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Sustainability, investment in industry-focused education the focus of recent SKTA & hoteliers’ meeting

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Minister of Tourism, Honourable Marsha T. Henderson, and Executives of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority met with hoteliers for an update meeting.

The meeting was held on April 24, 2023, and the Tourism Minister said that one of the critical points addressed was getting hoteliers to buy into the Federation being a sustainable island destination.

“We wanted to get an update from the hoteliers to see how they perform in terms of stayovers during the period January to March 2023, and from all accounts, things are looking up. We also wanted to discuss the initiatives that we intend to embark upon this season – for the rest of the year – the final quarters of the year, particularly the marketing initiatives, training and getting our stakeholders to buy into St. Kitts being a sustainable tourism destination. We want to ensure that hoteliers understand that we want them to embark on eco-friendly practices so that, in a few years, we can have a destination. If we continue to operate how we are operating, we may not have a destination to sell and to provide food and shelter for our people.”

Industry stakeholder Marc Schneider, General Manager of Sunset Reef St. Kitts, shared his thoughts on the meeting.

“I thought today’s meeting was a great example of our tourism community coming together, to work together, to create a sustainable future.”

Melnecia Marshall – Deputy CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, said part of the discussions with the hoteliers about the importance of education in training and preparing a workforce that could staff the industry on the island.

“During our discussions, we looked at how we can partner to ensure that we promote the destination and also to get those heads in beds. One of the things that we looked at, particularly, was how we [could] partner with our learning institutions to ensure that we’re able to supply the workforce with the level and quality of employees that are required to really make St. Kitts more competitive. We looked at the fact that customer service is critical. We have to raise the level of our service excellence, and so during the summer, we will be engaging our learning institutions as well as those employees who are currently working in the industry to ensure that we raise that level of service that is being offered to our visitors and of course our nationals because we do offer stay-cations.”

Additionally, the Deputy CEO shared the need for reinstating the St. Kitts-Nevis Hotel and Tourism Association (HTA) formed part of the discussion with the hoteliers.

“We also looked at how, as partners, we can work together. We have resources that we can pool to ensure that we are making the best use of those resources, whether they be financial or in-kind, and so we looked at how we can come together to partner, and one of the things that came out of the discussion was the importance of the HTA. That organisation has not been functioning for a little while, and we made some positive steps this morning as to move forward to reinstating the HTA and it is a critical part of the partnership with the St. Kitts Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism as we move forward in making the destination more competitive and be more strategic and targeted in our marketing efforts” – Deputy CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority – Melnecia Marshall.

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