Antigua continues to be a favorite Caribbean destination for visitors for very good reasons. Located in the heart of the Eastern Caribbean, the island is known for capturing the minds and souls of whoever touches its shores. From the sun-kissed warmth of the tropical weather, to the mind-blowing enchantment of 365 beaches, Antigua is sure to keep you under its beautiful spell. Beautiful green hills and rich green landscapes, add stunning charm whether you arrive by air or sea.With a population of just under 90,000, the island's sports, festivals, music and food reflect a culturally diverse people. An array of luxury resorts equipped with modern amenities, and great yachting facilities avail Antigua to maintain its unique tourism product. Home to many restaurants and eateries, the island's cuisine caters to every palate imaginable, from simple options to extravagant tastes.
The former British colony was once used as a major naval base, with many restored forts located around the island telling a tale of a rich history expanding over two centuries. The island is now an independent member state of the British Commonwealth, CARICOM, Organization of the American States (OAS) and the United Nations (UN). The nation's currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD), pegged to the USD 1.00 at XCD 2.70.
The capital St. John's boosts a vibrant banking industry and many luxury shopping options, with technological advancement at the forefront of business. The availability of modern infrastructure and telecommunications are attractive components for investors and regional and international businesses. Of 189 states, Antigua has been highly ranked in the Ease of Doing Business Report 2015 by The World Bank. It ranks as #2 of all Eastern Caribbean States across all critical areas.
Antigua's diverse investment opportunities with a highly positive image and stable currency will continue to garner critical acclaim with many famous politicians, entertainers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and fashion designers investing in beautiful vacation homes and residents on the island.
The Constitution formally came into force on November 1, 1981. The constitution specifies that Antigua and Barbuda is a "united democratic state enjoying sovereignty". The Queen of Britain is the head of state. The Governor-General represents the Queen to hold the executive power. The Governor-General is appointed by the Queen.
The state implements the bicameral system of parliamentary democracy, including the House of Representatives (17 members) and the Senate (the Upper House, 17 members) to serve five-year terms. The senator is appointed by the Governor-General.
Main authority of the parliament: formulate and promulgate laws; approve the decision on basic policy of national activity; supervise activity of other state authority and administrative authority; appoint and dismiss the Council of Ministers or individual member; approve several years' social economic plan; approve annual state budget; approve the resolution on agreeing with the government on executing previous year budget and national socio-economic plan.
The Prime Minister is the highest administrative executor. The Prime Minister is the highest representative of the state who is responsible for maintaining constitutional authority and the safety of the state. The Prime Minister shall be assumed by the leader of the majority party of the parliament for a term of 5 years. The Prime Minister must be an elected member of the House of Representatives.
Antigua and Barbuda sets up local courts. The supreme judicial organ is the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based in Saint Lucia; composed by High Court of Justice and Appellate Court; one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands).
The country of Antigua and Barbuda has posted the fastest growth in the Caribbean region in 2015, with a projected 5.4 percent increase in GDP, according to new data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. This is due to a recent increase of announced international investments, namely lead by the Antigua and Barbuda Special Economic Zone project invested by Yida International Investment Group.
For the national economy of Antigua and Barbuda, the tourism takes a leading role. Antigua is famous for its beach, international boat race and carnival. Barbuda is less developed, but world famous pink sand beaches various wild animals in the island also attract a large number of tourists every year. The tourism revenues of Antigua and Barbuda take up more than 70% of GDP. Antigua and Barbuda has become the Caribbean country having the highest dependence on tourism. The contribution rate of tourism to the national economy is around 75%, and employees in this industry take up 70% of national employed population. The tourism had created 85% of foreign currency earnings. In 2014, the total number of tourists to Antigua and Barbuda was 1.0 million person-times/year.
Investment banking and financial services also make up an important part of the economy. Major world banks with offices in Antigua include the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), CIBC First Caribbean and Scotiabank. Financial-services corporations and international private banks with offices in Antigua include KPMG, Ansbacher and others.
Antigua and Barbuda Special Economic Zone
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has formally established the Antigua and Barbuda Special Economic Zone ("ABSEZ") by passing the Special Economic Zone Act in September 2015.
The designated lands for the ABSEZ include lands in the Crabbs Peninsula and Neighboring Islands, Gilberts, and St. Philips North, with an in total area of around 1,600 acres. Regent Bay is situated within the ABSEZ development.
a) Increased trade
b) Growth of investment
c) Long-term job creation
d) Wider economic reform strategy
e) Effective administration
f) Stronger industry focus
g) National income diversification
h) Regional hub development
i) Growth of financial practices
j) Increased international standing
The creation of ABSEZ is also motivated by the desire to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). The Antigua and Barbuda government stands to tremendously benefit from non-government organizations and companies around the world gain by being located within the ABSEZ.
As per the License granted for the establishment of the ABSEZ, its incentives and concessions include the following:
0% of all taxes levied in Antigua and Barbuda
0% corporate and personal income tax
0% inheritance, gift and other relevant taxes
0% transfer taxes and stamp duties for purchase of real estate
0% capital gains and wealth taxes on land, shares, securities and any other investments globally
0% import duties for personal belongings and household effects for residents within the ABSEZ
Due to its ideal location, Antigua is a hub for regional and international travel, with a recently upgraded modern airport providing daily direct international flights to travelers from North America and Europe.
Antigua has direct flights from Atlanta, Miami, New York and New Jersey (USA), Montreal and Toronto (Canada), London (United Kingdom), Frankfurt (Germany), Milan (Italy) as well as other Caribbean nations.