Minister Grant (6th from left) along with FCCA executives and officials from the Ministry of Tourism and St. Kitts Tourism Authority at the meeting. SKNIS Photo 1: Minister Grant (6th from left) along with FCCA executives and officials from the Ministry of Tourism and St. Kitts Tourism Authority at the meeting. SKNIS Photo 1: Minister Grant (6th from left) along with FCCA executives and officials from the Ministry of Tourism and St. Kitts Tourism Authority at the meeting. SKNIS Photo.

Construction of the secondcruise pier at Port Zante, St. Kitts, is now complete, Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Lindsay Grant announced Monday at the opening of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Operations Committee Meeting held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.

“Why we are so proud of this new development is not because we have built a new pier … but this pier, the US$48 or so million that we’ve spent [was] all locally financed,” Minister Grant said. “The second pier will have the capacity to host, with the other one, three oasis-class ships at Port Zante all at once. This is something that few Caribbean destinations are able to do, and it gives us another competitive edge in the cruise industry as the lines begin moving forward towards larger ships.”

The new pier was constructed at a cost of approximately through a collaborative venture with four local entities. The financial players were the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank, which committed US$34 million; the St. Kitts and Nevis Social Security Board which  pledged US$7 million; the St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation with US$5 million, and the St. Kitts and Nevis Trading and Development Company Ltd. (TDC) which committed another US$2 million.

The meeting was attended by executives of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Line and MSC Cruises as well as officials from the St. Christopher Air and Sea Port Authority (SCASPA) and Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, representatives of the Ministry of Tourism and St. Kitts Tourism Authority, taxi drivers, tour operators, and others who ply their trade in the tourism sector.

“I’ve heard we can’t do it. I have never heard that from anyone in St. Kitts that you can’t do it. When we say we need something you say we can do it and we can do it better than anyone else,” FCCA President Michele Paige said.

Minister Grant challenged stakeholders to continue finding new ways to innovate and collaborate with each other and with the government to enhance the experience for all visitors.

St. Kitts and Nevis is the only destination in the OECS to achieve one million cruise passenger arrivals in two consecutive cruise seasons —the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.

FCCA President Expresses Confidence in St. Kitts and Nevis

Paige expressed confidence that, in the next three years, St. Kitts and Nevis will have the highest passenger spending in the Caribbean.

“Right now, in the Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA) study, your passengers spend one hundred and thirty-five dollars and ninety-four cents ($135.94),” which Paige said was above average.

The BREA report was engaged by the FCCA and participating cruise destinations to conduct an analysis of cruise-related spending and its impact on the economies of the participating destinations.

St. Kitts and Nevis ranked third overall in Average Spend per Passenger, with the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Maarten ranked above with $165.42 and $142.23, respectively.

According to the BREA 2017-18 Report, the total passenger spend in St. Kitts and Nevis (2014-15) was US $75.30 million compared with US $133.02 million (2017-18), a growth of 77 percent. Local taxi service and tour operators are certainly reaping the benefits, as well as other tourism stakeholders.

According to Paige, the average time spent off the vessel is 4.4 hours. She advised implementation of strategies to increase the average time in St. Kitts and Nevis will lead to a further increase in spending in the Federation.