By Loshaun Dixon
Basseterre, St. Kitts – The potential benefits of a strong yachting sector in St. Kitts and Nevis was the highlight as the St. Kitts Yacht Club opened at their new location in Frigate Bay.
Tourism Minister Lindsay Grant highlighted the significance of the launch to the sector.
“Significant, first of all, is its placement at Frigate Bay,” he said. “Previously they were at the Cockle Shell Bay at Spice Mill. Frigate Bay gives better accessibility for people in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
He further spoke of his happiness that a class of pfeople can grow up interested in yachting.
“They have now also made it into an Olympic sport,” he said, “…so that again gives it some added value.”
He added that they were pleased to partner with the Yacht Club in helping them find a home.
“This is also a good conjunction with what we are trying to do on the strip with the $7 million redevelopment,” he said.
Grant also commended Peter Dupre and his team for their accomplishments. “Since I had got this opportunity to be in this position two years ago, they have been behind me to get a space for them,” he said.
Grant also explained the importance of the club for tourism in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“You also have to appreciate that we a putting a lot of emphasis on yachting in St. Kitts and Nevis and this is really an opportunity for us to extend the reach in yachting,” he said. “It is a wonderful opportunity for our economic development and I want to commend those who have been instrumental to keep pushing and make sure we rise to the level that we want to rise to.”
Peter Dupre, commodore of the St. Kitts Yacht Club, noted that yachting was part of the many opportunities that are now opening in St. Kitts and Nevis. Dupre explained that the government has committed to having yachting tourism and highlighted the gains made in the yachting industry with the Marina at Christophe Harbour.
He added that he hopes that the club can now make significant gains following the move from Spice Mill.
“We are going through a transition but now we are here and I am pretty excited of where we are going from here,” Dupre said.
He also highlighted the importance of having a major yachting centre in St. Kitts and Nevis, indicating that there are centres in Antigua, in St. Maarten and in the BVI, all countries that surround the Federation.
“I don’t know why it has taken so long, but all of a sudden everybody seem to realise it can work here,” he said.
Dupre also highlighted what they do at the club: “Every Saturday we have a programme with a fleet of nine dinghies…from the ages of 5 to 15. When it comes to age, it’s about can they listen to instructions and follow them.”
He also explained that one does not have to be able to swim to join the club, but it is taught so individuals can garner confidence in the water.
He also spoke of the potential the industry has in the federation.
“We have always sat here in St. Kitts and gone, ‘Wow, St. Maarten always has five cruise ships,’” he said. “What you may not know is that St. Maarten makes more money off yachting tourism than it does off cruise ship tourism. I am thrilled that our nation is developing in tourism and we are being really successful in the cruise ship market. But just remember that the potential for the yachting tourism market can overtake that.”