Antigua plans tourism development entity

DEEP BAY, Antigua -- Antigua Prime Minister Lester Bird, speaking at a two-day tourism summit at the Royal Antiguan here, announced plans to launch a Tourism Development Corp. as a government-private sector partnership and set Jan. 31 as the proposed startup date.

According to Bird, the development corporation's goals -- once funding is established -- include increased promotion of investment possibilities to increase the nation's room count by 1,800 units to a total of 5,000 by 2006.

He also seeks implementation of enhanced marketing, promotion, research and other efforts focused on the realities of post-Sept. 11 challenges.

Quality control of the tourism product and an effort to expand cruise ship calls also would be TDC responsibilities.

Legislation enabling formation of the TDC was approved in 1997.

At present, a government-run Department of Tourism, overseen by Shirlene Nibbs, director general, is responsible for some of these functions.

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