PRIVATE SECTOR PLAYS A PIVOTAL ROLE IN THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE TOURISM SECTOR

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 17, 2016 (SKNIS): As the tourism sector continues to show significant growth, the private sector is expected to continue to play an integral role so that economic development can be sustained.

During a recent interview with the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service (SKNIS), Hilary Hazel, Financial Secretary, said that although the government is not directly involved in the construction of any hotels, it still plays a significant role in the sector.

“You would not find government investing in say building a hotel plant, but Government has a very robust concessions regime that is targeted at the private sector playing its part to build the infrastructure that is needed for directly serving the tourism sector,” said Hilary Hazel, Financial Secretary. The financial secretary said that projects in cruise tourism “will not factor necessarily into the capital programme of the central government but it is a part of the public sector investment programme which would be carried more than likely by SCASPA [St. Christopher Air and Sea Port Authority] as the lead public agency.”

Commenting on the Budget Estimates Meetings held last week, the financial secretary said that because of the nature of the meetings and the fact that the private sector’s role in relation to the tourism sector is so vital, the meetings will not have in depth discussions as it relates to the tourism sector in terms of the actual dollar amount.

“What we would set is the policy as to whether or not the pier would be pursued,” she said, referring to the second cruise pier that is to be built at Port Zante to accommodate the berthing of more cruise ships. “But the actual dollar amount for the investment would not necessarily be shown in the estimates when it comes printed and published in December [2016].”

According to information from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), a report on Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2015 for St. Kitts and Nevis, informs that Travel and Tourism generated 1,500 jobs directly in 2014 (6.6 percent of total employment) and this was forecast to remain the same in 2015 at 1,500 (6.7 percent of total employment). This number includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). It also includes the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists. By 2025, Travel and Tourism will account for 2,000 jobs directly, an increase of 3.5 percent per annum over the next ten years.

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