BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - PORT ZANTE and other major docking facilities around St. Kitts are expected to receive more than 130 cruise calls during January and February, as the Government seeks to rebuild the sector and increase arrivals to the Federation during the difficult COVID-19 period.
That disclosure was made by Minister of Tourism Lindsay Grant when he addressed reporters on Monday (Jan. 10), updating on the tourism sector which has been the hardest hit within the Federation and across the world.
But with the recent removal of restrictions for inbound travellers, it has made the Federation a more competitive destination for vacationers.
In his address, the Minister told reporters that for the month of January, St. Kitts would receive 72 calls and 62 in February, noting that it is all part of the Government’s phased approach to dealing with the reopening.
Despite the push, the cruise sector is sailing into murky waters as the number of positive cases on board vessels continue to increase, forcing territories across the region, including in St. Kitts and Nevis, to deny entry.
When asked by SKNVibes for the number of vessels that were denied entry thus far due to the presence of COVID-19, Minister Grant disclosed that there were 22 cancellations - eight in December and 14 in January.
That is not the only area being affected by the resurgence of positive cases of the Coronavirus. With the Federation’s main source markets - the region, Europe and North America destinations - seeing an uptick in cases due to the Omicron variant, it is raising concerns.
Canada, which has been placed on a level four watch, has warned its citizens of non-essential travels to several destinations across the region and Mexico, including St. Kitts and Nevis.
That prompted Air Canada to withdraw its weekly flights to the Federation beginning on January 30.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Melnicia Marshall explained that due to the number of cancellations for flights within Canada, the airline was forced to pull the plug on the Federation during the winter period.
“They have indicated that they have suspended their flights until then. I am not sure it will come back in March or April, we are still in discussions as it relates to that,” she noted.