Basseterre, St. Kitts – The Honourable Marsha Henderson said the Ministry of Tourism, which she leads, will look to promote and encourage the adoption of more sustainable practices across the tourism sector, thus ensuring the protection of the Federation’s unique features.
“As we march forward on the journey to a Sustainable Island State, it is incumbent upon us to recognise the pivotal role of tourism in not only driving economic prosperity, but also the importance of safeguarding our ecological heritage and nurturing the well-being of our local communities, which is the essence of what we call sustainable tourism,” said Minister Henderson during her contribution to the 2024 Budget Debate on December 18, 2023.
Minister Henderson noted that this effort is not limited to stakeholders who benefit directly from the tourism sector, but rather it should be a national effort.
In this regard, the ministry has hosted various events to promote sustainable and community tourism. These included the Plastic Free Infocade and Bottle Drive and a Tourism Fest. These initiatives, Minister Henderson said, align with the ministry’s mandate of advancing sustainable tourism in St. Kitts.
“[Together] with the Sustainable Destination Council and in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, we went on the ‘no plastic drive’ where we collected plastic bottles. We wanted to get our people to understand that if we don’t take care of our country and our environment, then in 25 years, we won’t have a country to sell, and if you don’t have a country to sell then there is no destination to sell, and no destination means no tourism. So it is important for us, Madam Speaker, that we understand not just as industry partners, not just as stakeholders but even as citizens of this country how important it is for us to adopt sustainable practices,” added the honourable minister.
Minister Henderson used her Budget presentation to publicly recognize the Sunset Reef Luxury Boutique Hotel recently named the Sustainable Hotel of the Year at the 2024 Caribbean Travel Awards organised by Caribbean Journal.
“They clearly understand the sustainable tourism agenda,” Minister Henderson said. “The recent award by the Caribbean Travel Journal is indicative of this, and I want to take the opportunity to congratulate Marc [Schneider, General Manager] and the employees at Sunset Reef on this prestigious award and to state Madam Speaker, that I am indeed honoured to be working alongside partners who appreciate the government’s agenda in attaining a Sustainable Island State.”
Noteworthy also is that Minister Henderson was named the Caribbean Tourism Minister of the Year. In presenting to the St. Kitts Tourism Minister, the Caribbean Journal was quoted, “St Kitts has been reinventing itself, with the Eastern Caribbean destination sharing a redefined brand with the world, one where the focus is on authenticity, sustainability and fresh experiences. Tourism Minister Marsha Henderson has been at the forefront of this effort, helping to lead the island into a new future, from a wave of new airlift (including new flights from JetBlue) and a cruise port that is one of the fastest-growing in the region.