Travel Agents Get Into The Spirit Of Antigua and Barbuda

New York – The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) hosted their second annual Travel Agent Gospel Brunch, Amen Antigua, at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem on Sunday, June 13, 2010. Approximately 100 travel agents from the tri-state area attended the festive affair, an initiative motivated by the ABTA’s increasing focus on the rapidly growing faith tourism market.

ABTA Director for the USA, Derede Samuel Whitlock, welcomed the agents, and introduced them to the many historical churches and landmarks in the twin islands. She reminded the agents of the ease and convenience in traveling to Antigua and Barbuda this summer, with the expanded air service, and gave a brief update on new resorts and attractions.

Agents were treated to a variety of experiences designed to showcase the spirit of the islands, and the many attractions and amenities available for faith based tours. A special entertainment program, featuring gospel artist Brother Guy Lovin and his quartet, a dance recital, a wonderful poetry reading by tourism ambassador Monica Matthew, and a popular “Name that Hymn!” contest, kept the agents engaged and enthralled throughout the event.

A traditional, mouthwatering Antiguan brunch, prepared by top Antiguan chef Nelson Watson, now resident at the famous Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem, along with champagne, rum punch and fruit punch satisfied the most discriminating palates. Restaurant owners Sylvia and Herbert Woods have been frequent visitors to Antigua over the past 20 years, and are well acquainted with the island’s culinary delights. The Tropical Rhythms band provided lively renditions of popular gospel standards as well as traditional Antiguan folk songs, the infectious rhythms drawing several agents on to the dance floor to work off their lunch.

Left to Right: Sandra Reid, ABTA; Colin James, CEO, ABTA; Monica Matthew, Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Ambassador; Dean Fenton, ABTA

An exhibition of paintings by Antiguan artist Vernon Grigg, along with a live demonstration of his art – he completed a landscape painting of the famous St. John’s Cathedral in the heart of Antigua’s capital city during the brunch – added another cultural element to the event.

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