CHARLESTOWN: Acting Premier of Nevis and Senior Minister responsible for Social Development, Mark Brantley, says he hopes that the island will experience a successful 2013/14 tourist season.
“All indications are that we are going to have a bumper season this year,” said Brantley, who is also Minister of Tourism. “We hope that our promotions will pay off, we’re getting indications that bookings are up and we are seeing some new things.”
Brantley also addressed expectations in the cruise sector and the efforts of the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) to generate more tourism activity on the island for the tourism season, which begins in mid-November and concludes in April.
“I am very happy to report that Windstar will be coming back to Nevis this season,” he said. “Seabourn and Club Med are both coming back to Nevis this season and the Azamara which made one call last season, will now be making four calls this season. The Azamara Quest, which is the sister ship to the Azamara Journey, will be making its inaugural call to Nevis and so we are looking forward to much more activity at our port in terms of our cruise tourism.”
Brantley said the island has focused on cruise tourism in an effort to entice visitors to the destination as stay over guests.
“We use cruise in Nevis as a gateway and our hope is that people who come on cruises would want to come back and stay as land-based visitors because all the statistics show that the land-based tourism is really the sector that generates the most revenue,” he said.
Brantley said that apart from the cruise sector, the Ministry of Tourism was working to secure more flights into Vance Amory International Airport.
“I am also happy to report that through the efforts of this administration, we now have increased airlifts at the Vance Amory Airport,” he said. “We couldn’t allow the current situation where the airport was not being utilized enough to continue.”
Brantley also commented on the NIA’s intention to launch additional activities on the island for visitors to boost tourism activity during the season.
“We also have a new helicopter service based in St. Kitts but we’ve given them rights to land in Nevis,” he said. “That helicopter service is going to be doing some aerial tours but also be available in case of emergencies, of course. So we are happy that that is a new development, a novelty development.”
Brantley said the NIA remained hopeful for the upcoming tourism season and that it would benefit all stakeholders in the industry.
“We are very excited about the new season,” he said. “We are looking forward so far for our effort this year bearing fruit. Of course, tourism at the end of the day is all about building our people, making sure that our stakeholders, our taxi drivers, our restaurateurs, the people working in our hotel sector, the people who work in farming and agriculture can benefit from it.”