The Antigua & Barbuda Yachting and Marine Association (ABYMA) successfully hosted its first ABYMA Industry Showcase last week. Located at the National Sailing Academy, the Showcase brought together key stakeholders in the yachting industry with the sole objective of inspiring Antiguans to consider entering the industry as a career option.
‘We were blown away by the response of the attendees. Although a small turnout from schools in this first year, those who attended were engaged and excited about all that was on offer,’ said ABYMA President Franklyn Braithwaite.
A fifty-five strong group from ABICE visited and found much to be inspired by. Public Relations Officer Marlyn James commented, “It is really good to be included in this initiative. Some years ago there was a partnership with the ABYMA and ABICE and we are very happy to reconnect and are interested in organisations who may have apprenticeship schemes which we can place our students at, to practice their skills.”
Much focus was placed on the value of yachting to the GDP of Antigua and Barbuda and the need to further simplify procedures and look at what else can be done to enable growth of this key sector.
“Even though much work has been done over the years to support the industry, our competitors are moving apace. BVI has announced the dropping of alien business licenses, St Thomas has dropped the requirement for incoming visas for yachting crew, Grenada continues to invest in new infrastructure and welcomes yachts year round. Now is the time for us to review our systems, procedures and levies to ensure we are doing all we can to support the growth of this sector. We look forward to further collaboration with all the key stakeholders in the government to Antigua and Barbuda’s benefit.”
The event had excellent support from the business community with sponsorship from Axxess Marine, the National Sailing Academy, Lucky Eddis, Antigua and Barbuda Sport Fishing Association, Antigua Yacht Club and LCD Supplies along with a volunteer committee without whom the event could not have taken place.
The ABYMA has already confirmed it is planning a follow up event next year and looks forward to further collaboration with the Ministry of Sports, Ministry of Tourism and the wider yachting communities around Antigua.
Exhibitors who attended the event were: Axxess Marine, Anchor Concierge, Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua Yacht Club Marina & Hotel, Antigua Yacht Club, Antigua and Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping (ADOMS), Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue (ABSAR), A&F Sails, Atlantic Dash, Dive Carib, Elkhorn Conservancy, Falmouth Harbour Marina, Lionfish Hunt, Marionics, National Parks Authority, National Sailing Academy, Ondeck Sailing Antigua, Second Star Sailing, Seagull Inflatables and Ultra Yacht Refit.