Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 18, 2023 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, in its efforts to further bolster the tourism industry, will make a shift in its approach towards the sector.
Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Marsha Henderson, while speaking on day three (3) of the 2024 Budget Debate in the National Assembly on December 18, said that, “For too long, our primary focus has been on the sheer number of visitors which can be at the expense of the overall quality of the experiences and the economic benefits to our people. We must recognise the true measure of success in tourism lies not just in quantity alone but in quality of their experiences and the economic value they bring.”
Furthermore, the minister said recent data have shown that a sheer increase in the number of vessels that visit our shores does not translate to an overall increase in passengers. She said, “What we realized notwithstanding the number of calls being less than what we had last year, we had an increase in visitors based on the size of the ships,” she said.
Minister Henderson explained that a comparative study was undertaken based on slow and busy days, and what was realized was that the quality and types of jobs dispatched on the slow day were of greater value and resulted in an overall greater earning for the operations over the busier day.
“The overall value of the jobs dispatched was even higher on a day when there were more jobs dispatched where the focus was on quantity and so we understand that to increase the visitor spend, the focus should be on attracting quality and luxury vessels so that we can have more spend per visitor.”
The Honourable Minister added that a recent development programme undertaken by the United Nations explained that “The St. Kitts volume-driven strategy is incompatible with what we are trying to achieve in the sustainable tourism agenda.”
In this regard, Minister Henderson said the Ministry of Tourism will align key performance indicators to reflect the new focus on quality over quantity in the upcoming year