Has Antigua Cooked its Goose?


News is coming to us from those who attended the Antigua Charter Yacht Show and it is not as good as the organisers might have been hoping for.

Brokers, Captains, and Vendors all of who paid to attend have expressed disappointment. Not enough yachts, too many no shows, and poor organisation are just a few of the issues raised and from those who have or who have tried to sponsor events, there has been more disappointment

Some have suggested that, safe in the knowledge that there is no longer competition, the show is resting on its laurels and over charging all those who attend and sponsor show activities.

Captains of yachts whose names are on the list of yachts attending are perplexed as to why their yacht name was listed. One told us his yacht was never going to cross the Atlantic this year, while another told the show organisers he would not make the crossing in time for the show and, three months ago, asked for the name of his yacht to be removed from the list of attending yachts. It was not.

Brokers disappointed that many of the quality yachts they hoped to see where not attending, also reported local hotels charging higher rates then ever before knowing that supply would outstrip demand while some of those sponsoring activities saw prices asked rise by US$3,000 without an upgrade in promotion offered.

Prices for holding crew parties have gone up by 200% over the last two years. In 2013 there was no charge in 2014 a fee of $1000 was demanded and this year that figure had risen to $2000.

Hotels seemed to be cashing in on the show demanding that those booking rooms had to agree to pay a 5 night minimum stay even though many brokers suggested they had seen all they need to see inside tow days waking the dock.

Even those not connected with the show were being charged fees for holding events during the same period. The organisers website had earlier stipulated: 

The National Parks (Trading) Regulations requires persons doing business in the National Park to hold a license issued by the National Parks Authority.

The Regulations also prohibit individuals or partnerships who are non- citizens of Antigua & Barbuda, from being granted a license. 

This is applicable to the English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour area where the Antigua Charter Yacht Show is held.

ACYM has the sole and exclusive rights to organize plan and hosts the Antigua Charter Yacht Show and all events held during the show are required to be approved by and held under the auspices of the ACYM.

We invite you to contact our offices to discuss ACYM approved opportunities that may be available for your business during the Yacht Show to avoid being sanctioned by the Authority.

We have in the past spoken out in support of the Antigua Show and campaigned for them when they were badly treated by those trying to set up in shows in competition but if now Antigua has decided to try and kill the goose that lays the golden egg, we must now ask: Is it time that the Caribbean had another Charter Yacht Show?


  1. A person who seeks to remain anonymous has sent me the following response. It is posted here by me to protect the identity of the responder:

    I wish to remain anonymous as I am a Government official and it would not be good for me to be seen criticising the Antigua Boat Show.

    In about 2003 or 2004 I was involved in discussions which led to the take over of the Charter Boat Show from the Nicholson family. At the time it was agreed that the Government, the National Park, the Marine Trades Association and the Marinas would equally share in the ownership of the Charter Boat Show.

    I believe they all put money into the project but, somehow, within the next few years, the Charter Boat Show passed into private hands and it is since then it has become a money making exercise rather than a promotion of the marine and yachting sector of Antigua’s tourism.

    A few years ago, when attending the Charter Boat Show, I noticed the the Super Yacht Guide and the Antigua Marine Guide were no longer available to persons attending the show. When I asked why I was told that the Super Yacht Guide and the Antigua Marine Guide publishers would not pay the Charter Boat Show to have the books on display during the show therefore they were not permitted to be displayed.

    This is a typical example of how the Charter Boat Show are more interested in money than promotion of this very important sector of tourism. Also, I am sure many Antiguan’s would like to know where all money goes.

    You may use this information to investigate directly for yourself but do not quote me directly.

  2. Joe left the following message

    Good article, but riddled with spelling and grammar errors…! Shocking, to say the least…

  3. Yet another response just in again from someone who seeks to remain anonymous.

    Thanks for getting back to me with an email address to comment on the Antigua show.

    I have a great regard and fondness for the place.

    Like many of us, I’ve been going there for 15 years or more and have done my best to promote the place and event with photos, video, articles even meetings with Antigua govt tourism officials to help produce an Antiguan yachting Marketing business plan.

    I flatter myself that with a few dedicated colleagues, we managed to focus government attention on the yachting industry and gave it a necessary boost.

    I also championed their cause when St marten show threatened to push it out of existence, despite the fact that there were actually more viable yachts in the SXM show.

    It was a good place to do business in a casual, relaxed way with of course the many social events where a lot of the b to b inter-company business is done.

    It was a friendly, well organised show with lots of events, boats and attendances.

    Recently there has been a change in all of the above.

    When I applied for registration I was told that I could not attend this year as apparently stills photographers are not ‘Press’, which is not clear on the website and despite a letter from my production company regarding a TV video project we are filming which will( or would) feature Antigua, was not allowed to enter as I was too late for registration, despite the web site saying that TV/Video was an eligible press category and after pointing this out, they said they did not want any filming going on at the show.

    The upshot was, I didn’t attend and quite frankly, after getting feedback from friends and colleagues, am glad I didn’t.

    If this sounds like sour grapes, I apologise,but it does seem indicative of a change of attitude, a hardening of attitude I should say. Other shows, Monaco, FLIBS, Genoa , Miami, METS, have a much more organised and open atmosphere and they recognise the benefits of promotion, press and involvement.

    Over the course of the yachting year, Antigua was always seen by many as the least productive. After bigger and more rewarding shows carved out a slice of small company marketing budget, it was always questionable to attend or not.

    The last few years has seen the number of large boats decrease, while more sailing boats, more cats, (all with less budget) increase.This year there would have been 6 boats of a decent size that would have been of interest to my company.

    When this is accompanied by more bureaucracy more expense to attend, travel and stay,and a less than engaging attitude to sponsors and attendees it makes attending much more questionable.

    I do not want to see the show fade away, and do not want it to become a sad reflection of it’s former self but I feel that it is not only cooking its own goose, it is going to stew in the juices and drive itself out of the annual show cycle.

    It’s not the only show or destination around.

    Thanks for the chance to comment.

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