For many of them, said Douglas, it is simply too difficult, too inconvenient, too hard for international travelers to get from their home base to the island-nation in question.
The head of the Federal government was commenting on the soon to be introduced scheduled direct flights between Canada and St. Kitts and Nevis, by Air Canada. He said the flights will not only aid the twin-island Federation’s tourism sector, but it also makes it easier for nationals and residents to pursue their own off-island interests.
“Easy access to major metropolitan centers enables them to function at a more efficient and competitive level. And this is good,” said Mr. Douglas on his radio program, ‘Ask the Prime Minister’
Air Canada begins flights between St. Kitts and Toronto on 23rd December, 2011 and will continue until April 2012.
According to the Prime Minister, the new services are in keeping with their strategy to expand the metropolitan centers from which direct flights to St. Kitts and Nevis will be possible.
He said the tourism industry has a significant multiplier effect where the economy is concerned and more visitors mean greater vitality within the many other sectors that are affected, directly and indirectly, by the tourism industry.
“In addition to the tourism angle, however, St. Kitts and Nevis is very much a part of the globalized world. Our students, our business people, and others often need to travel overseas in order to remain competitive, and in order to advance their academic and business interests,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He noted that St. Kitts and Nevis is very much a part of that intensely competitive global phenomenon and airlift is crucial to all island-nations.
He pointed to his Government’s decision several years ago to make easy access to St. Kitts and Nevis a key component of the tourism strategy by expanding the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport so that it would be able to handle the type of 21st century aircraft that transport large numbers of passengers.
“And equally importantly, we entered into the kinds of negotiations that were key to expediting and facilitating travel from major metropolitan centers and airline industry hubs to St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
American Airlines operates a daily flight from Miami and twice weekly flights from New York. Delta Airlines and US Airways operate weekly flights from Atlanta and Charlotte and British Airways twice weekly flights from Gatwick, London.