St. Kitts and Nevis soon to sail into yachting tourism
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Prospects of a thriving yachting sector in St. Kitts and Nevis is expected to come into fruition soon with the launch of the Yachting Strategic Plan and the Yachting Implementation Plan 2017-2022.
At the launching of the two documents, which took place at the Christophe Harbour Marina Nov. 23, Minister of Tourism the Honourable Lindsay Grant said that this marks another milestone in the tourism journey. He explained that the documents will guide efforts to diversify the economy and to enhance the tourism sector as recommended for Caribbean countries by a 2014 study conducted by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
One area identified for special focus was the yachting and marina services, a subsector widely regarded as having significant and substantial potential, said Minister Grant. He referenced Dr. Len Ishmael, former ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean States Mission, who said that “the local yachting sector is a niche market, which is ripe for investment and offers an avenue through which we can promote our federation and attract new business, a new generation of tourists who are looking for something new and somewhere different, people with disposable incomes and who are not shy about spending on the finer things of life.
“Considering our natural endowments, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis is equally confident that our nation is naturally positioned to take advantage of this niche market and has identified the yachting sector as a strategic priority area for development,” said the minister.
Minister Grant stated that when the medium- to long-term benefits of the establishment of marinas such as Christophe Harbour, birthing facilities and boat yards are considered, it translates into economic spin-offs that pay dividends not only for our local entrepreneurs and ancillary businesses.
He added that it also has implications for improved standards of living for citizens and an enhanced profile for St. Kitts and Nevis as a premier yachting destination to hold annual marine related activities. “The potential for exposure of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is enormous,” he said.
The minister said that both documents, which are grounded in the Tourism Sector Strategy and Action Plan, establish the roadmap for the sector over the next five years “essentially setting forth actionable priorities and strategic plans for development of our yachting sector. It is indeed a proud moment for me personally as a Kittitian and in my capacity as the minister of tourism,” declared the minister, adding that all stakeholders from the public and private sector invested their time, energy and effort, and generously shared their expertise to reach to this milestone. “I’m equally elated for the strides that we have made over the last two to three years,” said the minister.
The minister explained that the Caribbean yachting ground continues to be the second most important in the world after the Mediterranean and that St. Kitts and Nevis is strategically located in the centre of the primary yacht cruising grounds in the Eastern Caribbean, which include Antigua, St. Martin and St. Barts. He noted that these are some of the most popular yachting destinations in the region.
“Our proximity to these nearby locations offers us the opportunity to explore strategic alliances to market a range of islands as a single product very much like the cruise lines do,” he said. “After all the reports and observations from the yachting community, it is already becoming clear that St. Kitts and Nevis is dressed to impress and is moving forward.”