Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 10, 2016 (SKNIS): Last night’s meeting of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), with various stakeholders of the cruise industry, was deemed to be necessary to continuously improve the quality of the guest experience on St. Kitts and Nevis and to find solutions to the challenges of the cruise sector.
The August 09 consultation, held at the St. Kitts Marriot Resort, was purposely fashioned to incorporate the views and sentiments of the widest cross-section of the national tourism community. This is why the Ministry of Tourism and the St. Kitts Tourism Authority invited stakeholders from different disciplines, including the Hotel and Tourism Association, tour operators, retail stores and shops, taxi operators, representatives from historical sites, the Port Authority, security officials, excursion operators, health officials, vendors, restaurateurs, Parks and Beaches officials, maritime affairs and other important delegates to attend the meeting.
Addressing the stakeholders, Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Lindsay Grant, said that the meeting is “truly about listening to each other, and working together to improve the way we do business.”
“The Ministry of Tourism is fully cognizant of the challenges that lie ahead and we embrace the recommendations from the FCCA, with a commitment to working in partnership with all stakeholders to facilitate the development of a sustainable and even more prosperous tourism cruise sector,” said Minister Grant.
He added that with the growth of cruise tourism in St. Kitts, the number of attractions, tours and restaurants continue to increase.
“This increase in product offering has had a positive impact on the performance of the tourism sector as a whole,” said the minister. “A recent study conducted by Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA) reports increases in cruise tourism expenditures and passenger satisfaction, placing the island among the highest‐rated destinations in the entire Caribbean.”
Minister Grant reported that in 2015 total cruise expenditure in St. Kitts was US$84.3 million dollars, about over $225 million or 1/3 of the national budget. This was an increase from 2012, when the total expenditure was US$70.6 million dollars. Also, in 2012, the average spend was US$108.90, however, 2015 saw an increase to US$111.30 per passenger in St. Kitts.
“This is indeed significant, for while average expenditures across the Caribbean have declined, we continue to show an increase,” said the minister. “We however saw a decrease in crew expenditure from US$65.00 to US$41.55. We need to be sensitive to this as we know the crew influences overall cruise visitor spend as their references about a destination guides visitor decision. We hope to see this improve when the next BREA study is conducted.”
The minister continued to report that in 2012 cruise passenger arrivals to St. Kitts stood at 629,223, and increased to 758,420 in 2015. He said that for 2016, St. Kitts is again on pace for another record setting cruise season. So far this cruise season has had 21 inaugural cruise ship calls, the most ever in a season.