PM Drew praises Tourism Sector for boosting economy during Budget Address 2024

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Prime Minister Terrance Drew highlighted the Tourism Sector as he gave the Budget Address 2024 for St Kitts and Nevis, playing his role as the Minister of Finance.

He spoke of the unparalleled contribution of the Tourism Sector to the nation’s continued progress.

Tourism Sector’s Influence on St Kitts and Nevis

PM Drew explained the Tourism Industry in St Kitts and Nevis has shown the ability to help the government achieve its Sustainable Development Goals, including the SDG 2 (No Poverty) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) goals.

The Tourism Sector has made significant progress despite the many challenges faced due to fluctuations and unforeseen changes in global markets.

He said St Kitts and Nevis has become a shining example of a nation which promotes and facilitates the reshaping of the Tourism Industry to push for sustainability.

“This has been one of the overarching agendas for St Kitts and Nevis in the way the nation wishes to progress in all aspects and the tourism industry has now become a huge proponent of it,” added PM Drew.

Some of the most important actions taken to date include increasing international and regional airlift capacity, improving and diversifying product and building a foundation to transform St Kitts into a year-round tourism destination.

Cruise Sector Expansion

The Cruise Industry is a major part of St Kitts and Nevis’s Tourism Sector and has played a major role in bringing larger numbers of tourists to the nation’s shores, helping expand the industry and impacting the economy in a significant manner.

He added that expansion of cruise tourism is apparent from the fact that St Kitts and Nevis has welcomed 772,528 passengers by the end of the 2022-2023 season, an increase of 97.8 percent over the previous year.

Prime Minister Drew added that progress has been attributed to the Minister of Tourism and her team, which has worked hard to re-engage cruise lines to ensure that the Twin Island Federation is seen as a valuable destination.

St Kitts and Nevis has prioritized improving destination standards and enhancing customer service, in order to sustain this recovery.

For the 2023- 2024 season, the Ministry of Tourism provided training to over 1,200 individuals across 11 tourism related service areas such as Hair Braiders, Primate Petting Vendors, Taxi and Tour Operators, Certified Divers and Water Sports Operators.

The government and its partners in the Cruise Industry are also cognizant of the importance of addressing climate change.

Changes have been observed in cruise itineraries as the cruise lines set sail for shorter voyages at lower speeds in order to minimize their carbon emissions to avoid penalties as required by the Carbon Intensity Indicator implemented by the International Maritime Organization.

PM added that another consideration is a continued decrease in homeporting in San Juan, which has resulted in a decrease in the estimated number of ship arrivals for this season.

“Having said that, this does not necessarily mean that the actual number of cruise visitors has decreased, as a number of larger ships are scheduled to call at St Kitts and Nevis’s port,” added PM Drew.

St Kitts and Nevis is already working hard to explore possible avenues for innovation, rejuvenation and diversification within the sector to ensure that it remains on the path of sustainable tourism expansion.

Renewable sources of shore power to meet the needs of the cruise lines while they are docked, are also being explored. This would be a great advantage for the industry, helping St Kitts and Nevis rise above its peers.

Increased access to Tourists from around the world

Prime Minister Terrance Drew stated that in 2023, St Kitts and Nevis also managed to increase the accessibility of the destination by strengthening both regional and international airlift capacity, leading to a remarkable 52 percent surge in total air arrivals compared to the same period in 2022.

“The United States held the number one spot as our primary source market, constituting 71 percent of total arrivals in 2023, while the Caribbean market surged to reclaim its position as the second largest at 15 percent, followed by the UK at 10 percent and Canada at 4 percent,” said PM Drew.

In this way, St Kitts and Nevis has managed to help revitalize the Caribbean market by offering more options to visitors.

Prime Minister Drew stated that the approach has been reinforced by a series of strategic initiatives, including the introduction of InterCaribbean Airways with thrice weekly direct flights from Barbados in March and the initiation of Caribbean Airlines services from Port of Spain and Barbados via Antigua in July.

PM said that the introduction of these new services is helping address the longstanding challenge of ease of access faced by St Kitts and Nevis in the past.

Additionally, the commencement of the highly anticipated year-round JetBlue service three times per week from JFK was a huge accomplishment.

American Airlines also added flights for the 25th edition of the St Kitts Music Festival and added double daily flights for peak travel in August and September of this year. The United Airlines service was extended from December to April, to November to August.

Airlift capacity from Canada initially expanded by an impressive 66%, along with adding additional Friday flights. Air Canada also added a second Friday flight to the destination for the holiday season, which was done to meet the increasing demand, highlighting the fact that St Kitts and Nevis has raised its tourism profile by leaps and bounds.

PM Drew also extended his heartfelt congratulations to the team at the St Kitts Tourism Authority as they celebrate their 20th Anniversary, this year.

He made it a point to show the Government’s appreciation to all those who contributed to the development of the Authority and the Tourism Industry over the years.

Achievements of St Kitts and Nevis Tourism

Prime Minister Terrance Drew said that over the past year, St Kitts and Nevis has refined its marketing strategy with more emphasis placed on public relations and increased brand awareness.

He said the robust marketing plan has helped St Kitts and Nevis increase its influence over the international tourism community.

It must be said that in 2023, the tourism industry was honoured with several accolades, including the 2023 Caribbean Destination of the Year Award bestowed by Caribbean Journal.

This recognition serves as a substantial affirmation of the quality of the offerings and experiences. This positions St Kiitts and Nevis at the forefront among other Caribbean destinations.

For the second year in a row, the destination was bestowed the honour of the Caribbean’s Leading Dive Destination by the World Travel Awards. Furthermore, in 2023, it attained another remarkable achievement as Sunset Reef was included in Conde Nast Traveler’s esteemed “Hot List” for the year.

RLB Airport

Prime Minister Terrance Drew said that the Minister of Tourism would elaborate on the details about the developments at the RLB Airport.

He did mention though, that travelers will enjoy an improved experience as the process of switching to the Common Use Terminal Equipment System has begun.

PM added that the current system locks airlines into using a particular counter and this no longer meets the requirements of the expanded airlift situation. Plans are also in place to further improve the speed of the check-in process by installing kiosks at strategic points in the terminal. Screens will be erected throughout the terminal to display flight arrivals, departures and gate information, making the experience seamless for visitors.

PM Drew also spoke of the nation’s commitment to exploring ways to further improve the efficiency of operations at ports so that in the coming years, they can be transformed to align with the government’s vision for a Sustainable Island State.

George Henry
George Henryhttp://writeups24.com/
George Henry, a distinguished graduate of Columbia University, pursued his passion in Economics with outstanding academic achievements. George found his calling in journalism, aiming to raise awareness regarding geopolitical and socioeconomic issues. He is recognized for having a keen interest in international geopolitics, sports and women's rights. To reach George, you can email contact@writeups24.com

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