The first thing you’ll come across when researching Antigua and Barbuda is information on and photos of your dream holiday, with the Paradise on Earth tagline. Not surprising, as the isles trapped between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean are mostly famous for their luxury resorts and annual yacht show. Sixty percent of the national GDP comes from tourism. Since 2013, Antigua and Barbuda has started gaining fame among foreigners, especially high net worth individuals, thanks to its citizenship by investment program and opportunity to make some profit through it.
Getting to Antigua and Barbuda is not as difficult as it might seem. The V. C. Bird International Airport, located 8 km from the capital, St. John’s, is a hub that operates flights from New York, London, Frankfurt and other big cities on a daily basis. To get there from Miami takes only 3 hours, from Toronto 5 hours, and from Milan 9 hours. In 2015, a new, modern terminal was opened, and now this airport is the largest in the region. The island has 6 harbors, thus those who own a yacht can reach Antigua by sea. Passengers of yachts and cruise ships can go through passport and customs control points located at the ports.
Antigua – the hot spot for yacht show fans
Antigua and Barbuda is a great place to make new business connections, especially if you and your future business associates are fond of yachting. This country is considered to be one of the main sailing centers in the Caribbean. The English Harbor and the Falmouth Harbor are always packed with luxury yachts, the number of yachts is especially high in late April, as this is the time, ever since 1968, for the “Antigua Sailing Week”. Prior to this event, Antigua hosts a classic yacht race, called the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. In December, there is another annual yacht show, the Antigua Charter Yacht Show.
Yachting is not the only point of attraction for wealthy people. Ever since 2013, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has been offering the country’s citizenship in exchange for foreign investment into the economy. To participate in the CBI program, you need to invest at least $400,000 in government-approved real estate, or at least $1.5 million in business, or make a contribution to the country’s Development Fund. The last option is attractive as never before: after hurricanes Irma and Maria, the government reduced the amount of the required contribution from $200,000 to $100,000.
There are no stars who do not want to spend some quality time far away from fans and spotlight. There is a high possibility to become a neighbor of Oprah Winfrey, Eric Clapton or Giorgio Armani by purchasing a luxury real estate on Antigua. Eric Clapton, for example, not only owns an estate near the English Harbor, but also a luxury rehabilitation center called Crossroads.
Princess Diana used to love spending her holidays on Barbuda. She was attracted by the privacy and peace one can find on the island, as well as the absence of intrusive reporters. Recently, her son, Prince Harry, visited the island as well.
Actor Robert de Niro who invested significant amount into the real estate and the economy of the country was appointed a Special Envoy by the Prime Minister of the island state. It’s not clear if the above mentioned celebrities are holders of Antigua and Barbuda passports or not as all information regarding issued passports is confidential and carefully guarded by the government.
Less than in 4 years of its existence, the program has already become very popular among investors. The country was able to add over $194 million to its economy with the help of foreign investment, according to the report dated December 31, 2016. The is no report covering this year, 2017, but we are most definitely sure that the amount of investments has exceeded a $200 million bar.
AS OF DECEMBER 2016, 1,923 PASSPORTS HAVE BEEN ISSUED. EACH YEAR THE NUMBER OF ISSUED PASSPORTS DOUBLES.
The number of citizenship applications received under the program by investment category is 934. 700 applicants have chosen the option with a non-refundable contribution, 177 applicants have invested in real estate, and 57 invested in business. Investors from China take the first place among those who received citizenship, 381 applications have been approved by the government.
Recently, sphere of tourism has been steadily growing in the Caribbean region, particularly on Antigua. It’s expected that this sphere will continue to grow even further in the future. The demand for luxury hotels and villas has been growing steadily. Yachting events attract a big amount of yacht-lovers and their families. Antigua is a point of attraction for wealthy people who are looking for a lush leisure atmosphere. Therefore, investing in real estate on the island of Antigua can become quite profitable, while a passport of this country brings an element of prestige to its holder.