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Antigua & Barbuda will be receiving assistance from Cuba in the restoration of Fort James and other historical sites.

News of this follows a recent visit to Cuba by Minister of Tourism Harold Lovell, who led a five member delegation on the visit, during which time the officials negotiated technical assistance in the development of tourism in Antigua & Barbuda.

"Following discussions with Manuel Marrero Cruz - minister of tourism in Cuba, the decision was reached to assist with the restoration of Fort James and other heritage sites on Antigua," a press release from the Tourism Ministry affirmed.

Under the agreement, a team of Cuban specialists will journey to the country later this year, the release added.

The Cuban minister indicated that the group will visit the Fort James area, make an assessment and advise on the most effective means to proceed with the restoration of this and other historical sites. They will also identify how best to convert the sites for tourism purposes.

Antigua & Barbudas minister of tourism, is keen on receiving assistance from the specialists on this venture, after taking note of that countrys Office of the Historian, which has been instrumental in the restoration and conservation work in Old Havana since 1993.

Old Havana, which was declared a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 1982, is considered one of the most dynamic cultural, tourism and financial centres on the Caribbean island.

"With the restoration of historical sites on Antigua & Barbuda and the diversification of our product into the heritage tourism market, we can expect an enhanced visitor experience resulting in increased visitor arrivals, increased length of stay, greater foreign exchange earnings, and an improvement in the quality of life for residents of Antigua and Barbuda,"the minister said.

During the discussions, provisions were also made for Cuba to assist in the skills training of tourism service providers and individuals desirous of pursuing careers in tourism.

Both short-term two week courses and five year university courses will be offered.

Minister Lovell thanked Minister Cruz for the contribution of the Cuban government, and said that his government was also looking forward to extending whatever technical support and assistance it could, to assist in the development of yachting in Cuba.

A Memorandum of Understanding outlining the terms of the agreement between the two governments will be signed at a later date.

Members of the delegation that accompanied the minister on the five day trip included Research and Planning Officer Corthwright Marshall, Tourism Product Development Officer Darlene Lay, Senior Assistant to the Minister Elinor Oliver and Communications Officer to the ministry Maria Blackman.

Source: Antigua Sun


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