St. Kitts Minister of Finance upbeat about positive buzz about St. Kitts and Nevis in the travel and tourism markets

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Several tourism investment projects which have either been completed, or are under construction or nearing start-up, and are already impacting positively on the St. Kitts and Nevis economy.

Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris told Parliament Tuesday, Dec. 16 that the multi-billion dollar 2,500-acre Christophe Harbour project at the Southeast Peninsula is making steady progress with over 100 new jobs already created in 2008 alone, with the recent ground breaking for the World Famous Tom Fazio Golf Course having taken centre stage just a few weeks ago.

Hon. Timothy Harris
“Within the next six to nine months, the second phase of the Marriott Vacation Club International Project at Frigate Bay is expected to commence as well,” said Harris, who also mentioned other projects including Ocean’s Edge, St. Christopher Club, Sundance Ridge Estates, Calypso Bay Villas, Half Moon Heights, Beaumont Park, Marriott Vacation Club International, Sunrise Villas and Silver Reef.

“While the difficulties of the international credit markets may have slowed the momentum on some of our projects, we have no reason to feel at this time that it has caused any of them to shut down,” said Dr. Harris, who added that these major developments in the tourism sector are already giving strong propulsion to the Labour Government’s programme of economic transformation, and are helping to push St. Kitts and Nevis to the forefront of the high-end luxury segment of the tourism market in the Caribbean.

Delivering his first Budget Address as Minister of Finance, Dr. Harris, notwithstanding the doom and gloom projections in some quarters for the world economy at this time, and the possible negative fallout for the local tourism sector, expressed confidence that there will continue to be a discernible positive buzz about St. Kitts and Nevis in the travel and tourism markets of England, Canada and the U.S.A. in particular.

“During these challenging times I urge all tourism stakeholders to work even more closely together than ever before. We need to be watchful but aggressive in the market place, to be cost efficient but customer focused in our operations, and to be realistic but optimistic in our outlook. We must be prudent during slow economic times, but ready for the inevitable rebound which could come more quickly than expected. As far as tourism is concerned, we clearly have much to look forward to and to feel good about. Mr. Speaker, we are confident that our God-given natural island beauty, our rich cultural heritage, our intelligent and resilient people, combined with a pertinent strategic approach to developing and marketing of our tourism products and working together will allow us to continue to generate significant growth for the Tourism Sector in our economy,” he said.

Dr. Harris highlighted the timely implementation of the Labour Government’s Strategic Plan which has generated an unprecedented travel marketplace and investor momentum for the local destination “without losing sight of the current market difficulties and the imperatives for competing, and we can remain optimistic about prospects for the Tourism Sector in 2009 and beyond.

He said that the ongoing design and implementation of several exciting new investment projects which will significantly enhance our tourism product, and the tremendous international exposure obtained by St. Kitts and Nevis hosting of Cricket World Cup in March last year and the CARIFTA Games this year, coupled with several public relations initiatives, have resulted in the destination’s image receiving a significant upward bounce over the past two years which will continue to be built on in 2009.

Ocean Edge under construction at Frigate Bay

Silver Reef Construction underway at Frigate Bay

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