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Antigua Benefits From the 10th EDF Economic Integration

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ST. JOHNS, Antigua, July 12, 2013 - The Heritage Hotel located in the heart of picturesque St. Johns, Antigua was the venue set for the hosting of a national consultative workshop held under the 10th EDF Economic Integration and Trade of the OECS Region.

The tourism component of this project held on Thursday under the theme “developing niche market opportunities” sought to obtain the specific objective of the EDF program which is to develop and support member states’ efforts to successfully produce and promote community-based niche tourism initiatives.

The Ministry of Tourism Antigua and Barbuda organized the one-day session through its community tourism department of which Agro-tourism Officer Ms. Jennifer Maynard is a part.

According to Ms. Maynard, participants were fielded from the farming community, community groups, the religious fraternity, community development organizations, the National Parks Authority, small hotel properties, the Tourism Authority, the Environmental Awareness Group and the ABHTI; with the hopes that it would enhance local community participation in tourism, thereby increasing the direct benefits to be derived from tourism by local residents.

Furthermore, aspirations are that the workshop would aid in achieving the greater aims of the  department which are to diversify the tourism product and attract different market profiles, foster linkages with other sectors inclusive of agriculture and cultural industries and to improve and upgrade the local tourism product overall.

The workshop is being facilitated by Mrs. Marguerite Diana McIntyre –Pike who is an hotelier, entrepreneur, community tourism consultant and trainer with over 42 years experience in the hospitality and tourism industry and well established internationally as the pioneer of community tourism.

“The presentation was quite enlightening and it opened the minds of all participants to unexplored community based tourism opportunities,” remarked Ms. Maynard.

National Consultations are being held across the OECS region during the months of June and July. It is the secretariats intention to develop a directory of tourism-related products in each member state.