October 27, 2007
In keeping with the Nevis Reformation Party’s manifesto promise to enhance the Tourism market in Nevis, Premier of Nevis, Hon. Joseph Parry is taking important measures to develop the cruise industry on the island.
In a recent Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Conference held from October 8-12, 2007, in Cozumel, Mexico. Mr. Parry was accompanied by Permanent Secretary in Tourism, Mr. Tyrone O’Flaherty, Advisor to Tourism, Mr. Alistair Yearwood and Ministry of Tourism officer, Miss Nicole Liburd.
The Premier and the Nevis delegation had formal meetings with Carnival, Norwegian, Regent Seven Seas and Princess Cruise Lines. Afterwards, informal meetings were held with Holland- America and Windstar Cruises.
“Many cruise executives were unaware of Nevis’ ability to handle any form of Cruise industry because Nevis does not have berthing facilities, but it is important to note that the Cayman islands also does not have such facilities and continues to do very well in the cruise industry,” says Mr. Yearwood.Invitations have been extended to the various cruise lines, inviting them for a familiarisation trip to Nevis. Each cruise representative will be able to enjoy a tailor made visit with port officials, ground handlers and activity specialists. “The reputation of Nevis as a tranquil, friendly, high-end destination is well known and it is important for us to educate them to the knowledge that Nevis continues to be a welcoming cruise destination that is ready for business” says Miss Liburd.
Mr. Parry was also very pleased to state that the development of the cruise industry in Nevis will now take a new turn. “The cruise industry will no longer be the business of the Nevis Tourism Authority, but will now become the duties of the Ministry of Tourism.”
While at the conference, Mr. Parry was able to network and make strong contacts. He also had discussions with Minister of State in St.Kitts, Hon. Ricky Skerritt on how a ferry service can be used to bring visitors to Nevis. St. Kitts is anticipating a bumper cruise ship season, expecting over 400,000 cruise ship passengers for the 2007/2008 season. Minister Skerritt and Premier Parry have proposed to run tours to Nevis so that Nevis can benefit from this increased cruise activity. Premier Parry stated that follow up discussions to this meeting with Minister Skerritt will be taking place soon, to discuss other innovative ideas to enhance the cruise industry in Nevis.
“In the short term, we have to look at tapping into the increasing cruise ship numbers arriving into St.Kitts and in the long term we have to rebuild the numbers of direct cruise ship visits into Nevis” says Mr. Yearwood.
As part of the cruise development in Nevis, the Ministry of Tourism will train young people to enter ancillary activities associated with cruise tourism and enhance such sites as the Nevis heritage village.
Overall Premier Parry said the FCCA conference was very productive, however Nevis will not feel the positive impact for 2-3 years because the itinerary’s for the ships call is put together up to the year 2009.
Meanwhile, the FCCA invited students in FCCA partner destinations in the Caribbean to participate in the FCCA Foundation Children’s Essay Contest. The topic of this year’s Essay Competition was “If I were a Cruise passenger, what would I like to see or do in my country?”
Eleven year old Miss Christina Ram of the Charlestown Primary school attended the conference with her chaperones, as she was declared the winner in the Junior Division of the FCCA Essay Competition.
Part of the overall prize of the competition, is the fact that the winner and the school of the winner would also receive a check of US$3000.
At the opening of the ceremony, winning prizes were presented by Chairman of the FCCA, Mr. Micky Arison to Miss Ram and Mr. Parry who accepted the prize on the schools behalf.