CHARLESTOWN: Tourism officials on Nevis will continue to market the island as a small luxury cruise destination but will not make further investments to expand cruise facilities.
Deputy Premier of Nevis and Minister of Tourism, Mark Brantley, made the announcement while speaking to the Department of Information last week, following his return from the Sea Trade Cruise Conference in Miami.
“We do not have any intentions to build any cruise facilities in Nevis, spend multi millions of dollars on that,” said Brantley. “We feel that our focus is still predominantly land-based tourism but where we can access either day trippers from St. Kitts or alternatively we can access the small high end cruises. That is certainly the way that we wish to go.”
Brantley said the decision to not expand cruise facilities was a factor in holding meetings with officials from the Azamara and Windstar cruise lines.
“What we are saying is that we can facilitate and market ourselves to the small cruise ships,” he said. “Windstar for example has a capacity of only 308 passengers and that type of capacity, that’s what we are looking for. The higher end more expensive cruises, if you will, the kind of clientele would appreciate what Nevis has to offer.”
Brantley said both cruise lines were receptive to the idea of overnighting in St. Kitts & Nevis instead of visiting, spending some hours and departing the destination.
“One of the things that we stressed and I was very pleased that both Azamara and Windstar were receptive to is the idea that they ought to overnight in St. Kitts & Nevis,” he said. “So rather than coming in and spending just a few hours, they will overnight here. We have been promoting St. Kitts & Nevis as a sort of Ying and Yang of the Tourism Industry, offering two islands very close together, two destinations very close together but, at the same time, offering such a difference in product and they really felt excited about that possibility.”
Brantley said the benefits of the cruise liners overnighting include affording guests the opportunity to experience the destination intimately and increase economic activity.
“We figure that would be a good thing because it affords them the opportunity to take advantage of our very world class restaurants that we have here on the island of Nevis,” he said. “So we are trying if you will to expand the amount of time that the visitors are here and by so doing, hopefully that can lead to greater economic activity for the people.”