St. Kitts – Nevis Government To Focus on Tourism

Taxi Drivers At Port Zante Await Tourists

Taxi Drivers At Port Zante Await Tourists
Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
January 01, 2010 (CUOPM)

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said his government’s immediate priority must be the continued implementation of its programme aimed at maintaining financial and economic stability.

In his message to the Nation on Friday to usher in a New Year and new decade, Prime Minister Douglas said the recent Christmas bonuses including public sector double salary paid to workers injected new life into the local economy and brought relief to workers and of the many retailers who benefited from increased sales.

“However, we must continue the implementation of the successful YES programme that not only boosted growth and employment, but has taken many of our young people from the streets and has provided them a range of skills that will enhance their capacity to provide services and earn income over the long-term,” said Dr. Douglas.

He spoke of the need for continued collaboration with the other Governments of the OECS through the ECCB and the upcoming OECS Economic Union to implement the 8-point stabilisation, growth and development programme.

“We will collaborate further and to tighten the regulation of our financial system to ensure that our investors and depositors are afforded greater protection and that unsavoury situations such as the British American Insurance Company fiasco would have virtually no chance of recurring in St. Kitts and Nevis or any other OECS country,” said Dr. Douglas.

He noted that even as his ruling St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Government focuses on issues relating to the short-term stability and the impact of the global financial crisis, it must ensure that the long-term competitiveness and capacity for sustainable growth are not compromised.

“We must therefore continue to invest heavily in the infrastructure that supports economic activity. In this regard, we are pleased that the West Basseterre Bypass Road, which was recently completed, will contribute to national productivity by reducing traffic congestion in Basseterre and by giving our people and enterprises enhanced access to the airport, seaport and to the undeveloped lands in Olivees, Dewars and Shadwell areas,” said Dr. Douglas.

Government will also boost capacity to welcome more tourists by building a new cruise Pier at Port Zante as part of the redevelopment of the Basseterre Waterfront through the Burlington Development Project.

He noted that in a few short years and under his leadership cruise passenger arrivals has reached half million and within the next two to three years this number is expected to increase to over 1 million by building a new cruise ship pier, and investing even more heavily in marketing and product development.

“Stay-over visitors will continue to be our main focus. We are therefore pleased that our efforts to improve airlift are bearing fruit and that a number of the major airlines including Delta and British Airways are expanding their services to St. Kitts and Nevis. We will continue to beautify our Federation including the major tourist areas and we will implement a project to rehabilitate and resurface the Sir Kennedy Simmonds Highway and to improve the safety of passengers travelling on this highway by securing the hillsides through slope stabilization aimed at minimizing the likelihood of rock fall or landslides,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who added that in the years ahead, “community tourism will occupy a place of increasing importance within the industry since the purpose of tourism is not merely to welcome visitors, but also to enhance the socio-economic prospects of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.”

Dr. Douglas said the aim is to ensure that more tourism-related activities take place in the communities and help to re-energize community life especially in those villages that were affected most by closure of the sugar industry.

He said that the participation of an increasing range of local entrepreneurs within the industry is of special importance to the Government since tourism must be seen as an important avenue of economic empowerment for people.

He said in the quest to promote greater economic vibrancy in the communities, it is intended to foster strong economic linkages between the tourism sector and agriculture.

“Our aim is to promote food security and to grow the food we require to feed our people and our many visitors, and to expand our exports to neighbouring islands where this is feasible. We view the agricultural sector as critical to our programmes of entrepreneurship development, export capacity generation, and rural development. We will therefore continue to support the development of the agricultural sector through the provision of advanced training of extension officers, the scientific forecasting of market needs for the benefit of farmers, the coordination of farm supply, the drilling of wells and the provision of expanded water catchments and storage for irrigation purposes, the expansion of feeder roads, the provision of targeted incentives and assistance aimed at attracting more entrepreneurs into farming, and the continued collaboration with international agencies to secure more technical assistance and training for our farmers,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

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