Revetment of Bulkhead Saved Port Zante…Boots Cruise Tourism

Upgraded Bulkhead At Port Zante

Upgraded Bulkhead At Port Zante
Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
December 2009 (CUOPM)

The redesigning of the berthing facility at Port Zante and the revetment of the bulkhead by the St. Kitts-Nevis Government not only saved Port Zante, but also secured the future of the cruise ship industry.

Upon taking office in July 1995, the reclamation and the construction of two piers were underway, but the poor design led to the destruction of the piers by Hurricane Georges in 1998. It was rebuilt and destroyed in 1999 and destroyed again in November that same year by Hurricane Lenny.  There was also no local financing in place for the construction of buildings.

It was back in service in 2002 with the allocation by Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas of millions of dollars for its redesign and the implementation of a massive revetment programme that saw huge boulders placed on the eastern and western sections to protect the bulkhead.

This activity secured the cruise ship facility at Port Zante which has become vital to the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis. The massive revetment project not only secured the reclaimed land but provided investor confidence in the protection of multi-million dollar buildings which have been constructed and are still under construction.

The revetment project has led to confidence in the infrastructure with the establishment of several shops including a casino, jewellry, electronic, perfume, and liquor stores and tourism-related services. This has attracted the confidence of the cruise lines and St. Kitts as a cruise destination.

For the 2009/2010 Cruise Ship Season over 500,000 cruise passengers are expected. An estimated 106,000 cruise ship passengers are expected to visit St. Kitts in December on board 30 ships from 46 ship calls.

Ships include the 2,500-passenger Serenade of the Seas, the 3,100-passenger Ventura and the 3,473-passenger Carnival Victory. The 2,681-passenger, Celebrity Mercury, the 1,692-passenger Ocean Village, the 308-passenger Windsurf, the 255-passenger Royal Clipper, the 2,450-passenger Millennium, and the 2,500-passenger Norwegian Dawn. The 2,680-passenger Carnival Miracle, the 2,850-passenger Celebrity Equinox, the 1,875-passenger Island Star, and the 2,850-passenger Celebrity Equinox.

Also the 1,976-passenger Oriana, the 2,446 passenger Grandeur of the Seas, Oceana, which carries 2,270 passengers, the 2,450-passenger Summit, the 708-passenger Seven Seas Voyager, 1,950-passenger Sea Princess, the 1,611-passenger Thomson Destiny and the 3,100-passenger Ruby Princess and its sister ship, the Grand Princess; the 69-passenger Sea Cloud, the 2,388-passenger Arcadia, the 200-passenger Seabourn Pride, the 3,840-passenger Explorer of the Seas and the 2,600-passenger Queen Mary.

St. Kitts has experienced growth of triple digit figures in its tourism industry between 2005/2006 and 2008/2009.

A recent Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association report found significant growth in passenger and crew arrivals and spending.

According to the study, total estimated passenger and crew visits increased by nearly 250 percent from 113,300 visits during the 2005/2006 cruise year to 388,400 during the 2008/2009 cruise year.

Total direct expenditures in St. Kitts increased even more dramatically growing by 550 percent from US$6.7 million in the 2005/2006 cruise year to US$44 million in the 2008/2009 cruise year.

It said cruise tourism expenditures increased among all groups, passengers, and crew and cruise lines.

The growth in passenger and crew expenditures in St. Kits was not only driven by the 250 percent increase in onshore visits, but also by the 73 percent increase in average passenger expenditures and a seven fold increase in the reported average crew expenditures.

“These are certainly significant increases and were among the largest estimated among those the 29 destinations that participated in both studies. The growth in per passenger expenditures varied across categories,” said the report.

For example, during the 2005/2006 cruise year, passengers who purchased jewelry spent an average of US$144. This average purchase value increased to US$319 during the 2008/2009 cruise year. In addition the percentage of passengers purchasing jewelry also increased from 17 percent to 25 percent.

In the case of visiting crew, the sharp increase in per crew spending is primarily due to an impressive increase in the percentage of crew reporting purchases in each category.

“In the 2006 study 34 percent of crew reported making an average purchase of US$23.20 for food and beverages. This increased to 42 percent reporting an average expenditure of US$36.40 at restaurants and bars in the current study,” said the report.

Similar increases in the percentage of crew making purchases were reported in most categories.

As a result of the 250 percent increase in direct cruise tourism expenditures from the 2005/2006 cruise year for St. Kitts, the economic impacts increased as well.

The total employment impact increased by 268 percent over the three-year period, while the wage impact increased by 295 percent. The higher growth in wages is due to increased labor productivity and average wages over the intervening period.

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