Basseterre, St. Kitts Nevis
December 11, 2007 (CUOPM)
Despite a near six percent decline in cruise ship passengers, expenditure by cruise ship passengers in 2006 increased from EC$19.5 million to EC$19.9 million.
Delivering the 2008 Budget Address in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Prime Minister Douglas, who is also Minister of Finance, said expenditure by stay-over visitors reached EC$10.9 million in 2006.
Dr. Douglas, who is also the Minister of Finance, said economic growth in St. Kitts and Nevis over the last decade has been increasingly based on the continual improvement of the tourism product.
He said that the tourism sector’s significant and growing contribution to GDP through visitor expenditure, foreign exchange earnings, and employment generation is critical to the continued progress of the twin-island Federation.
Dr. Douglas said that in 2006, the Tourism Sector continued to record significant growth and to make a substantial contribution to economic activity.
“Specifically, stay-over arrivals in the Federation increased by 6.2% from 127,728 visitors in 2005 to 135,691 visitors in 2006. More importantly, this has resulted in a direct increase in expenditure by stay-over visitors of $10.9 million or 4.6%,” said Dr. Douglas.
The Prime Minister, who is also Minister of Finance, disclosed that although cruise passenger arrivals to the Federation declined by 5.7 percent from 215,351 in 2005 to 203,075 in 2006, onshore expenditure by cruise ship passengers increased from EC$19.5 million in 2005 to EC$19.9 million in 2006 caused by an increase in per capita expenditure.
Dr. Douglas said that this is clearly a sign of success for his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Government’s strategy to create more shopping and other activities for cruise passengers and this trend is expected to continue in 2007 and beyond.
“We also expect significant growth in the Cruise Tourism Sector in the upcoming season. The current itinerary for cruise ship arrivals in our Federation suggests that we could reach record levels of passenger arrivals in 2008,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He noted that tourism is a dynamic industry which has become globally competitive in every respect, with travellers having more leisure options available at better prices than ever before.
“Consequently, it has been necessary for our Federation to engage focused strategic planning with a view to enhancing our competitiveness in the global tourism marketplace and attracting more visitors. Indeed in last year’s budget address I reported that my Government had carried out a strategic planning exercise for the Tourism Sector and I outlined the overriding objectives of the Strategic Plan. This year, I am pleased to report that we are already making progress in implementing the Strategic Plan,” said Dr. Douglas.