St. Kitts – Nevis Tourism Forges Ahead Despite Economy

St. Kitts - Nevis Flag

Islands Offers Special Value-Added Program

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
January 20, 2009

St. Kitts – Nevis remains on target to fulfill its long-term plan for the sustainable development of its tourism sector with various projects that continue to move forward, even within the context of the current global economic climate. Both domestic and foreign sources continue to invest in the islands tourism product, as evidenced by the number of key projects citing marked advancements.

Research has shown that people around the world still want to travel to destinations that offer authentic experiences, a rich heritage and a lush, natural setting in order to restore their sense of balance and well being through interaction with another culture, said Senator Ricky Skerritt, Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism, Sports & Culture. This will not change, no matter how bad the economic conditions may be. Therefore, now is the time to move confidently forward with an aggressive, positive approach to tourism development and promotion that will see us through this difficult time and lead us into a bright future for tourism. Kitittians are a resilient, passionate people and will not allow an economic downturn to stand in the way of the pursuit of our goals.

Among the new resort developments, notable progress has been demonstrated at the following properties:

Christophe Harbour  Nearly $100 million in Founders sales commitments have been procured with nearly $40 million from homesite sales and mega-yacht marina slip commitments alone. More than $60 million in reservations with $150,000 to $200,000 deposits have been entered for single family villas on the oceanfront at Majors Bay, which fronts the beach where the Mandarin Oriental St. Kitts hotel is planned to open in 2011. It should also be noted that 1 in every 3 clients targeted by the developer have already indicated that they were considering St. Kitts as a place to do business and to purchase vacation homes.

Marriotts St. Kitts Beach Club  Since its opening in 2007, the Vacation Club has brought an additional 13,000 new visitors to the island. Further, an additional 22 two- and three-bedroom units have opened this month, bringing the total number of villas to 66 with another 22 units planned for the future.

Oceans Edge Resort  Sixteen Hillside apartments are now complete and a further 14 are scheduled for completion with construction of the beachfront apartments and several villas also well underway. Several of the completed apartments are already being rented out through the propertys interim rental/management program, which provides services to owners whose properties are completed prior to the resort operator commencing. This program is helping to fill a growing demand for rental accommodation, particularly for long-term stays. In addition, Savills, a leading global real estate provider listed on the London Stock Exchange, has been appointed as the international agents to sell and market Oceans Edge.

Further confidence in and commitment to St. Kitts growing tourism product has also been made by British Airways, which began its new Saturday weekly service between Londons Gatwick Airport and St. Kitts on January 10, 2009, further increasing airlift into the destination. In North America, American Airlines has shown similar allegiance to St. Kitts, by increasing its non-stop service to St. Kitts from Miami from 5 flights a week to a daily flight beginning November 3, 2008. Furthermore, Delta Air Lines executed the seasonal reinstatement of its Atlanta non-stop weekly service to St. Kitts starting November 1, 2008.

St. Kitts has been selected to host two 3-day preparation warm-up matches beginning January 25 and 29 for the England cricket team in advance of their first Test Match against the West Indies in Jamaica on February 4, 2009. To bring the England cricket team to island, Virgin Atlantic has scheduled a special flag stop on St. Kitts on January 21, 2009.

In the spirit of getting going when the going gets tough, the island hotels have banded together to launch the Feel the Warmth in St. Kitts & Nevis offer to help draw tourists in the challenging economic climate. This destination-wide value added program offers up to 35% combined air and hotel savings plus additional discounts on various island attractions and activities to encourage visitors to venture out of their hotels and more fully experience the island.

Finally, looking forward to summer tourist arrivals, St. Kitts has already begun ramp-up for the 13th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival, which is held over 3 nights each June and historically attracts a large number of visitors. Dates for this years Festival have been set for June 25  27, 2009 and confirmed artists will be announced over the next few months.

St. Kitts & Nevis is served non-stop daily from Miami by American Airlines. It is also served non-stop by American Airlines from New Yorks JFK International Airport, by Delta Air Lines from Atlanta and by US Airways from Charlotte. Additionally, travelers can connect via San Juan on American Eagle. Regional air carriers include Windward Island Airways (WinAir) and LIAT with connections over St. Maarten, Antigua and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destinations natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history. The islands stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the islands sugar plantations, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean, and the more traditional vacation pastimes such as watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at one of St. Kitts two casinos or simply relaxing on one of the islands sandy beaches. Guests can select from accommodations ranging from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels or resorts.

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