BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – THE Minister of Tourism, Hon. Lindsay Grant, is concerned about the slothful movement in the construction of hotels in the Federation.
Grant, who recently spoke with reporters, explained that the land-based side of St. Kitts’ tourism sector is not progressing as quickly as officials would want, but they are working to alleviate the challenges surrounding that problem.
“…we have to work with the developers; urge them, encourage them, engage them to see if we can come within the timeline that the government has given them – but you know how business is.”
Currently, there are a number of hotels and other developments that have missed their deadline, including Park Hyatt – which was scheduled for a summer opening but is now expected by the end of the year.
According to Grant, they work with the developers on a regular basis “to bring them into the old collective environment of the tourism industry”.
“And so the Embassy Suites, you can see that it has been at a slow pace for a long time. We have the development right here in the Frigate Bay area; that has also been slow. Koi, they said the last time I spoke to them that they would come on base December, whether or not that is feasible I don’t know…”
The Minister said they are however working with them, pointing to Ramada as another development that has slowed.
He opined that it is the vagaries of life, despite tourism officials wanting those hotels under constructions to be finished overnight.
Questioned on how the slothful movement of those developments could affect the Ministry’s ability to arrange airlifts to St. Kitts and Nevis, the Minister explained that it would prove a challenge because Puerto Rico is no longer a home port of the Eastern Caribbean and the Federation does not have the hotel stock for mass stay-over visitors.
Despite the Minister pushing for developers to work quickly to finish their hotels, the Federation continues to see average numbers in stay-over visitors.
Though he did not provide figures, the Minister recently told stakeholders that the numbers have remained stable – possible no major increase nor decrease.
This can have a severe impact on St. Kitts and Nevis’ economy which is largely tourism-based, and the cruise sector has been hard hit by the passage of the two Category 5 hurricanes, which damaged a number of ports in the Eastern Caribbean.