The sister islands of Antigua and Barbuda, with some 365 pink and white sand beaches and pristine turquoise waters, are considered to be among the most beautiful places in the world. With candy-coloured villages and a rum-infused mellowness, theres something quintessentially Caribbean about these palm-flanked isles. Theres a distinct English accent too, from the bustling capital of St Johns to the salty English Harbour, historic forts and ramparts are the vestiges of a colonial past.
Having long tugged at the hearts of would-be explorers and buccaneers, the expansion of Antigua and Barbudas tourism industry brings ever more visitors each year. The lush tropical nation welcomed over 200,000 guests in 2016, and is forecast to draw over 380,000 international visitors per year by 2026. Its no wonder tourism is the key driver of GDP, generating around 60% of the islands income, and you can have a part of it.
Antigua and Barbuda welcomes investors
Antigua and Barbuda, like many other Caribbean nations, welcomes investors from around the world. The most notable investment opportunity in Antigua and Barbuda is its Citizenship by Investment Programmea legal process whereby individuals can obtain citizenship through investment in a variety of approved real estate projects, encompassing hotels, villas, and resorts.
Because of the growth of the tourism industry, there is rising demand for tourist housing facilities, and real estate developments make fantastic opportunities for investors seeking high returns. Approved projects in which private investors are welcome to purchase property include Tranquility Bay, Verandah Estates, and the Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort.
Investors vying for citizenship are also able to make a donation to Antigua and Barbudas National Development Fund (NDF), intended to support a more sustainable future for the islands tourism and business sectors.
This two-pronged investment option was put into law in 2013, and emulates the longstanding citizenship by investment programmes of countries such as St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica. It is these countries success with their programmes resulting in large inflows of investment and economic growth that has raised expectations for development also on Antigua and Barbuda.
There are big names leading the way
Actor Robert De Niro is actively involved in the Caribbean tourism industry, and last year invested US$250 million in a project on the island of Barbuda. The property development deal gives the green light to the renovation and expansion of the former K-Club on Barbuda into an exclusive 5-Star resort. The project, which comprises a 77-room hotel and spa, 50 villas and cottages, restaurants, a casino and a luxury marina is expected to attract additional investors to the country.
Aside from big celebrity names, a number of private enterprises are promoting growth on the islands too. Late last year, a US$40 million Marriott project broke ground on its Coconut Bay Resort project, due for completion in 2018. During its construction, the resort will provide 180 jobs, and 240 once the property is open; representing a significant source of employment for the people of Antigua and Barbuda.
Antigua and Barbudas Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment, and Energy, the Hon. Asot Michael, said of the project: We are confident that having the Marriott name and respect of brand as part of our portfolio will lead to increased airlift, in particular from the US market.” Overall, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has set the goal of increasing room capacity to 10,000 within the next seven years.
Investment in Antigua and Barbuda promises significant returns
Thanks to this investment in the tourism and hospitality industries, Antigua and Barbuda is prepared for an increase in tourism. Intended to lure new travelers, V.C. Bird International Airport was completed in 2015, welcoming regular flights from the likes of Jet Blue and Alitalia. September 2017 has been set as the latest start date for the construction of a new 6,100-foot runway on Barbuda, which is expected to bring an additional 30,000 visitors to the islands in the first year of operation.
There seems little doubt that Antigua and Barbuda will open up a new world to individuals who seek luxury, beauty, unexpected opportunities, and unique experiences in a truly exceptional destination.