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Ambassador Dario Item: Why the world’s wealthy are flocking to Antigua and Barbuda

By LLM Reporters on 10th December 2020

Cast your mind back over the past twelve months, and there’s little denying that 2020 has been a year of many surprises. The most pertinent of these, of course, has been the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a devastating impact on the travel and tourism sector, and in many cases has brought travel and holiday plans to a grinding halt.

Businesses within the industry that had previously been considered fail-safe have succumbed to massive supply and demand imbalances over the past twelve months, with some regions of the world bearing the brunt of Covid-19 effects more than others.

In the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda has been severely hit by the virus, and as a tourism-reliant state, has suffered as a result. Even so, the small, yet organised, nation was able to keep its infections to a minimum and its casualties at an incredibly low total – which is more than what most countries around the world have managed, and makes it an appealing prospect for those in search of a luxury getaway in the new year.

There’s no question that the island nation has felt the pandemic’s effect in terms of its economy. But H.E. Dr. Dario Item, the country’s ambassador to Spain, Liechtenstein, and Monaco, remains optimistic. Citing the importance of the government’s proactive steps in protecting its citizens and residents, the expert in international law and global policies is also a firm believer that “a window opens for every door that closes”.

True enough, Antigua and Barbuda has been regaining its momentum in the tourism industry. In fact, a rising number of affluent groups and individuals have been flocking to the Caribbean tourist destination in recent months – which is good news for businesses in the sector, who are in great need of the custom.

Ambassador Item believes that the government’s Citizenship by Investment programme (CIP) and the Nomad Digital Residence (NDR) programme have been instrumental in the recent influx of tourists and potential residents, as many visitors want to escape from their winter and would rather work from their laptops by the beach. Fortunately for these location independent entrepreneurs and investors, Antigua and Barbuda has 365 beaches – one for every day of the year!

Some of the world’s wealthiest have turned to the dual-island of Antigua and Barbuda for its stunning beaches and sailing events held all-year round. Image: Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority

And, this true slice of paradise on earth continues to attract many of the world’s ultra-wealthy, who decide to take second residence through its Nomad Residency Programme.

The effects of the pandemic have changed the way we work on a global scale, catalysing a paradigm shift to satellite offices and a premium for security, and both Antigua and Barbuda’s programmes, the CIP and NDR, are customised to fill the need for both – making it an even more attractive prospect at the current time.

Their measures and health protocols have proven their worth and efficacy and have been instrumental in helping to mitigate the risks of the global pandemic, ensuring the safety of Antigua and Barbuda’s citizens and residents. Through the efforts of Hon. Charles Fernandez, minister of tourism and investment, the twin-islands were able to re-open their borders as early as June 1st – much sooner than many other countries around the world, where countless borders remain closed even now.

In a well-organised advocacy campaign, potential tourists were made aware that protocols were implemented right from the V.C. Bird International Airport and its hotels.

Antigua and Barbuda serve as home to a 186-bed healthcare facility, which is reassuring for tourists and travelling entrepreneurs alike. Image: Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority

They also included restaurants and other public places, with, Hon. Fernandez and his team promising that the hospitality and warmth of their tourism diplomats would be present “even from behind a mask”.

The country certainly ticks all the right boxes when it comes to health and safety. Antigua and Barbuda serve as home to a 186-bed healthcare facility, which is reassuring for tourists and travelling entrepreneurs alike. The Mount St. John’s Medical Centre is a world-class hospital which offers state-of-the-art facilities, including an air ambulance capability.

Despite the economic damages Covid-19 has brought to Antigua and Barbuda, the majestic tourist destination remains one of the safest countries in the world. And, as a result, more people than ever are opting to take advantage of the Nomad Residence Programme, which allows them to live the high life in the sunshine without compromising on their income.

Despite the economic damages Covid-19 has brought to Antigua and Barbuda, the majestic tourist destination remains one of the safest countries in the world. Image credit: photosvit/Bigstock.com

The programme offers a two-year residency for qualified applicants, and since working from home has become the norm and potentially the future of working lives globally, it’s little wonder that many location independent professionals who live by the mantra, “go where you’re treated best” are attracted to the country’s breath-taking beauty and reputation for safety.

Those who wish to live and work in the country may apply for the programme and simply have to pass their forms to the Nomad Residency programme unit of the Immigration Department. The application costs only $1,500 for a single applicant, and $2,000 for a couple. It usually would only take about 14 days to get an approval if all documents and requirements are in order. The NDR qualified person would then have a special resident authorization valid for two years.

For investors and individuals who put a premium on having great options, Antigua and Barbuda presents an opportunity of a lifetime to enjoy the lockdown from the comforts of the beaches and get to call the beach your home. So, while current restrictions allow, we can’t think of a better time to book your flight.