The tourism sector in St Kitts and Nevis continued to record strong growth for the third successive year in 2005, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has reported.
It said that the growth in tourism was facilitated by favourable global economic performance, particularly the United States, and large tourism related development investments locally.
CDB said value-added in the tourism sector (hotels and restaurants) grew by an estimated at 10 per cent in 2005 compared with 32.6 per cent in the previous year.It added that the buoyancy of the tourism sector in St Kitts and Nevis was maintained by increased promotion and marketing of the destination, improvement in airlift to the Federation, and, higher room capacity.
According to the Barbados-based financial institution, the establishment of the Tourism Enhancement Fund “contributed significantly to expansion in market promotion and product development.”
St Kitts and Nevis, it said, was represented at major trade shows, particularly, in New York and London.
“Participation in trade shows was targeted at areas where there were direct flights to the Federation. Various training programmes were conducted during the year to improve service delivery in the tourism sector particularly for receptionists and taxi drivers,” said the CDB.
St Kitts and Nevis, said the Bank, has developed a niche for meeting/conference tourism with the hosting of several conferences and meetings during the year.
It said the success of St Kitts and Nevis as a destination was as a result of greater focus being placed on promoting romance (bridal market), dive and cultural tourism.
“Airlift to the Federation also improved during the year with the increase in direct flights from North America, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean as well as increased charters to the Federation,” said the CDB.
Increase in airlift to St Kitts and Nevis by American Airlines and U.S. Airways from North America and Excel from London-Gatwick contributed to the growth in stay-over arrivals.
The occupancy levels at the Royal St Kitts Marriott Beach Resort increased during the 2005 and there was upgrade and expansion of other hotel properties including the Ocean Terrace Inn, Sugar Bay Club and Bird Rock Beach Hotel.
It reported that despite an almost similar number of calls, the cruise ship/yacht arrivals declined during 2005.