Marriott Residences – St. Kitts, WI
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
October 18, 2015 (SKNIS)
St. Kitts and Nevis will grow its hotel room stock by 50% within the next 24 months, Minister of Tourism, Honourable Lindsay Grant has disclosed.
The current hotel stock of St. Kitts and Nevis stands at about 1300 rooms, 1000 in St. Kitts and 300 in Nevis. Speaking on the government’s weekly radio program “Working for You” on October 14, Mr. Grant listed a number of new hotels that are coming on stream within the next two years including the Park Hyatt Hotel, the Embassy Suites, Radisson and Koi Resorts. The Park Hyatt Hotel, he noted, being constructed in Banana Bay, is the first and only Park Hyatt Brand hotel in the Caribbean. The Park Hyatt is scheduled to be opened in September 2016, adding 136 rooms to the hotel stock of St. Kitts and Nevis. Koi Resorts is expected to contribute another 226 rooms when it opens in the latter part of 2017. A similar number of rooms will also come through the construction of the Radisson Hotel, some 226. The Embassy Suites is also expected to open in 2017.
While the increase in hotel stock is welcome, the tourism minister expressed reservations about the readiness of the workforce to capitalize on the many offerings that will become available when the new hotels are completed. The minister noted that 1500 jobs will become available and its time now to train the workforce to take up those jobs.
“We are in the advanced stage of instituting a hospitality school in St. Kitts, what we call a school of excellence and this school of excellence is going to have to train the entire industry, the entire tourism industry of St. Kitts and Nevis. It’s going to train the bartenders, it’s going to train the waiters, it’s going to train the receptionist, it’s going to train the chef, the persons (in charge of) the pools, the landscapers, front of the house, back of the house, it’s going to (train) the taxi drivers, the vendors, the store owners, the storekeepers””it’s going be a full blown, full scale school of excellence,” Mr. Grant said. The school he said will attract regional attention and it is his intention, during his tenure, to see this school become a model of hospitality training in the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, the minister lamented that the People Empowerment Program (PEP), implemented by the previous administration, has not done enough to train persons to fill positions in the tourism sector, especially to fill the new stock of rooms coming on stream. Mr. Grant was responding to a concern raised by a caller on the radio program about the PEP and he said the PEP would be reformed to address this demand.