CHARLESTOWN: The Nevis Island Administration’s Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with its stakeholders, plans to meet with cruise line executives in the U.S. in an effort to increase cruise ship visits to Nevis.
The announcement was made by tourism advisor, Alistair Yearwood, during an address to a taxi training seminar at the Cotton Ground Community Centre last week.
Yearwood said Premier of Nevis and Minister of Tourism, Joseph Parry, will soon lead a delegation to the U.S. to meet with executives of five cruise lines. The Ministry will also be working with the private sector and the Port Authority in its efforts to attract cruise ships to Nevis.
“I am pretty sure we will increase the number of ship visits to Nevis this season,” said Yearwood.
According to Yearwood, the island’s facilities could not facilitate boats which carried over 1,000 passengers. As a result, the Ministry is seeking to attract smaller cruise lines.
“The idea is to start getting those Holland America boats which come in with 700-800 (passengers). They also tend to be people who spend actually more money because the smaller cruise ships attract a demographic with a higher disposable income.
“The Carnivals (Carnival Cruise Lines) of this world bring thousands of people but the individuals tend not to spend as much money as those on the smaller cruise ships. It does mean that you have a higher end client which means you have to deliver a higher end product,” said Yearwood.
During the seminar, Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Carl Williams, told the taxi and tour operators present that the upcoming tourist season should be better than the previous one.
“A number of high end cruises are expected to visit our shores this cruise season. I think one of these is the Chrystal Cruise Line. These are small ships with capacity of maybe 500 persons.
“However, you may think that the capacity as compared to other ships is very small. This cruise line caters to the wealthy traveller and they do not like a lot of congestion. So Nevis is one of the destinations which they are favouring,” said Williams.
Williams said the Ministry was working to ensure that the taxi and tour operators are on the cutting edge of their profession.
“Our competition is not here on Nevis, not among yourselves. The competition is with other destinations; whether they are having cheaper rates or maybe better places to visit we don’t know. Therefore, if you are to be on the cutting edge of your profession, you have to ensure that visitor satisfaction and personal experience are of such that will ensure that these guests would want to return again and again.
“Thus the training you would receive at this seminar is extremely vital to your operations and it is our belief and our hope that that you will embrace it and make good use of your presence here,” said Williams.