Capitalizing on community tourism will add something unique to the tourism product in St. Kitts, says Community Tourism Officer, Shaline Welcome. She added that rural areas have a lot to offer in terms of being unique.
“We basically have to go out and encourage these communities to develop some sort of pride and appreciation,” she said. “Most of these historic sites are in the countryside, but most of us believe that tourism only lives within the areas where the cruise ship comes in and where our main businesses are.”
Ms. Welcome stated that this notion should be changed, adding that tourism involves the entire nation.
“We need to change the direction on that because community tourism is about the whole of St. Kitts. Its natural and historic environs are out in the communities. We need to encourage them to create some sort of community tourism-related business,” she said.
Executive Director of Events, Allister Williams mentioned that there are over 100 sites of historical importance in the Federation, noting that history is one of the strong points in St. Kitts.
“That is what we have to sell the most. So we want to exploit the benefits of tourism by going into the communities and getting them actively involved because most of these sites are hidden,” he said. “Some we know of, but there are many others that are within communities, and what we are saying is that you don’t necessarily have to come to Basseterre to work in any of the hotels or tourism plants located in town.”
Mr. Williams stated that communities can look at ways to renovate and build businesses surrounding the historical sites.
“There can be some kind of tour surrounding whatever historical site that may exist in that particular area, and each of these sites have a history and they have a story, and I think many of our visitors when they come, they want to hear the stories.”