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SKN PM reports favourable rebound of the Tourism Industry but suggests that urgent attention be given to airlift


by Eulana Weekes

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The global tourism sector was the hardest hit by the Covid 19 pandemic but it did not deter the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis from strategizing and re-energizing the local industry.

The Government, following the August 05 elections moved swiftly to remove all COVID-19 restrictions and mandates which contributed to the early and successful rebound of the Tourism sector. Also contributing to the rebound was the rebranding of the destination under the theme “Venture Deeper”.

According to Prime Minister Dr Terrance Drew in his 2023 Budget Presentation, the rebound of the Tourism industry has positively impacted other sectors such as the Wholesale and Retail Sector and the Transport, Storage and Communication sectors.

“In keeping with the growth in the Tourism Sector, consumer demand rose as hotels and restaurants resumed full operations resulting in the growth in the Wholesale and Retail Sector. In the Transport, Storage and Communication Sector, the increase can be attributed to the gradual return of air travel to the Federation. Air travel rebounded by some 288.6 percent which is an indication that the Tourism Sector is well on its way to recovery. Cruise has also played a pivotal role within the overall Sector, increasing by 18.4 percent in 2022 mainly driven by the increased cruise ship and visitor arrivals in the early part of the current cruise season. The Ministry of Tourism is predicting that our destination will experience an influx of over 900,000 cruise passengers for the 2022/2023 cruise season.”

To recover lost ground in the market, Prime Minister Drew suggests that the tourism product be refreshed and service offerings improve. Airlift, he said, must be of urgent priority, with focus on additional routes, affordable airfares and upgrades to the country’s main transport hub.

“The most urgent need is an improvement in our airlift, specifically, more routes and cheaper fares. We must continue to focus on improving our airlift if we are to be as competitive as other islands in the region. To achieve this, there are critical actions that we must take. The discussion must begin on the ground in St. Kitts. We will focus efforts on upgrading the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport to ensure that the arrival experience is of the highest standard; and features innovative functions throughout.”

The Prime Minister disclosed that EC $8.0 million of the proposed Capital Budget of EC $17.6 million to the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and International Transport has been allocated for the purpose of attracting new airlift into the Federation.

Currently, Liat, WINAIR, British Airways, Sky High Aviation Services, Air Canada Rouge, Delta, United Airlines and American Airlines are providing air transport services to St.Kitts.


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