BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Jul. 17.2018 – FOLLOWING the big fanfare and celebrations that greeted passengers from the Freedom of the Seas vessel at Port Zante yesterday, marking the arrival of the one million cruise passengers for the season, eyes are now turned to stay overs.
Questions are now being asked, whether tourism officials can replicate similar success in the arrival of tourists staying over on the island?
When asked by SKNVibes how they plan to achieve similar success, Minister of Tourism, Lindsay Grant acknowledged that they have struggled in that area in recent times but noted that they are working to have that problem rectified.
Over the last several years, the Minister repeatedly told stakeholders and the media alike that the numbers have remained steady or flatlined.
“We have been flat over the last five years at about 125,000 passengers. We need to move that needle upwards and my aim before I leave the office is to grow that by at least 50 percent since the real money is with stay overs,” the Minister told reporters last year.
While addressing reporters yesterday, Grant said “the focus now is going to be on stayovers, because we need to drive that.”
“It is a symbiotic relationship also between the cruise and the stayover visitors. So don’t think that they are two separate and entirely distinct industries, they work together in harmony,” Grant said.
With the achievement of one million cruise passengers elevating St. Kitts and Nevis to marquee status, the government is bringing on stream a number of major hotel chains in order to attract high-end visitors to the island.
That is evident with the minister pointing to the Park Hyatt Hotel that opened recently, and the Ritz Carlton and Six Senses hotels coming in the near future.
With regards to the Park Hyatt, the Minister had pointed out that those branded hotels bring with them a collection of loyal followers.
Minister Grant noted that over the next three years St. Kitts and Nevis will be out internationally, as they seek to bring awareness to what the federation has to offer.
“So, I believe over the next three years St. Kitts is going to be out there. Our job now, is to make sure that there is an awareness of St. Kitts and Nevis because some places you go, people don’t know where St. Kitts and Nevis is. So, our job now is to ensure that we market St. Kitts and Nevis, so it will become a household name,’ explained Grant.