Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
December 11 2007 (CUOPM)
There is now a discernable positive buzz about St. Kitts and Nevis in the travel and tourism markets of England, Canada and the United States.
“The tremendous international exposure obtained by our hosting of Cricket World Cup in March this year, coupled with several public relations initiatives since, has resulted in our destination’s image receiving a significant upward bounce,” said St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.
He noted that more than thirty (30) travel media visits have taken place in St. Kitts since the March 2007 Cricket World Cup and this is the highest ever number of media visits to St. Kitts in one year, generating media exposure for both St. Kitts and Nevis in more than one hundred and fifty (150) outlets in targeted geographic and demographic markets, including world class publications such as The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, CondÃ© Nast Traveler, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio and Islands Magazine.
Prime Minister Douglas, who is also the Minister of Finance said it was not by accident that the prestigious Islands Magazine voted St. Kitts earlier this year one of the “20 Best Islands to Live On.”
He said that in discussing the island’s current transition away from sugar and into hospitality and tourism, Northeast Dive News says, “Environmental issues and protecting the island’s culture and history factor high in the plan.”
About.com recently declared Brimstone Hill Fortress “One of the Seven Man-Made Wonders of the Caribbean.”
Regarding St. Kitts’ Scenic Railway, The Cleveland Plain Dealer stated: “Its appeal reaches beyond railway buffs to captivate those seeking a genuine scenic or historic tour.”
Talking about the island’s several new investments and developments, The Wall Street Journal noted that St. Kitts is “clearly establishing itself as a future high-end destination” and Travel & Leisure magazine featured our island as “Where to Go Next” in a story entitled, “St. Kitts: Paradise Found.”
“Madame Speaker, when in 2004 we took the bold and visionary decision to bid for Cricket World Cup venue status in an event to be held three years later, without even having a stadium in place, it was a most significant and timely expression of my Government’s commitment to invest further in our local sporting infrastructure as well as to create the opportunity for a more significant and international Sports Tourism sector,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who is also the Minister of Sports.
He disclosed that along with the 11% increase in visitor arrivals in March 2007 and the unusually high hotel occupancy generated during that month, it is clear to that the recent announcement that the Australia Cricket Team will spend a week in St. Kitts in July as part of their 2008 West Indies Tour, is further evidence of the legacy benefit of the involvement in the Cricket World Cup earlier this year.
Dr. Douglas said that the decision of his St. Kitts – Nevis labour Government to bid in 2005 for the hosting the 2008 CARIFTA GAMES, was another major step to the attainment of making St. Kitts and Nevis one of the important sports tourism destinations in the region.
He said that the soon to be completed new $14 Million Bird Rock Athletics Stadium, which, like the new Warner Park Stadium, has been designed to optimise the cost of construction, minimize the cost of future maintenance, and at the same time, to take full account of the environmental needs of the surrounding community including the need for the structures to be aesthetically appealing.
“We believe that, in the same vein as the Warner Park project, the Bird Rock facility is a timely investment in the future development of our young local athletes and in our capacity to offer sports tourism facilities and services to potential visitors from all over the world,” said Dr. Douglas.