CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — An optimistic outlook about a return of tourism activity on the island once the borders reopen has been expressed by Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Tourism in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA).
“We have been preparing ourselves and our people for the past six months,” said Hon. Brantley, addressing the island’s state of readiness for a resumption of tourist arrivals. With the reopening, that is why we ramped up training of those people who are going to be directly involved in the hotel industry, airport, and taxi business.”
The Premier said, given the efficiency of the Nevis COVID-19 Task Force thus far, and the level of preparation across the Tourism and Health stakeholder spectrum, he is confident authorities will be able to manage any cases that arise from the reopening of the country’s borders.
“I’m as confident as I can be about the changing environment and the uncertainty that COVID-19 presents,” he said. “I believe our preparation has been in accordance with what we know at this point.
“Our people have been subject to continuous training, particularly our people on the frontline,” said Brantley. “I just don’t know. I recognize this is a fluid situation with COVID-19.
“I’m told both airports will have to make some changes, for example physical changes, how the flow of people is handled, how baggage is handled. All of these are issues that need to be resolved…so until something changes, I think that we are fairly confident we can manage.”
Brantley said due to the novelty of the virus and continuous learning curve in terms of its prevention and management, Nevis’ state of readiness will be determined if and when the systems are tested.
Meantime, speaking to his expectation of the volume of tourists expected to come to the island after the borders reopen, he said the island was poised to attract discerning visitors.
“I think you are probably going to see fewer tourists, that is, less mass tourism,” commented Brantley. “I think that islands like Nevis are very well positioned because our product has always been higher end/lower impact in terms of numbers.
“So those jurisdictions that are offering villas and the type of accommodation where people can actually be on holiday, but be separated from other people, are the islands I anticipate will do best,” he said.
The government of St. Kitts and Nevis has announced that the borders o will be reopened to international travelers on October 31.
Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Tourism in the Nevis Island Administration