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November 19, 2020

The Caribbean island of Antigua & Barbuda, which runs a successful citizenship by investment programme that includes the option of investment in eco-friendly resorts, has been named 2021’s Emerging Sustainable Destination of the Year in global travel authority Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel Awards 2021.

Taking a slightly different approach this year, for obvious reasons, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel Awards 2021 focused on how travel contributes to sustainability, community and inclusivity.

Among the remarkable people and places making the world a better place through sustainable measures is the Caribbean twin island nation of Antigua & Barbuda, which this year has been heralded as one of the destinations transforming travel.

Having been hit by a barrage of hurricanes in recent years, including the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017 (when 97% of Barbuda’s population moved to Antigua due to the destruction), this Caribbean twin island nation has made going green a priority.

The country has utilised the funds accrued from its successful citizenship by investment programme to help fund the reconstruction of Barbuda as well to launch many of the island’s sustainable initiatives.

And while Antiguans have become more mindful of the environment, the government has taken great strides on the sustainability front. Not only has the nation banned plastic bags and polystyrene products, but it has introduced a Waste to Craft Management Project (showing how waste can be reused in tourism), and established the Green Corridor, a collection of eco-friendly hotels, resorts and businesses on the southwest coast of Antigua, from Wallings Nature Reserve, the country’s first community-run national park, to Barbuda’s Frigate Bird Sanctuary, a dedicated home to the island’s wildlife conservation.

In response to this accolade from one of the giants of the travel industry, Charles Fernandez, minister of tourism for Antigua and Barbuda reiterated that as a nation, the country was constantly striving to ensure sustainability was at the forefront of everything they do. “Although we are a small country,” he stated, “we are pioneering initiatives to ensure that the beauty of our islands is preserved and nurtured for generations to come”.

And the twin-island nation is certainly beautiful, from its lush green rainforest and the largest expanse of freshwater in the Caribbean, to its 365 separate beaches (including Barbuda’s rare pink-sand beaches), to its intricate coastline heavily indented with lagoons and natural harbours rimed by reefs and shoals rich with sea life.

sugar ridge resort antigua barbuda
Sugar Ridge Resort, Antigua

Eco-friendly properties focus of citizenship by investment

This focus on sustainability and the environment doesn’t just spotlight tourism, but the country’s other initiatives, including its successful citizenship by investment programme, which has not only helped fund its sustainability goals, but is also used to promote the country’s initiatives.

In fact, the hotels, resorts and residences that have been approved as investment options for the CBI programme (to become citizens, applicants invest minimum US$400,000 in real estate) all deliver green goals in some way, with several included in the Green Corridor.

There’s the five-star property Calalloo Cay Resort, located in the Green Corridor, with its 100 rooms, 40 villas, spa, beach club, waterside dining concepts and 5-acre national park, as well as building heights no higher than a palm tree. Sugar Ridge Resort’s 60 rooms wrap around an exotic tropical hillside, built to fit within the 43 acres of lush indigenous flora and fauna (without disturbing it) and Hermitage Bay Hotel delivers a long list of sustainable commitments, from boasting its own organic garden to offering sustainable waste management.

Antigua’s Citizienship by Investment programme

Antigua & Barbuda unveiled its CBI programme in 2013 as a way, like most of its Caribbean counterparts, to boost its economy and provide funds to help sustain its public services, which the programme has certainly achieved.

Even with the current international climate, Antigua has continued to ensure the attractiveness of its CBI programme, having recently restructured its fees for its University of the West Indies Fund (UWI) to make it highly affordable for large families.

And the programme has continued to “attract high-net-worth individuals” Prime Minister Gaston Browne added, and “interest has remained high and is continuously increasing”.  In fact, applications to the programme are now back to pre-pandemic levels, according to the CEO of the CIU, Charmaine Quinland-Donovan.

Delivering four investment options, including one of the lowest-cost contribution options at US$100,000, and a powerful passport, giving visa-free access to 147 countries, Antigua’s citizenship by investment programme has proven both popular and reliable over the past seven years. In fact, since its launch in 2013, the programme has become renowned for its strict due diligence, security and stability within the industry and recently was lauded by the CBI Index 2020 in particular for its “ability to adapt to meet the needs of investors”.

Antigua’s CBI Programme offers four different investment options and is the only CBI program to offer a scholarship to a university place to one family member as part of its citizenship by investment programme.

Applicants can choose between a non-refundable contribution to the National Development Fund (NDF), to The University of the West Indies Fund, purchase property in a pre-approved real development, or in an approved business venture, with costs ranging from $100,000 for a donation to the NDF for a single applicant, to investment of $400,000 in a property or $1.5m in a pre-approved business.

Find out more about the Antigua & Barbuda’s citizenship by investment programme from our country profile by clicking here

Extending its residency/citizenship options, and in a bid to claim back lost tourism dollars due to the pandemic, Antigua recently unveiled the Nomad Digital Residency (NDR) Programme, offering foreigners the chance to live in, and work remotely from, the very sustainable Antigua & Barbuda for up to two years.