Tourism Antigua Antigua and Barbuda base their economy on tourism, which is the main provider of foreign currency and employment. In 1999, incomes from tourism represented around 60 % of GDP and over half of all employees worked in this sector. In 1998, as the Americas Review 1998 states, 15 percent of the GDP came directly from tourism and 40 percent contributed indirectly. In an almost 10 year period, the tourism sector grew from 7 percent to 8.24 percent, registered between 1985 and 1995.

The tourist number increased since 1995 with a number of 470975 until 1998 when there were 613990 visitors registered, according to ECCB. Although the total number of tourists decreased in 1999 to 588 866, meaning almost 4.1%, the number of tourists spending more than 1 night increased to 207862, with 1.9 % more than in 1998. Compared to the same year, in 1999 the number of visitors arriving by cruise ships dropped with 3.4 percent to 325195. The main cause of this dropping was that a very important cruise ship, one of the largest, was shortly out of service. The 1999 tourists were mainly from the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Association for Hotels and Tourism in Antigua has established, together with the Government, a joint fund meant to promote the country as a favorite tourist destination, so that it could face the competition of other destinations in the Caribbean Area.

At the beginning of 2001, the tourism in Antigua was declared to pass through crisis by the Antigua Workers Union. This union is the representative of almost 7000 workers in tourism. This situation, according to them, was due to the pull out of some airlines and the Government was responsible for the decline because it didn’t assign enough money for the tourism promotion.