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Famous for its beaches and its cricket players, tiny
is now one of the Caribbean's most popular destinations. The country has taken full advantage of the publicity gained from its independence in 1981 - and the remarkable success of its cricketers since then - to push its name into the big league of West Indian tourism alongside Barbados and Jamaica.
settled the island in the 1600s, it was for centuries little more than a giant sugar factory that produced sugar and rum to send home. Around Antigua, the tall brick chimneys of a hundred deserted and decaying sugar mills bear witness to that long colonial era. Today, though, it is tourism that drives the country's economy; dozens of hotels and restaurants have sprung up around the coastline, there's a smart airport, and a number of outfits run boat and catamaran cruises and scuba-diving and snorkelling trips to the island's fabulous coral reefs.
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