The confidence of Port Zante’s business operators is waning due to Minister of Tourism Marsha Henderson’s questionable commitment. In a recent meeting called by Prime Minister Drew, Minister Henderson, a relative newcomer to her role, conspicuously failed to attend. Instead, the ill-prepared Prime Minister relied on the input of a mismatched advisor, Austin Edinborough, leaving merchants flabbergasted by his evident lack of grasp on the cruise industry.
Merchants were promised a miraculous resolution to the absence of over 70 scheduled cruise vessels for the 2022/2023 season. However, this pledge now appears hollow, as projections for the 2023/2024 season have taken a drastic downturn, with a staggering 250,000 fewer cruise visitors expected in St. Kitts.
Dismayed stakeholders, well-versed in the industry, voice their apprehensions over this disheartening development. St. Kitts, once a beacon for cruise tourism with over a million visitors in 2018 and 2019 (pre-COVID), now faces a substantial setback.
Critics point to government mismanagement and a lack of competence as the root causes of this alarming decline. The upward trajectory set by Team Unity is rapidly eroding, even amidst the lavish spending of the Tourism Minister and the addition of an advisor in Ricky Skerritt, further straining the government’s payroll.
For Saint Kitts and Nevis, a mature and responsible government is imperative. The Tourism Ministry requires a reset to salvage what’s left of this crucial industry.