BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, February 10, 2022 (MMS-SKN) — Tourism sector which remains the mainstay of Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis’ economy was adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but according to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, it is on the rebound and is off to a respectable start.
“The rebound of the tourism sector is quite evident,” said Dr Harris on Thursday February 10 when he hosted the first Prime Minister’s Press Conference of the year at the NEMA Conference Room in Lime Kiln, West Basseterre. He pointed out that people see the rebound regularly by the seaside in Basseterre at Port Zante. There were four cruise ships docked at Port Zante as the press conference was going on.
While not yet close to the buoyancy of 2018-2019 season, Prime Minister Harris noted that the 2021-2022 cruise season is off to an encouraging start, in the context of the Federation’s liveability with Covid and the restrictions placed on cruise travel, both by the Centres of Disease Control in the USA and other governments to protect their citizens.
According to the Honourable Prime Minister, the cruise season typically would start in October, and carry on to September the next year during which time there would be a peak and a lull. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs Carlene Henry-Morton, was present at the Prime Minister’s Monthly Press Conference.
“I am advised that we have had 158 cruise calls so far, with 138,022 cruise passengers,” he advised the nation. “This compares well to the prior season, 2020-2021, when for 9 months (October 2020 to June 2021) there was zero cruise calls and consequently zero passengers. Given the COVID-19 situation, the cruise ships are not sailing at their usual maximum capacity as a precautionary health response.”
He was supported at the head table by Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Shawn Richards, Minister of Environment and Cooperatives the Hon Eric Evelyn, Minister of Human Settlement et al the Hon Eugene Hamilton, and Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs the Hon Vincent Byron Jr.
“Turning to air arrivals: For January 2022, I am advised we have had 6,683 passengers arriving in the Federation, and this is up 5,324 over the 1,350 passengers recorded in January of 2021,” said the Prime Minister. “Of course, in January of 2021 we were in the throes of a community related outbreak, so again, this we are off to a respectable start according to the data provided by St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA).”
Also present at the press conference were Minister of Health et al the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett, Minister of International Trade, Industry, Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Labour the Hon Wendy Phipps, Deputy Speaker Senator the Hon Dr Bernicia Nisbett, Ambassadors, His Excellency Michael Powell and His Excellency Sydney Osborne, Chief Medical Officer Dr Hazel Laws, and other senior government officials.