|Basseterre, St. Kitts (02 December 2022) – The tourism industry in St. Kitts witnessed extraordinary growth and success in November. As per Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) indication, St. Kitts celebrated Tourism Awareness Month with an exciting roster of events that paid homage to the resilience and excellence of the industry. Tourism Awareness Month was led under the theme “Immerse, Indulge, Renew, Rethinking Tourism 2022,” which captured wholesomely the trajectory St. Kitts is currently pursuing on the global tourism stage.
|As part of the month’s activities, a “State of The Industry (SOI) event was hosted by the St. Kitts Tourism Authority (SKTA), which allowed opportunities for stakeholder re-engagement and education. The Authority’s SOI event celebrated the incredible achievements of the destination’s tourism industry by highlighting its resilience post-COVID and featured a stellar panel discussion comprised of experienced tourism professionals. The esteemed panelists included Mr. Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority; Ms. Wendy McDonald, Regional VP, Government Relations at Royal Caribbean Group; Mr. Brandon Carpenter, Sr. Analyst, Network & Schedule Planning, International Short Haul, Caribbean at American Airlines; Ms. Adriana Suao, Senior VP, Account Services at Tambourine; Mr. Troy “Spuddy” Hendrickson, CEO of Caribbean Journey Masters & Vibes Beach Bar; and Mr. Darren Thompson, General Manager of Royal St. Kitts Hotel and was moderated by Mrs. Melnecia Marshall, Deputy CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. The event provided valuable information-sharing opportunities concerning the cruise sector, tourism entrepreneurship, and marketing trends while creating rich networking opportunities for those in attendance.
|The month of activities continued with an exciting calendar of events which included a Marketing and Energy Conservation Workshop, an “Industry Talk” with Hospitality and Culinary students at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College, beach clean-up, Battle Royale, a day of competition between the Government Ministries, Tourism Fest, an Expedia webinar, and an Energy, Health & Tourism Fair in collaboration with energy month. The Ministry and the Authority reinforced the importance of tourism through the facilitation of these events and remain committed to building further awareness as St. Kitts progresses as a tourist destination.
“Tourism Awareness Month has been an incredible success. The Ministry and The Authority have worked hard to spotlight our industry for its immeasurable importance to the people of our island. This month’s key priority was to contribute to the development of our valued stakeholders through the sharing of cutting-edge information, having hosted workshops and webinars. Educating our young people on the career opportunities that await them within the industry and ways to maximize such opportunities is critical to our strategy moving forward as we develop our tourism industry. Building our human capital will continue to be paramount to our success,” shared Honourable Marsha T. Henderson, Minister of Tourism.
|The month of November also marked the lead-up to the peak cruise season. On Thursday, 24 November, celebrated as Thanksgiving Day, St. Kitts welcomed the world’s largest and boldest cruise vessel, the infamous “Wonder of the Seas” to its shores on its inaugural cruise call. This milestone represents St. Kitts’ incredible growth as a cruise destination owing to its distinct appeal through its magnetic culture, rich history, and ethereal experiences. Further to the inaugural cruise call of Wonder, the destination welcomed four (4) additional maiden calls: Carnival Spirit, Voyager of The Seas, Ocean Explorer, and Evrima. As of November 30th, the destination welcomed 44 cruise calls, with an impressive total cruise pax of 89,658 since the season began on October 1st, 2022.
|Further to cruise activity, On Monday, 14 November, Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, Minister of Tourism, Honourable Marsha Henderson, other Cabinet Ministers and executives from the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, St Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority and port agents from Delisle Walwyn & Co Ltd., convened a meeting with representatives from Carnival Corporation and P&O Cruises which discussed partnership expansions and new guest demands.
|The cruise sector plays a pivotal role in the island’s tourism industry. Leading cruise travel publication and cruise news source, “Porthole Magazine” visited the island to capture cruise content of the destination that will be shared with their subscribers in short order. Highlighting the destination’s vibrant cuisine offered by some of its excellent eateries, namely the recently reopened Sprat Net, Coopers, and Spice Mill, was a vital feature of the initiative. The production team of Porthole also explored the wonders of Brimstone Hill Fortress, our lush rain forest, and Wingfield Estate and was engaged in authentic batik creation at Romney Manor. Capturing the distinctive qualities of the destination will seek to encourage and increase return and stay-over visits to the destination.
The destination continued to create further buzz owing to the Authority’s vital mission to market St. Kitts effectively. The Authority recently hosted notable Canadian influencers and journalists, allowing them to immerse themselves in the island’s unique offerings. Their visit was heavily focused on marketing the destination from a romance and experiential standpoint, thus strengthening St. Kitts’ ability to cater to a wide array of guest needs. Visiting journalists and influencers represented critically acclaimed publications such as Vita Daily, TheKit, Divine, CHCH TV Morning Live, CITY-TV, Toronto Star Newspaper, Washington Post Newspaper, Travel & Leisure Magazine, and Elle Canada Magazine.
“St. Kitts very recently gained the title as the buzziest Caribbean destination as per Caribbean Journal’s recent ranking. In light of this, the Authority must continue implementing robust marketing initiatives to improve the destination’s current repertoire further. By hosting influencers, journalists, and media with an impressive social following, influence, and engagement analytics, we are actively allowing St. Kitts to gain excellent coverage and visibility in our source markets. The ultimate goal is St. Kitts’ global profile, thus increasing travel to the island,” shared Mr. Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, CEO at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority.
|The quest to build brand awareness and reengage the trade continued in England, where Minister Henderson led a delegation for the return of the UK roadshow, which promised multiple travel trade events from November 21-25, 2022. As part of the destination’s renewed efforts to engage with the UK travel trade post-COVID, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, in collaboration with the Nevis Tourism Authority, gathered agents and tour operators and hosted dinners at various premium venues to promote the destination. Minister Henderson and executives at the Authority also met with British Airways Holidays to discuss airlift and marketing opportunities for 2023 and beyond.
To culminate an exciting month for the industry, the Authority will execute a beautification project at Independence Square. Trees nestled in the square will be adorned with festive Christmas lights as the destination ventures deeper into the holiday season.
|Further to more exciting news for the destination, we are also excited to share the numerous nominations St. Kitts has received in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards. Please find St. Kitts’ nominations below:
Best Caribbean Rum Distillery: Brinley Gold Shipwreck Best Caribbean Attraction: Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Romney Manor St. Kitts Scenic Railway Voting is open now through 19 December. Participants are allowed to vote once a day in each category. VOTE NOW at: https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/
Tourism in St. Kitts continues to punch above its weight and will continue to refine, redevelop, and renew its approach to remain competitive within the global market.