BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, SEPTEMBER 26TH 2006 (CUOPM)
The visit of the Disney Wonder to Staint Kitts is an important development in the local cruise industry, and it is an indicative of efforts to enhance the quality of visitor experiences in the twin-island Federation.
So says St. Kitts and Nevis‘ Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, who warned that despite the opportunities, the land and marine resources must be protected.
Speaking at a brief ceremony on board the ship, which docked at Port Zante, Prime Minister Douglas said he was pleased that the Disney Wonder had added St. Kitts to its itinerary on its second Caribbean cruise.“Saint Kitts and Nevis are two islands with significant tangible and intangible value. These are found specifically in our own very hospitable people and in our natural, historical and cultural heritage. This particular foundation provides the support for a very strong and enjoyable visitor adventure,” said Dr. Douglas to Captain Henry Anderson, officers and representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of if Industry and Commerce and the ships’ agent, Delisle Walwyn & Co. Ltd.
Prime Minister Douglas said St. Kitts and Nevis in interested in creating mutual partnerships in the tourism industry. “We are a country relatively new to tourism. For many years our national economy was sustained on sugar agriculture and we have now taken the very bold step to move very solidly into services with tourism and hospitality being the leading sector and so we welcome this opportunity to create a partnership with the cruise industry,” said Dr. Douglas, who said it was his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Government’s policy to continue enhancing the productive relationship with the cruise industry.
“We want to ensure that our products and our services provide exceptional and positive experiences to all visitors,” stressed Prime Minister Douglas, who pointed to the multi-million dollar building development taking place at Port Zante.
“This is significant to our continued enhancement of tourism product, as we strive to improve the visitor shopping experience in particular,” he added.
The Prime Minister said St. Kitts and Nevis offers more than the often-sought sun, sea and sand. “What we offer is a grand opportunity for our visitors to “taste” in particular and perhaps immerse themselves in the flavours of the Caribbean. We have among us in St. Kitts and Nevis, some of most talented artist region that is reflected in our music, dance, craft, painting and fashion designs. There are tours that help visitors understand the socio-economic and cultural environment of St. Kitts and Nevis, and it in this context that a traveler truly enjoys and shares life rewarding experiences,” he said.
Dr. Douglas said that the for the cruise passengers, the characteristic short stop gives an enjoyable yet a passing insight into the island countries visited in the Caribbean. “Nevertheless, I perceive real opportunities here for the cruise lines, as well as for other stakeholders in cruise tourism,” he told invited guests.
The Prime Minister noted that the development of the cruise industry in St. Kitts and Nevis has to be tempered by other considerations, including capacity and environmental concerns.
“Development can be negated very quickly if these critical issues are ignored. These matters have implications for our land and marine natural resources. Inadequate consideration and attention would quickly result in the degradation of our own tourism product, and everyone suffers the consequences,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who added that it was important that the local authorities partner with the cruise ships “to further upgrade our own port facilities with the input of the cruise lines.