Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 16, 2020 (SKNIS): During a press conference held on January 15, at Government Headquarters, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris stated that the Government of National Unity will continue to strengthen the vibrancy of the tourism sector in 2020 as it is a key contributor to the economy.

According to reports from the St. Christopher Air and Sea Port Authority (SCASPA), the tourism sector recorded 1,045,846 cruise passengers for 2019, said the prime minister.

“This is the second year in a row that we crossed the million-passenger cruise arrival milestone,” he said.

With regards to the air arrivals at RLB International Airport, there was a total of 163,453 passengers up 7 percent or 10,113 passengers over 153,340 arrivals in 2018.

Prime Minister Harris said that the government plans to invest more in the tourism industry in 2020. This was articulated in the Budget address in December 2019. In fact, the Ministry of Tourism was allocated $25.1 million to carry out its Recurrent programmes and activities.

He said a significant part of that investment will be made by the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA).

“We inherited a woefully inadequate and rundown tourism infrastructure,” he said. “Prudent fiscal management never before practiced as the rule allowed us to make significant progress in correcting the run-down infrastructure.”

The prime minister stated that the government has rehabilitated the airport infrastructure at the RLB International Airport by investing in: Resurfacing of Runway, Taxiway “B” & “C” in asphalt; Installation of brand-new Runway solar lighting system; Installation of a new elevator within the Departure Hall; Installation of new conveyor belt systems and baggage carousels; and Resurfacing of Taxiway “A” in concrete. Alpha Taxiway would be fully operational in the first quarter of 2020.

“Our aim is to make RLB International Airport the most used, most user friendly, the most efficient and most effective airport in the region,” said the prime minister. “These transformational developments did not occur in 20 years. In less than 5 years, we have progressed in leaps and bounds. We need to lock in these gains by ensuring a return of Team Unity administration.”