BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, NOVEMBER 13TH 2006 (CUOPM)
Hotel developer Val Kempadoo says the future development of the Caribbean is inextricably linked to the tourism and hospitality sector.
Speaking at the International Media Launch and Cocktail Reception of the multi-million dollar Kittitian Heights Resorts at the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Sunday evening, Mr. Kempadoo said the role of the tourism and hospitality sector is more important with the demise of the large-scale agricultural industry in the region and the closure of the 350-year-old sugar industry in St. Kitts last year.
He said that the current resort models in the Caribbean, while commercially successful, do not address the significant impact that tourism has on the social and cultural fabric of small island states. “As the tourism sector rapidly expands in the region it is imperative that new business models be created that address these critical areas in a truly sustainable manner,” said Kempadoo, whose Kittitian Heights Resort is a five star, luxury spa and golf resort that represents a new business paradigm.
“Kittitian Heights seeks to move away from the “gated or all-inclusive” resort model by embracing the local community. This means no gates, no fences and a genuine interaction between guest and community,” said Kempadoo, to the large audience including the international media at the World Heritage Site.
He said that the pioneering US$360 million dollar development is an Artists Village ““ a creative facility that will engage the local, regional and international artistic community through a series of initiatives and events and provide a vibrant and dynamic core to the community, where residents and guests can experience an authentic and contemporary Caribbean experience.
Mr. Kempadoo disclosed that the Kittitian Heights Foundation will be established using a percentage of the proceeds from the real-estate sales and ongoing profits from the resort’s operations. The Foundation’s mission will be to promote the integration and sustainable development of the Caribbean by supporting local and regional arts and culture and the nurturing of micro-entrepreneurs in sustainable industries.
The Artist’s Residency Programme funded by the Foundation will offer a two-month residency, for local, regional and international Artists in the visual arts, music, and literature. Artists will exhibit their work in the resort and participate in workshops for young Kittitians.
A state-of-the-art multi-media lab in the Artist’s Village will be developed in conjunction with international partners. It will encompass Music, Video, New Media, Digital Film and Television.
An annual festival will be developed as a major calendar event. The festival will include Film & New-Media, Story Telling, Literary Readings, Art Exhibitions, Musical performances, Conferences and Workshops.
The Art Gallery at Kittitian Heights will establish an ongoing programme of curating paintings from local and regional artists for display and sale in the villas, condominiums and public spaces. The resort will also adopt a policy of commissioning works of art from an established network of Caribbean Artists for the boutique hotel rooms.
Artisans from the St. Kitts and the Caribbean in the fields of fine art, jewelry making and printmaking and will be encouraged to set up workshops in the Artists Village. Offering for sale, original works to the guests and visitors as they wander through the Artist’s Village.
The Boutique Cottage Hotel will be integrated into the Artist’s Village and constantly seek to embrace the philosophy of resort by reexamining standard hotel practices. For example the staff lunch room, normally a behind the scenes affair, will be made into a restaurant serving local cuisine for staff, artists, resort guests and the public. And yes, our hotel bar will be an authentic Kittitian Rum shop.
“Also funded by the Foundation, the Sustainable Development Programme will include; the Hospitality Institute, which will train local persons in the various hospitality trades and an Agriculture Support Programme which will work with the local farming community in the selection of suitable crops and farming techniques; including the promotion of organic farming and assist in direct marketing to Kittitian Heights and other resorts,” said Kempadoo.
He said that the Internet Access Programme will assist interested young people in the village communities to get online with the provision of computers and broadband access.
The Business Development Programme will assist small business owners or budding entrepreneurs to correctly identify business opportunities and offer training in business management.
Mr. Kempadoo said that the Kittitian Heights has received permission from the Government to develop alternative energy sources for the resort. A Pre-feasibility study is underway for the development of an off-site wind farm to supply some of the resort’s energy requirements.
The luxury, destination spa will promote a number of programmes for the mind body and soul of the resort guests. It will have a palette of treatments drawn from the practices, rituals, and medicines of the indigenous peoples of the region. A first of its kind.
The Ian Woosnam designed; championship golf course will be a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Programme. An award winning education and certification program that helps golf course resorts protect the environment. The course will be open to the public and have a training programme for young persons from the area that are interested in learning the game.
“Kittitian Heights, with it’s five-star boutique hotel, well appointed villas, destination spa, condominiums, and championship golf course represents luxury living with a difference. A difference that reflects the growing sensibilities of the world we live in today,” said Kempadoo.