Antigua's vibrant yachting industry remains thriving and open for business. That's the word from bosses at the Antigua Charter Yacht Meeting in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma which passed through Antigua & Barbuda on September 6th, 2017. While Barbuda bore the brunt of the category five storm, Antigua was spared the damage wreaked across so many of our regional neighbours.
Our hearts go out to all of our Caribbean brothers and sisters impacted by this disaster and we are now hard at work helping our beautiful sister island of Barbuda recover and return to its former glory as soon as possible.
Directors and staff at the Antigua Charter Yacht Meeting have convened several times over the last few days to put firm plans in place to help ensure Irma's path of destruction does not extend to the region's economic mainstays of tourism and yachting. The Caribbean is well used to hurricanes and has time-tested plans and strategies already in place to help us bounce back quickly in the event of a disaster such as Irma.
Our infrastructure is strong, our landscapes adaptable and our people strong and resilient. We ask nothing of you except that you continue to come here and enjoy what nature blessed us with - namely, our unrivalled sailing conditions and spectacular scenery - along with the hard work and dedication that earned us our prime position on the industry map. That way, you can help us help Barbuda and its proud, capable people get back on their feet.
Meanwhile, efforts in Antigua are already in full swing to that effect. We are busy caring for and comforting almost 2,000 Barbudans. The international community has been very generous to date and donations are arriving to assist.
The ACYM charity arm is identifying families in the greatest need and supplying food, plus school books and equipment for children of evacuees, many of whom escaped with just the clothes on their backs. Animal welfare societies, both local and international, have been feeding and tending to the animals and livestock left on Barbuda.
While it might appear from media reports that the entire region is devastated, this is simply not the case. Just as Antigua was spared, so too were islands to our south and west. Today, as I write this, I am looking out over the sparkling water of Falmouth Harbour, at Montserrat on the horizon, and at the hummingbirds busy in a garden still full of flamboyant blooms and bougainvillea. Boats are in the harbours and at anchor off Pigeon Beach, and remained safely there throughout the storm.
To conclude, let us reassure you, the Antigua Show organisation is firing on all cylinders and we look forward to welcoming you back this year with an action-packed calendar and the exceptional services that made our name.