Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 21, 2017 (SKNIS): Phase one of the upgrade plan for the Black Rocks area in Belle Vue has completely transformed the historical site to offer a more enriching and rewarding experience for visitors as well as local vendors who operate there.
On the season finale of the radio and television programme “Working for You” on Wednesday (December 20) Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Carlene Henry-Morton, said that the Whitegate Development Corporation is partnering with the ministry on this project and highlighted some of the upgrades funded to date.
“They have spent close to $700,000 on the infrastructure, the drainage that has been put in, the roads, landscaping [and] they have made some lawn furniture and so on that they have put in,” she stated.
The government provided funding for the construction of five vendor booths which are designed to hint back to the chattel houses of slaves during the island’s colonial days. Chattel houses were capable of being moved from one location to another.
“They in themselves will become the story because we need to use those now to educate our visitors when they come that we have chosen to build using this particular design because it has historical value,” Mrs. Henry-Morton said.
The five completed booths are expected to be handed over to local vendors very soon. Work will commence on constructing five additional structures under Phase two of the project as well as stalls for persons with smaller operations such as primate petting and vegetable and fruit sale.
The permanent secretary added that the St. Kitts Tourism Authority will continue to offer training for vendors, taxi drivers and other stakeholders in the tourism industry to improve their customer service skills so as to increase their marketability and enhance the positive interactions with clients and potential clients.
During the recent Budget debate, Minister of Tourism, Honourable Lindsay Grant, said government’s vision is to ensure that tourism opportunities are dispersed across St. Kitts and Nevis.
“People must feel [that they are] a part of the tourism product,” Minister Grant said, noting that efforts to sensitize persons on the economic and social value of the industry will continue.