax benefit to the country though revenue collection as the small properties grow their business

In summary “small” property tourism development has enhanced and strengthened the local tourism product considerably, while empowering Antiguans and Barbudans to get a true stake in the nation’s critical tourism industry. •

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