A scene from the WI vs England Test Match in 2015 (WICB photo)
ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- Antigua and Barbuda, the official tourism partner of the Windies, will use the upcoming West Indies vs England One Day Internationals (ODIs) on March 3 and March 5 to promote the destination brand.
The millions of viewers around the world, who will be watching the games via live streaming and broadcast television, can expect to see local and visiting spectators having a great time at the upcoming cricket events with every opportunity being used to influence viewers to visit Antigua, one of the leading vacation fun spots in the Caribbean.
The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) will be branding inside the Sir Vivian Richard Cricket Stadium in strategic spots and will have volunteers and staff members handing out promotional material to encourage return visits from cricket fans already in Antigua for the matches.
The Antigua and Barbuda ministry of tourism, the ABTA, and the ministry of trade, commerce & industry, sports, culture and national festivals have joined together to ensure the spectator experience at the games will be exceptional, and will use the cricketing world stage to promote two other upcoming milestone events: The 50th anniversary of Antigua Sailing Week from April 29 to May 5 (www.sailingweek.com
); and the 60th Anniversary of “The Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival”, Antigua Carnival (July 28 – August 8).
Antigua and Barbuda minister of tourism, Asot Michael, stated: “The government of Antigua and Barbuda is a long-standing and proud supporter of West Indies cricket, and as a commercial partner with the West Indies Cricket Board we intend to gain a significant return on our investment.”
With a large contingent of international media on the ground in Antigua to include BBC, SKY News and Ten Sports, the tourism minister said, “We will use a coordinated campaign to leverage the two major upcoming events of Sailing Week and Carnival, and to optimise the benefits from hosting the two ODI matches in Antigua.”
The two weekend cricket matches are being broadcasted to millions of viewers around the world and approximately 2,000 visitors, mostly from the UK, are already booked to travel to Antigua over the course of next week for the weekend ODIs. Some regional tour operators have also booked small groups for the games and tourism officials expect the games will also attract visitors already holidaying in Antigua and Barbuda.
CEO of the ABTA Colin James said: “The Antigua destination brand will be promoted to its target audiences in the United Kingdom, North America and the Caribbean, by utilising perimeter boards, on-field logo mats, and 30-second destination adverts for Antigua Sailing Week, Carnival and other key destination events on replay screens at the games. Regionally, the destination’s events will also be promoted to viewers watching the coverage on the Caribbean Media Corporation network.”
Culture will certainly meet cricket at the stadium, as visitors will also come into direct contact with masqueraders, stilt-walkers, steel pan players and other fun loving Antiguan nationals throughout the grounds and at a specially located tourism and festivals booth. During the cricket breaks, fans will have the opportunity to enter draws to win fabulous trips and prizes from the ABTA and social media will be used to create a flow of conversation about the destination online, reaching various markets, and increasing searchable content using the official tourism hashtag #LoveAntiguaBarbuda.
After the cricket, visitors can further experience the carnival atmosphere in Antigua and Barbuda with “after-cricket parties” at the stadium featuring a selection of the island’s talented musicians, and soca artistes to include, Red Hott Flames, Tian Winter, Claudette Peters, Menace, Madtiguans, and Bankers of Dread and the Bald Head.