30 January 2024 | 11:00 am
Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew delivering remarks at the Plaque Exchange Ceremony onboard Icon of the Seas
Esteemed guests, distinguished ladies, and gentlemen, a pleasant good morning.
I wish to reflect a bit on the past Minister of Tourism Mr. Ricky Skerrit and past Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas. I can remember clearly in about 2013 when a strategy was being put together for the new age of tourism, the idea was to let us construct piers that would be able to berth these large ships that were not even being made at that time. That was vision! Today, we see that vision unfolded.
I stand before you today, as Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis with great joy as we celebrate today’s magnificent achievement – the inaugural cruise call of the iconic Icon of The Seas, the largest cruise vessel in the World. Our Federation has journeyed a long way – but we continue to soar and stay prominent across borders. And so, it is with great pleasure that I emphasize the resounding success St. Kitts has achieved as a sought-after cruise destination.
In this moment, we bask in the radiance of the numerous benefits that this occasion unfolds for our beloved Federation. Our economy becomes the fortunate recipient of great opportunities, as the arrival of the largest cruise vessel in the world anchors our nation firmly on the global map of commerce. Investments surge, businesses flourish, and legions of employment opportunities materialize, all constituting the solid framework of unyielding economic growth.
Yet, let us not overlook the profound impact on our tourism industry, the very lifeblood of our nation’s prosperity. The arrival of Icon of The Seas thrusts St. Kitts into the limelight of international recognition, its name synonymous with unmatched beauty, adventure, and hospitality.
A resolute commitment to the development of our tourism sector has always been the cornerstone of our Government's endeavours. Recognizing the immense potential of this industry, we have dedicated our efforts to creating an environment that effortlessly blends the preservation of our natural heritage with sustainable tourism practices. Let us not forget my Government’s agenda to ensure that St. Kitts & Nevis becomes a Sustainable Island State. This agenda correlates perfectly with Royal Caribbean Group’s commitment to sustainability, or as they call it “Seastanability”. Their efforts to reduce carbon intensity and their blue-green promise tie seamlessly with our mission to propel our cruise industry into an environmentally conscious era.
And so, as we marvel at today’s historic moment, I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to those who have made this achievement possible. We owe a profound debt of gratitude to the visionary architects and master craftsmen who created this beautiful vessel, the Royal Caribbean Group’s team who continues to partner with our destination, as well as our fervent tourism industry professionals particularly our Minister of Tourism, Hon. Marsha T. Henderson, the Ministry of Tourism, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, and the St. Christopher Air & Sea Port Authority, who, through their tireless efforts, have ensured our Federation sits prominently at the apex of world-class destinations.
In conclusion, I express heartfelt gratitude to all those who have laboured diligently to bring this morning’s proceedings to fruition. There is no better welcome than a Kittitian welcome. Our destination is truly special, and I can only imagine a future where our nation continues to break barriers in the global cruise sector.
May our beloved Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis continue to flourish.
Thank you and may prosperity and good fortune accompany us on this remarkable journey ahead.
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