St. Kitts Lauded for Hosting Successful Caribbean Tourism Organization Event

Basseterre, St. Kitts – St. Kitts has received numerous compliments as the host destination for last week’s Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) State of the Industry Conference.

Providing the approximately 200 attending public and private sector tourism industry leaders from more than 20 of CTO’s member countries as well as members of the international media with a first-hand experience of its genuine hospitality and world-class facilities, small St. Kitts made a big showing for itself.

“We were extremely gratified to host this important regional conference which addressed the most critical issues facing tourism to the Caribbean,” said St. Kitts & Nevis Minister of Tourism & International Transport, Senator Ricky Skerritt, who was also the outgoing Chairman of the CTO. “Since this was my last official undertaking as CTO Chairman, it seemed particularly fitting to hand over the leadership of the organization, which I have endeavored over the past two years to strengthen, on my own ‘home turf.’ This simultaneously placed St. Kitts in the spotlight as an exceptional destination choice for major regional and international events.”

Flags of CTO member countries were mounted along Kim Collins highway as a special greeting to make attendees feel welcome from their first moments on island. Kicking off the week of Conference activities, St. Kitts showcased its twin-island tourism product to the more than 20 visiting journalists from the US, UK, Canada and Caribbean.

Media were treated to destination tours of Charlestown and Basseterre as well as St. Kitts’ new developments of Christophe Harbour and Kittitian Hill, excursions to iconic island attractions of Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park and the Caribelle Batik Factory, plus a visit to the authentic Jamrock Beach Bar, which put on a blazing beach bonfire to everyone’s delight.

Members of the press were also hosted for dinner by the Four Seasons Resort Nevis with additional meals being enjoyed at the Marriott, Ottley’s Royal Palm restaurant, Ballahoo, Buddies and Sunset Beach Bar. A “dine around” evening was included for delegates, allowing them to experience their choice of the island’s dining venues.

St. Kitts remained a focal point of attention throughout the Conference, with affairs also being held at the Beach House, Carambola Beach Club and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority and outgoing Chairman of the Board of Directors of CTO, Mrs. Rosecita Jeffers, acted as Master of Ceremonies for the Conference Opening, ensuring its smooth proceedings. During various meetings and sessions, a number of speakers made a point of extending their heartfelt thanks to Minister Skerritt for his impressive leadership of the CTO over the past two years.

Karine Roy-Camille, Commissioner of Tourism for Martinique, which will be the host destination for the Conference in 2013, said, “My sincere thanks and appreciation to Minister Skerritt on hosting such a wonderful conference these past few days.

The success of this important event here on your home soil is a fitting tribute to your distinguished tenure as CTO Chairman.”

In addition, the island’s tourism investors figured prominently on Conference panels, including Founder & Managing Director of Kittitian Hill, Valmiki Kempadoo, who discussed “Winning Strategies for Caribbean Competitiveness,” as well as CEO of the Christophe Harbour Development Company Charles “Buddy” Darby and COO of Veling Limited Dinesh Burrenchobay, who spoke about the opportunities for moving the Caribbean products more up-market.

In fact, St. Kitts continued to impress Conference attendees to the end, despite departing flight cancellations due to the passage of Tropical Storm Rafael on Saturday. Additional last-minute hotel arrangements were efficiently provided at the St. Kitts Marriott, and St. Kitts’ Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Authority ensured the best possible outcomes for those who remained on island.

In an article appearing in the Guardian, journalist Andrea Perez of Trinidad & Tobago applauded St. Kitts, saying that people “were being well-taken care of by tourism officials.” Canada-based freelance journalist Melanie Reffes sung St. Kitts’ praises in an article as well, calling the destination the “host with the most.”

Most recently, St. Kitts ranked #3 on a list of the 10 Best Islands in the World for 2012-2013 by US News & World Report following its ranking as #1 on the publication’s list of the 16 Best Caribbean Vacations in summer 2011. On February 9, 2012, St. Kitts was named one of “5 Caribbean Islands to Discover Now” by MSNBC. It was also named one of the “Top 12 Spots that should be on your list for 2012” by Caribbean Travel + Life magazine and the island’s Brimstone Hill Fortress was one of “10 Great Places To Explore The World’s Best-Kept Secrets” by USA Today. Last year, St. Kitts was named a top destination for 2011 by both AOL Travel and British Airways.

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