British Airways Counter In St. Kitts
Photo By Erasmus Williams
August 17, 2009
Nevis has been benefitting from increased airlift into St. Kitts and Nevis, since the introduction of direct flights from the United Kingdom.
Tourism Advisor to the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Mr. Alistair Yearwood told the Department of Information in a recent interview, that the impact of British Airways (BA) into the Federation since its introduction earlier this year has been unmistakable.
“Has it been a success? Yes it has been. The information I have is the allocation of seats on the plane into St. Kitts have been filled. The flight is shared with Antigua because it goes London Antigua St. Kitts. St. Kitts Antigua back to London”in Nevis we are definitely benefiting from it especially in the summer months because the British travellers tend to vacation in the summer.
“Speaking with some of the small hoteliers, they are noticing the British guests coming in. So it’s having a positive impact. Obviously, it will have a greater impact once the Four Seasons reopens in 2010,” he said.
According to Mr. Yearwood, prior to the introduction of the BA flight, St. Kitts and Nevis was serviced directly only through chartered flights from the United Kingdom.
The Tourism Advisor explained that the only direct flight to the Federation then came from chartered flights by Monarch, JMC and in the latter days Excel but these companies were not taken as seriously as bona fide scheduled airlines like BA.
“British Airways is probably the second largest airline in the world and so it automatically gives St. Kitts Nevis a bigger presence in the media, in the eyes of the travel industry because they don’t take charter airlines seriously whereas they will take the likes of British Airways, Delta, American Airlines and Virgin seriously.
“So it has definitely increased the profile, the physical presence of St. Kitts and Nevis in the UK market specifically,” he said.
Notwithstanding, Mr. Yearwood noted that though Nevis had been receiving a notable number of visitors from the United Kingdom market, the island also appealed to visitors from the United States of America and traditionally 65 percent of its visitors came from that part of the world.
He commented too on the increase of direct flights into St. Kitts and Nevis which he believes would have a positive impact on the island’s tourism product.
“We are in the midst of a recession and here you have Delta, the world’s largest airline, talking about putting on a second flight into RLB, that’s extraordinary.
“That’s only going to increase the accessibility of especially the Nevis tourism product because with the Delta flight, they have discovered with First Class – the higher end travellers – they are doing extremely well with that section and that section is mainly coming on to Nevis,” he said.
Mr. Yearwood further explained that there was a positive element involved with flying directly to the islands.
He said even though the flights were delayed, the guest would arrive in Nevis on the same night of their arrival at the airport in St. Kitts because there were a number of local water taxi operators who provided hotels on Nevis with their service.