Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 16, 2015 (SKNIS): The Tourism Sector is poised to receive a “Fresh Start” in 2016.
In his Budget Address for the fiscal year 2016, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said, “As part of our Fresh Start Agenda, my Team Unity Government will work to implement dynamic and innovative projects and programmes to raise the standard and quality of the Tourism Sector.”
Prime Minister Harris explained that the government has realized that to achieve the goal of optimizing benefits from the Tourism Sector it is imperative “to attract increasing numbers of high-end visitors,” while ensuring that these efforts are “concentrated on developing a product.”
Noting “that the Sector must be developed in such a way that it adds value to our quest for sustainable development and true enrichment of the lives of our people,” Prime Minister Harris further explained that the government is “encouraged by the fact that the Tourism Sector continues to show resilience as the economy rebounds from the difficult days of the global financial and economic crisis.”
He said that statistics are indicative of growth in the sector and that “stay over arrivals from our major source markets, cruise ship passengers and related calls, and our yachting sector all show positive out turns for the year so far,” adding that “carefully developed niche marketing programme has begun to yield positive returns.”
According to Dr. Harris these marketing programmes have led to the Federation ranking 4th in the List of the Best Beach Honeymoons in the World and 3rd in the List of the Best Caribbean Honeymoons by U.S. News and World Report for 2015. Similarly, The New York Times has named St. Kitts and Nevis among the ‘52 Places to Go’ in 2015, while USA Today Travel has highlighted ‘Seven Sensational Reasons to Visit St. Kitts’.
The prime Minister said that the “Team Unity Government has endorsed a partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Tourism to launch a Tourism Education Programme,” with the objective of sensitizing students and, by extension, their families to the benefits of the Tourism Sector.
“The Programme will be rolled out in January 2016 as a pilot programme in Basseterre High School and two (2) primary schools which will be selected after further consultation with the Ministry of Education,” he said.
The government also intends to “address the challenges with erosion at Frigate Bay and South Friars Bay Beach.” Prime Minister Harris disclosed that the “Government has undertaken steps to source the necessary expertise and funding to facilitate the replenishment and nourishment projects.” This, he said, would enhance the tourism product offered by the Federation.
Speaking to further enhancement, Prime Minister Harris outlined the government’s intention to “utilizing a phased approach to enhance the aesthetics and ambiance of the area commonly known as ‘The Strip’ inclusive of provisions for enhanced safety and security and recreational facilities.” Prime Minister Harris also revealed that his government has already initiated “discussions with the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) and has contracted the services of local expertise,” to facilitate this process.
According to Prime Minister Harris, the government is “cognizant of the impact of climate change on both islands particularly in regards to coastal erosion,” and has taken steps “to ensure the sustainability of our natural assets.”