Antigua and Barbuda has been hot with travel news lately, and this week was no exception.
Sandals Resorts International representatives have confirmed media reports that the Antiguan government has entered into an agreement with Gordon "Butch" Stewart, chairman of Sandals Resorts International, for the sale of the Halcyon Cove Hotel.
Travel Agent breaks down that story as well as other recent developments out of Antigua and Barbuda.
Sandals to Expand in Antigua, Acquires Halcyon Cove Hotel
The plan calls for a new resort to be built in addition to the Beaches Resort that will be constructed at Long Bay, starting in 2016.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy, Asot A. Michael, has confirmed that in order to facilitate this, the lease now held by Rex Resorts for the hotel will be terminated within the next two months, according to the Jamaica Observer.
Michael told the Observer in Antigua that “negotiations have reached an advanced stage with Mr. Stewart and we hope to close an agreement within the next 60 days or so”.
“Butch Stewart is very interested in knocking down the entire hotel,” Michael told the Observer. “He’s building a 250-room Sandals hotel there with additional spas and amenities and restaurants similar to the Sandals Grande Resort down at Dickenson Bay.”
Robert De Niro’s “Dream Resort” Spearheads Barbuda Development
Famous actor Robert De Niro and investor James Packer plan to turn Barbuba's K-Club hotel into a luxury resort that would represent a $250 million investment. The plans were officially approved in early March in a referendum by a vote of 206-175.
"I've always looked for places over the years to find houses personally, but also for building a dream resort and I came across that place in Barbuda," De Niro told Travel Agent.
But hotel development in Barbuda may not stop there. Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, told Travel Agent last year that there have already been about three or four hotel projects there that the tourism board has already signed off on.
Plus, Browne says the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority is looking into acquiring some smaller planes to be used as part of a smaller, local airport to possibility be built in Barbuda. He said he would like one small airport in Barbuda to go along with one small airport in Antigua and then offer shuttles between the two.
JetBlue to Launch to Direct Flights to Antigua From New York City This November
Last month, Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy, Asot A. Michael, has said that airlift into Antigua and Barbuda from its critical North East corridor of the U.S. will be augmented by the arrival of JetBlue Airways for the upcoming winter season.
The arrival of JetBlue, he announced, will open up the destination to even more business, increase the competitiveness of the destination within the U.S. travel market and encourage more air travel.
He made the remarks at a May press conference held at the V.C Bird International Airport. It was attended by Antigua and Barbuda government officials, senior executives of JetBlue Airways, Antigua and Barbuda airline executives and Antigua and Barbuda tourism officials.
JetBlue Airways will begin direct service to Antigua from its base in New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on November 5.
The JetBlue Airbus A320, which carries 150 seats, will be available to travelers to Antigua on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
Construction on The Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa to Begin This Summer
At an event in New York earlier this month, The Government of Antigua and Barbuda and the Sunwing Travel Group entered into an agreement to develop a 500-room all-inclusive resort under the Royalton Luxury Resorts brand on Deep Bay, Antigua. Construction will commence this summer on The Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa, as well as a residential complex with more than 200 condominium units. Slated to open in 2017, this $400 million development is expected to represent 2,000 new jobs for Antigua and a massive injection to the economy.