Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 08, 2018 (SKNIS): Tourism plays an integral role in the economic development of St. Kitts and Nevis and the ever evolving niche of heritage tourism will help keep the Federation on the cutting edge of the other islands, says Ryllis Percival, Executive Director of the St. Christopher National Trust, speaking on Wednesday’s August 08 edition of “Working for You.”
“We cannot continue to have tourism without heritage; we must be able to distinguish ourselves from the other islands and that can only be done through our heritage that is unique to us,” she said, noting that all islands have the typical sea, sand and sun and that the Federation must set itself apart from the others.
“We need to begin to distinguish ourselves and it is for that reason why we have focused on the restoration of [heritage] sites because this is the first step in creating a product that is heritage- based for tourism,” she said.
Ms. Percival made reference to the Spooner’s Ginnery that is in the works. She said that it is hoped that it will be finished for the next cruise season.
“That will now become another site that taxis can drive to and stop and allow visitors to appreciate the history of the ginnery, the conversion from sugar to cotton, the machines, some of the work and what we produced,” said Ms. Percival.
Equally important, she said, is the cultural aspect of heritage tourism. Ms. Percival noted that the incorporation of cultural heritage tourism in the industry will aid in the preservation of communities and provide a number of jobs for citizens.
The executive director said that St. Kitts and Nevis has already begun to set itself strategically to be heritage based for tourism.
“People want to have unique experiences when they come to an island and the only way you can give it is through your heritage,” she said.
Ms. Percival mentioned Park Hyatt as a prime example of preserving the nation’s heritage.
“They have used our heritage in the way they present their packages to their guests,” she explained. “So, the restaurants over there are named from various sites from St. Kitts, they have developed heritage tours for their guests. So they have focused a lot on selling their establishment based on the heritage of St. Kitts.
Executive Director Percival noted that much like Park Hyatt, heritage sites such as the Spooner’s Ginnery, will sport a gift shop, artisan centre, coffee shop and provisions for locals to sell their products. Similarly in Sandy Point, work has begun to develop Charles Fort, which will offer the same amenities.
“If they can do it, we can do it too. We need to begin to develop our heritage for the benefit of locals in terms of work, and for the visitors to enjoy,” said Ms. Percival.