Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) and Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) will be working in unison to ensure that the twin-island state gets maximum exposure leading into, during and immediately following the country’s Group A World Cup qualifier against the USA on October 12.
“What we are trying to do from a tourism authority side is to ensure particularly in the region and in the USA that the fans of soccer are exposed to what we have here as a tourism product and to encourage more people to come to Antigua.
“We have a concerted campaign going on, particularly regionally; CSS Radio, online press with Caribbean 360, Dominica News Online, SKN Vibes Online, where we are really pushing and promoting the destination and we must congratulate LIAT as well who has partnered with us to offer special fares into Antigua for that weekend,” he said.
A conscious effort, according to James, is already being made to sensitise those within the region of the pending match while measures are also being put in place that would make it easier for those wanting to visit during the match.
“I think the exposure we are going to get from that we couldn’t readily buy so from our side we are going to ensure that visiting press and everybody coming down here to cover this, they get a fantastic experience and not just the football but of the destination so that they continue to keep Antigua & Barbuda in their thoughts and tell their audience, the people who listen to them, what we have to offer in terms of tourism and encourage people to come down, not just for sports but to really enjoy the country,” James said.
Meanwhile, ABFA General Secretary Gordon “Banks” Derrick said Antigua & Barbuda Benna Boys should be at full strength for the upcoming clash.
“Provided we have no injuries we are going to have a full-strength team, probably our strongest team we are going to put on the field ever, and we are going to be ready and rearing to go to win the games against the USA right here,” he said.
“They don’t play well away in smaller territories so we are going to use that to our advantage, with our home crowd support because we know we have to fill that stadium and we believe we are going to have what it takes to take us home.”
The October 12 match against the USA, which is scheduled for Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds, will attract no fewer than 800 US fans and several media outlets with international reach.
Special weekend packages for fans have been finalised with hotels including City View, Halcyon Cove by Rex Resorts and Jolly Beach Resort, to name a few.