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Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 12, 2017 (SKNIS): The tourism sector in St. Kitts and Nevis continues to grow from “strength to strength” according to the Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Lindsay Grant, who spoke at a press conference at Port Zante on Thursday to mark the unprecedented arrival of over 16,000 cruise ship passengers who arrived on five cruise ships.
Describing the day as historic, Minister Grant said he was delighted.
“It’s about 10 O’clock now and as far as I am concerned, we are managing the passengers that are coming off the ships very nicely. We have not had any incidents; the flow of traffic is smooth.”
Minister Grant indicated that the island would soon become accustomed to these numbers as in “the fore coming season, not this season, but the next season, five ship days and six ship days are going to become almost the norm. So really and truly for me, it is to make sure the vendors, shop keepers, tour operators, those who are doing excursions, get ready for what is coming and what is already here.”
He revealed that this cruise season will see for the first time over 1.1 million passenger arrivals.
“That again is historic,” said Minister Grant, who also noted that “we have 391 cruise ship visits. That again is a record building number. We had record numbers last year. We are giving you record number this year and the following year we are going to give you record breaking numbers again.”
Docked at Port Zante were The Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas (137,276 tons) and Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, which carry 4,515 guests; the AIDA Cruises’ AIDAluna, which carries 2,050 guests was docked at the Deep Water Harbour, while the Thomson Cruises’ TUI Discovery, which carries 1,830 guests and Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess, which carries 3,560 guests, were being tendered.
Minister Grant indicated that St. Kitts is a sought after destination. He said that even though cruise companies are aware that their ship has to be tendered they insist on coming to the island and added that “the very reason we are doing the second pier is to alleviate the problem of tendering.”
He thanked his team for their hard work promoting and branding the destination and indicated that his minister is working assiduously to ensure that the best product is offered to visitors.
He noted that he had identified some areas that could be improved saying, “We are going back to the drawing board strategically and to move forward.”
Speaking of the economic gain to the island, Minister Grand said, “We are the number three destination when it comes to spending. Right now, our “spend” is US$111.08 per person, so you can do the math to tell you how much money is pumped into the economy just today.”