Basseterre, St. Kitts – St. Kitts residents have been challenged to tap into their creative juices in finding ways to capitalize on Experiential Tourism, among the top growing global trends for travellers.
The tourism model basically describes persons who travel to a particular destination to connect with the local culture, people, history and overall lifestyle. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Carlene Henry-Morton, noted that the island has an abundance of talent and resources that can be used to expand the current authentic tourism product.
“St. Kitts has a lot of that to offer. It is about being creative, people being innovative enough, partnering up with each other and so on because we have a lot of the raw materials here,” she stated during an appearance of the radio and television programme ‘Working for You.’
The tourism official complimented Ital Creations at Fari Organic Farm, which according to its official Facebook Page, invites patrons to “experience the ecological farming and vegetarian creativity, working together in a Caribbean-style kitchen.”
Yaya Fari of Ital Creations, also a guest on the programme, described the all-natural thinking behind the business which features organic farming, a relaxing environment for yoga or other stress relieving activities, and healthy dining options.
Mrs. Henry-Morton was impressed with the opportunity for the guests to interact with the owners, to bear witness to the trees and gardens that bear the same fruits and vegetables they are going to eat and the tour of the farm.
“That has become the new wealth,” Mrs. Henry-Morton said. “You judge how wealthy you are now – not necessarily by the material things you have but by the experiences that you are able to talk about and share with your friends,” she added, citing the visitors’ perspective.
Kathleen Pessolano, a Tourism Ministry consultant, explained that statistics from the United Nations World Tourism Organization indicate that experiential tourism is growing faster than mass tourism as “visitors want to get off of the property, they want to venture, they want to travel like a local.” Information provided by American Express and Forbes Travel shows that many of these travellers are affluent.
Mrs. Henry-Morton noted that simple activities such as fishing trips or touring local farms can be great ways to cater to experiential visitors.
“You heard the fascination that Yaya said they have: ‘Oh my God, look a mango!’ We [locals] are looking at a mango and going ‘Oh yes a mango, what’s the big deal?’ But for them, it is a big thing to see a mango growing on the tree so why not,” the tourism official said.