St. Kitts is on track to host more than a million cruise ship passengers during the tourist season, with 115 port calls and 300,000 visitors so far in December alone with 10 ships visiting the Federation on Christmas and Boxing day according to the St. Kitts and Nevis Tourist Authority.
And the service rendered the visiting cruise ships has been commended by Tourism Minister Lindsay Grant. Speaking to media representatives he indicated the kind of traffic seen on those days will be the new standard with impressive numbers during the peak season.
“What you saw on Christmas Day and Boxing Day will be the new norm in St. Kitts and Nevis. We have thousands arriving on our shores every day during the peak of the season. What we have to do is make sure that we are ready to receive those visitors,” Grant said.
The Tourism Minster explained the ships on those days challenged the Federation to be ready with their customer service and product and to engage the tourists..
“We have worked long and hard to ensure we get these numbers we are getting now and so now the challenge now for us is to make sure that we can maintain that and make it sustainable.”
He added that officials at the Ministry of Tourism and the St. Kitts Tourism Authority try their best are grateful that while there were thousands of revellers in Basseterre there were also thousands coming from the cruise ships as well.
Grant hailed the hospitality shown to the visitors on those days from the various stakeholders who ply their trade within the industry.
“All in all I think it went well, I think we have to take some time and do a post mortem to see if there were any significant challenges, but it has been a fantastic two days and we are happy for the hospitality and the affection the people of St. Kitts and Nevis has shown to our visitors.”
He then forecast what his ministry expects for the remainder of the cruise ship season noting that they are anticipating to exceed one million passengers.
“We expect over a million for the cruise year. December alone will see 115 calls and around 300,000 passengers so it is going well. We hope with the advent of the second pier we could have a much better customer experience.”
On Boxing Day during the Jouvert morning jam the western section of the Bay Road and central Basseterre were restricted to vehicular traffic for the Jouvert while tour operators utilized the eastern side of Port Zante to ply their trade during the morning hours.
Grant was also asked about dispatching issues that continues to occur at Port Zante when ships dock and he noted that they will continue to address those matters.
“Port Zante is always a work in progress but we will continue to fine tune just to ensure the experience is as good as it can be. In 2018 we are going to see improvements on our side in terms of the delivery service.”
Grant also noted the aspect of the Boxing Day restrictions may be adopted to help with the dispatching issues.
A statement from the St. Kitts Tourism Authority indicated that St. Kitts did not disappoint as stakeholders rose to the occasion to provide thrilling and memorable experiences to passengers from the Adventure of the Seas, Caribbean Princess, Crystal Esprit, Seabourn Odyssey and Costa Pacifica on Christmas Day.