BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Every community in St. Kitts has a story to tell and these communities must find ways to tap into the tourism industry to keep their rich history alive, especially those in rural areas.

Capitalizing on community tourism will add something unique to the tourism product in St. Kitts, according to Community Tourism Officer, Shaline Welcome. She added that rural areas have a lot to offer in terms of being unique.

“We have to encourage these communities to develop pride and appreciation in their history,” Ms. Welcome said. “Many historic sites are in the countryside, but most of us believe that tourism only lives within the areas where the cruise ship comes in and where our main businesses are.”

Ms. Welcome stated that this notion should be changed, adding tourism involves the entire nation.

“We need to change the direction on that because community tourism is about the whole of St. Kitts,” she said. “It’s natural and historic environs are out in the communities. We need to encourage them to create some sort of community tourism-related business.”

Executive Director of Events, Allister Williams pointed out more than 100 sites of historical importance in the Federation, noting that history is one of the strong points in St. Kitts.

“That is what we have to sell the most,” Williams explained. “We want to exploit the benefits of tourism by going to communities and getting them actively involved because most of these sites are hidden. Some we know of, but there are many others that are within communities. We are saying you don’t have to come to Basseterre to work in any of the hotels or tourism plants located in town.”

Williams stated that communities can look at ways to renovate and build businesses surrounding the historical sites.

“There can be a tour near a historical site that exists in that area,” Williams said. “Each site has a history and a story. When many of our visitors come, they want to hear the stories.”