Minister of Tourism The Hon. Lindsay F.P. Grant and CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Racquel Brown meet with Port Operations Director, Chris Martin and Port Operations Manager, Mary Ann Insinger of the Holland America Group.
BASSETERRE (1st November, 2017): “St. Kitts is open for business!” That was the clear message the Minister of Tourism The Hon. Lindsay F.P. Grant delivered to more than 1,000 attendees and 100 cruise executives, gathering at the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show being held in Merida, Mexico.
The FCCA Conference is a four-day event designed to foster a better understanding of the inner workings of the cruise industry and help attendees improve their cruise tourism business. The conference provides forums for discussions on tourism development, ports, safety, security, and other cruise industry issues.
Product Development Manager, Mrs Melnecia Marshall and Denise Walters of the St. Kitts Scenic Railway.
Minister Grant led a St. Kitts delegation to the 24th annual FCCA Conference to have one-on-one meetings with the destination’s cruise line partners. The delegation included CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Ms Racquel Brown and Product Development Manager, Mrs Melnecia Marshall. Other stakeholders present, included representation from the St. Christopher Air and Sea Authority, Delisle Walwyn & CO Ltd, St. Kitts Scenic Railway and Tropical Tours.
“St. Kitts is indeed open for business, and our recent cruise guests have had wonderful on-island experiences,” Minister Grant said. “However, when it comes to cruise tourism the Caribbean must work together to bring more ships into our region. Therefore, it was very encouraging to see that affected islands were recovering quickly due to the widespread support and resiliency of the Caribbean people.”
Minister Grant said he held a number of meetings with cruise line executives, where updated them on infrastructure improvements in the St. Kitts cruise sector, which include added multilingual signage to guide visitors in Basseterre, and the addition of a self-guided walking tour of Basseterre, where visitors are able to walk through historical Basseterre using a multilingual map.
The cruise executives were excited about the work that has been done to refresh elements of the product, such as the painting of the Amina Craft Market. They also applauded the efforts of the tour operators to provide multilingual tours and the Government for facilitating on-going training for employees within the sector.
However, they stressed the need for growth and underlined the need for operators to be knowledgeable about the product and the tours.
Minister Grant pointed out that the ability to share the story of the destination is key to an exceptional guest experience.
“Failure to emotionally connect with our guests, results in a substandard experience. Our guests want to be immersed in the culture and authenticity of all that St Kitts has to offer. Our goal is to attract the visitor and to encourage repeat business by continuously refreshing the product through the diversification of tours and experiences,” Minister Gran said.