Cruise port operator Global Ports Holding (GPH) is set to begin cruise port operations in Antigua following the signing of a concession agreement with the state government earlier this year.
In February, GPH agreed the 30-year concession for cruise port operations in Antigua on an exclusive basis.
“The addition of cruise port operations in Antigua and Bahamas to GPH’s portfolio augurs well for the future of the cruise industry in the Caribbean. The GPH team looks forward to working with all stakeholders to continue to build on the potential of Antigua and the Caribbean,” Emre Sayın, Global Ports Holding, Chief Executive Officer commented.
GPH and its partners would finance the completion of the new pier that will be capable of berthing the largest, 5,000+ passenger vessels in the industry. In May, GPH and Royal Caribbean Cruises partnered up to invest in the completion of the pier, allowing the port to handle Oasis-class ships
Antigua hosted around 800,000 cruise passengers in 2018. The addition of Antigua Cruise Port to GPH’s portfolio is expected to increase GPH’s total passenger volumes for 2020 to close to 13 million, according to the company.
GPH also aims to improve the port’s current and design new retail facilities, with an expected initial investment in the first 12 months of operation of USD 45-50 million. Balance will be spent to improve the surrounding port area by the last quarter of 2021.
GPH said it is committed to working with local authorities and stakeholders to improve the guest experience at the port.
Antigua is potentially the highlight of Southern and Deep Southern cruise itineraries, as well as transatlantic routes. Serving mainly as a transit port, Antigua and Barbuda also has the opportunity for some turnaround cruise operations, predominantly for European cruise brands.