Another piece of Caribbean paradise
… ideal for yachts and boutique cruise lines
2017, November 1: Across a narrow channel on the north side of St. Martin is another piece of paradise, the island of Anguilla. A British Overseas Territory in the Eastern Caribbean, Anguilla comprises a small main island and several offshore islets and is a perfect haven for yachtsmen seeking nature’s perfection and serenity. Anguilla has some of the best beaches on planet Earth and its tropical vistas are extraordinary.
In the past, tourism planners in Anguilla resisted integrating cruise tourism in the general tourism product, primarily to allow upscale tourism to develop and flourish. This strategy has evidently been successful as indicated by the quality standards of hotels and resort properties; restaurants; and, generally, the level of service offered by the tourism sector.
And, over time, Tourism writers have fallen in love with this destination, writing in superlatives about the tranquility and laid back pace of this gem of an island. Having achieved the objectives of high quality standards, successive governments have ensured that policies for development preserve the positive attributes of Anguilla.
The Anguilla Air and Sea Ports Authority (AASPA) has, in recent times, redefined targets and has reconsidered the approach of exclusion. Whilst large cruise lines are not suited for the tourism product offered by Anguilla; there are various small luxury cruise lines that are a good fit for what is offered in this piece of paradise. The AASPA has decided to partner with the Anguilla Tourist Board to promote renewed interest to inform small luxury cruise lines that Anguilla is an ideal destination for their itineraries.
“Anguilla provides a unique market appeal that attracts visitors with high expectations, which is suited for cruise lines that have models of low volume-high yield per passenger. Various features in Anguilla undoubtedly will continue to cause Anguilla to be selected by market appropriate cruise lines,” stated chief executive officer of AASPA, Van Hodge.
He said that, ideally, the quality of service onboard ship should be consistent with what is offered onshore. Noting that effective itinerary planning can create a competitive advantage for cruise lines, he said: “It is for this reason that it may be important for Itinerary Planners to experience the exceptional standards of service that is offered in Anguilla.”
Anguilla, in many ways, can be considered a new destination because it provides new experiences for cruise passengers. “For the Caribbean to remain competitive, he said, “cruisers must continue to experience new experiences … which are attributes of Anguilla.”
Congestion and high volume will continue to be mitigated in the development of Anguilla’s cruise and tourism product. The AASPA will continue its policy of collaboration, to identify challenges so as to ensure that the Anguilla experience is developed in a manner that is sustainable, progressing with gradual and consistent growth.
“Presently, Anguilla is open to Public Private Sector Partnership (PPP) arrangements that are mutually beneficial, which can be best achieved foremost by both the public and private sectors developing a clear understanding of each other’s expectations and objectives,” he said.
Anguilla has an array of rich history, which includes the Anguilla Heritage Museum, The Old Valley Well, The Old Court House, Wallblake House, The Old Factory, and The Pump House; all of which have an interesting history and a unique story. There are various opportunities for further excursion development, which include salt picking reenactments; or migratory bird watching of various species in small vessels at the preserved habitat around the salt ponds of Anguilla. The service levels for transportation and excursions are already consistent with the upscale services that exist in Anguilla.
The expectation is that Anguilla will establish itself in the cruise sector as a premium niche destination in the coming years, which would give cruisers the opportunity to immerse in the natural luxuries that it offers.
Meanwhile, luxury yachts continue to enter Anguilla waters, bringing an appreciative upscale clientele to moor in any of its safe and protected coves, islands and marinas including Big Spring Cave, famous for its prehistoric petroglyphs, Little Bay, Dog Island, Prickly Pear Cays, Island Harbour, Lower Shoal Bay, Sandy Ground, Barnes Bay and Meads Bay.