Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 06, 2016 (SKNIS): St. Kitts is now tapping into community tourism which will see the beautification of several communities in an effort to further enhance the visitor experience.
Speaking on the radio-television programme “Working for You,” Community Tourism Officer, Shaline Welcome, said that the Ministry of Tourism tries as much as possible to encourage community groups to get tourists to visit historical sites in their area along with other features that are not usually explored.
“This is important because it gives the communities an opportunity to foster community pride and encourage more persons to develop more tourism related businesses within the area rather than the perception that historical sites are limited to Basseterre,” Ms. Welcome explained. “They will not only have historical sites in the area, but budding businesses can also be developed in the surrounding areas. This would encourage more visitors to the area. So it’s not only historical but culinary aspects as well.”
Ms. Welcome said that there are currently two projects in place to promote community tourism. These include the McKnight Beautification Project and Rails to Trails Project.
The group, McKnight on the Rise, has come together to dispose of waste in the area. Ms. Welcome said that waste disposal is a huge part of community tourism development because if the area is not clean it would be impossible to promote tourism.
“What they have done is that they started choosing a few lots for cleaning,” she said. “After cleaning that area, we are looking into turning that area into a community garden. From that area the group was able to extract four bin loads and four tracker loads of garbage and that’s only one lot which is 1026 square feet.”
The project is estimated to finish on May 21, 2016, and will need the help of community members to aid in the cleaning process. The group also has plans to contribute to sustainable tourism after that project is completed which will include hydroponic farming on some of the vacant lots. Another project that is in the works is the establishment of the McKnight Museum.
The Rails to Trails Project is an effort to preserve the railway by turning it into a hiking and biking trail on the areas that are not occupied by the St. Kitts Scenic Railway which is from the Ross University area leading straight back to Newton Ground.
“What we have done so far is initiate a few hikes to see the visibility of the rails within that area,” she explained. “We realized that Palmetto Point to Challengers has the most visible rails to begin with. So, we decided to start a demonstration which will bring some sort of awareness to other persons within the community and surrounding communities of what we actually intend to do. The area designated for the exertion is the top of Palmetto Point leading into Challengers and will end down at Bloody Point.”
There is presently a community group in Challengers that has decided to work along with the community tourism officer. Ms. Welcome explained that she works closely with all community groups and noted that the groups have already taken responsibility to start the beautification of the area down at Bloody Point. She stated that work on the trails will commence after the beautification.
“It will be kept in its natural form as much as possible by just trimming up the edges and making sure that the rails are still visible,” she said. “We want to encourage visitors when they go through that area to not only walk the rails but to offer an opportunity to explore the neighbouring villages, take advantage of the historical sites as well as enjoy the local dishes.”