Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour, a five-star luxury beach resort that opened this month in the heart of Banana Bay with 300 local permanent employees, has propelled St. Kitts and Nevis into a unique position within the Caribbean tourism industry.
“You’re unique,” Mohammed Asaria, vice chairman of Range Developments, the developer of the project, said at Friday’s press conference while addressing local media representatives, as well as Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris and Minister of Tourism the Honourable Lindsay Grant who were both seated at the head table.
“You have a Park Hyatt, you have a Four Seasons, you have a Marriott – three branded hotels – as well as a number of well-leading independent hotels, which really put you in a unique position compared to some of your peers, and we need to capitalize on that to have future growth in the economy,” he added.
Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour – the first Park Hyatt hotel in the Caribbean – has received many plaudits in the international press, even making the cut onto coveted lists such as Forbes’ 17 Hot Hotel Openings This Summer, The New York Times’ Hotel and Resorts to Travel to in 2017, Travel + Leisure’s Hotel Openings to Watch Out for in 2017, The Globe and Mail’s World’s hottest and hautest new hotels for 2017, The Telegraph’s The 28 best new hotels for 2017, Forbes’ 25 New Luxury Hotels That Come Highly Recommended, and Vogue’s 2016 Hottest Hotels: The 16 Most Anticipated Openings.
There are more signs of St. Kitts and Nevis’ growing stature in the international tourism market – a positive change being ushered in under the Team Unity administration.
For instance, for the 2017-2018 season, St. Kitts and Nevis is projected to receive a total of 569 cruise ship calls with over 1.5 million passengers, a record for the twin-island Federation. “Between November , December and January , this economy will see pumped into it EC$199,555,662. That is fantastic news for St. Kitts and Nevis,” Minister of Tourism the Honourable Lindsay Grant said in the National Assembly last week, referring to three-month projections based on average expenditure per cruise passenger (US$111.08) in St. Kitts and Nevis.
At Friday’s press conference, Minister Grant announced that, “American Airlines will now provide twice daily non-stop service to St. Kitts from Miami, for the first time in our history for five days a week up from four…the flight will operate inbound Wednesday to Sunday and outbound Thursday to Monday starting December 1st, with the first Wednesday operation taking place on December 6th.”
The Minister of Tourism added that, “This news complements the new Delta non-stop weekly service from JFK [Delta’s hub at New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport] and an additional service from Atlanta [Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport], as well as our recently added United [Airlines] stop out of Newark, New Jersey [from Newark Liberty International Airport].”
The increased airlift is indicative of the surging popularity of St. Kitts and Nevis’ tourism product. Last year October, St. Kitts made it onto The Wall Street Journal’s list of 10 “buzzy, newly accessible destinations…all on the brink of change, to visit next year.” The Wall Street Journal noted that, “long-overlooked St. Kitts is finally gaining traction.”
Prime Minister Harris said during Friday’s press conference that the growing confidence in the country was seen recently when Adtalem Global Education Inc. looked to St. Kitts and Nevis to temporarily relocate the Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) from Dominica after the passage of Hurricane Maria.
More than 1,100 RUSM students arrived in the Federation in mid-October and will be here up until mid-January 2018, attending classes and living on the GNV Excellent floating campus. Over 150 faculty and staff of RUSM have also come to the Federation, and many of them are living on land accompanied by their families. RUSM will then be temporarily relocated to facilities owned by Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.