BASSETERRE (Wednesday 28th July, 2010): Cruise visitor arrivals in St Kitts are expected to increase by more than 20% in the upcoming October 2010 - September 2011 cruise ship season.
This was announced by Senator Ricky Skerritt, St. Kitts & Nevis Minister of State for Tourism and International Transport, while addressing a media launch of the upcoming St. Kitts Cruise Ship Schedule on Tuesday at the Port Zante Arrival Hall in the capital city of Basseterre.
“It is a significant achievement for St. Kitts to be able to forecast a fourth year of arrivals growth for the upcoming season,” Skerritt said. “If all goes well, we should reach the 600,000 arrivals mark by September 2011, and this would represent a 200% increase in just 5 years since reaching the 200,000 mark for the first time in 2006.”
Skerritt said that, in spite of the increasing arrivals, his Ministry’s two main objectives continue to be to improve the quality of the visitor experience and increase the level of spend-per-passenger.
According to Senator Skerritt, “St. Kitts also wants to grow on-shore expenditure by the ships’ crew, whose numbers are expected to exceed 200,000 next season; bringing a total of more than 800,000 potential cruise customers to Port Zante.”
Minister Skerritt also announced that St Kitts’ summer cruise arrivals will benefit from the much appreciated addition of RCCL’s Serenade of the Seas which will call fortnightly at Port Zante on Tuesdays from May 2011. The Tourism Minister pointed out that summer cruise calls to St Kitts did not exist before 2007 when Carnival Cruise Line began calling year round, just 3 years ago. “So, this addition is fantastic news for keeping our cruise sector alive during the slower summer months.”
Skerritt also disclosed that the 2010-2011 Cruise Ship schedule projects 193 days with at least one ship in Port, including 48 days when there will be two ships in port, 23 days with three cruise ships in port, and 6 four ship days.
He pointed out that the performance of the cruise sector will continue to be robust only if all stakeholders work untiringly together to further improve St. Kitts’ attractiveness and competitiveness for cruising, while sustaining the gains made to date. “Every individual customer must experience only the best that St Kitts has to offer”, Skerritt said.
Also present at the first-ever such launch ceremony were a variety of stakeholders and representatives of the local cruise sector, including top officials from the St. Christopher Air and Sea Port Authority, Taxi Associations, the police high command, the Urban Development Corporation, Ministry of Tourism and the St. Kitts Tourism Authority.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, Diannille Taylor, chaired the launch ceremony which saw SCASPA’s recently appointed Chief Executive Officer, Terrance Crossman, discuss the progress made on improving and expanding the port facilities.
CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority (SKTA), Rosecita Jeffers, gave an update on SKTA’s efforts to handle the challenges of raising the quality of the visitor experience for cruise passengers. She called on all cruise stakeholders to work even more closely together.