Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 27, 2021 (SKNIS): Cruise tourism in St. Kitts is moving in a positive direction as authorities chart a safe balance between an outstanding visitor experience while mitigating the risks of COVID-19 to citizens, residents and visitors.
At a press conference on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel, Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Lindsay Grant, gave an update on the first two months of the winter season that is being implemented in a phased way after a delayed start.
“We have 18 ship days in November which translates to 27 calls,” Minister Grant stated, highlighting several key dates during the month. “For the first time since March 13, 2020, we will receive three ships at Port Zante. We receive three ships on November sixteenth (16th) and again on November twenty-third (23rd). On November the fourth (4th), tenth (10th), seventeenth (17th), and the nineteenth (19th) we will have two ships calling on Port Zante.”
The projected passenger total for the month is 71,775. All passengers will be fully vaccinated. Minister Grant noted that November is looking “pretty good” but went on to announce an even better schedule for December 2021.
“In December, we are scheduled to receive 51 calls,” he said, which equated to 119,146 projected passengers. There is a need for us to manage our expectations and to understand that this is a phased approach for the resumption by both the (cruise) lines and our destination.”
While the scheduled visits have increased significantly, the cruise lines have indicated that they are currently operating between 40 to 60 percent of their capacity as they continue to test COVID-19 protocols.
The tourism minister indicated that discussions are ongoing between the Ministry of Health and the National COVID-19 Task Force to expand the opportunities for visitors, thereby expanding economic benefits for local tourism operators.
Minister Grant expressed cautious optimism about the future, given that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can cause a dramatic change. However, he added that the ministry will continue to build on the successes achieved over the past months and he also encouraged an all of society approach in rebuilding the sector.