Dancing masqueraders welcome visitors arriving at RLB International Airport.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — St. Kitts and Nevis continues to experience increased visitor arrivals according to the latest statistics revealed by the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA).

Speaking at his Jan. 16 monthly press conference, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said that, “some 149,871 passengers came through the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw (RLB) International Airport in 2018, compared to 140,338 in 2017.”

According to SCASPA, “this represents an additional 9,533 passengers over 2017 for a 7 percent increase year on year.”

Additionally, there has been an upsurge in flights coming into the RLB Airport.

“Some 7,947 flights came to the RLB Airport in 2018 – up 315 over the 7632 flights in 2017,” the prime minister said.

Furthermore, cruise tourism continues to boom, necessitating a second cruise pier at Port Zante, which is presently being constructed. This pier will be able to accommodate two Oasis-class cruise ships.

“Regarding cruise tourism, SCASPA reports cruise passenger arrivals of 1,103,571 in 2018 versus 1,058,662 cruise passengers in 2017. This represents an increase of 44,909 passengers,” Prime Minister Harris reported. “Twice in our history – and only under Team Unity, we have passed the one millionth cruise passenger milestone. Congratulations to all stakeholders in the industry and to the Honourable Lindsay Grant, our Minister of Tourism.”

On Jan. 5, RLB Airport broke records with the most passenger arrivals in any given day in its history when 2,728 passengers travelled though the airport.

Prime Minister Harris said in 20 years, there has been no major expansion at the airport but with record-breaking arrivals, this must now be considered. He said a factor is “record-breaking arrivals, the increase in airlifts and new destinations from which we now access direct flights.”

“Our Administration must seriously determine the next steps in the modernization and expansion of the RLB Airport,” Dr. Harris said. “In the interim, the St. Christopher Air and Seaport Authority (SCASPA) and related Departments such as Tourism, Immigration and Customs will work cooperatively with other stakeholders to determine and implement measures to enhance the customer experience at the RLB Airport,” Prime Minister Harris said.