With St. Kitts and Nevis showing positive signs of growth in its tourism industry post-pandemic, stakeholders in the industry who earlier this month participated in the two-day ‘I Speak St. Kitts Culture and Heritage Workshop 2022’ have been beseeched to make the message they learned viral.
Addressing the 25 workshop participants on Thursday November 24 at a certificate presentation ceremony, Assistant Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, who is also Chair of St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council (SDC), Mrs. Diannille Taylor-Williams, told them that sharing the message they learnt is one of the ways that tourism will become sustainable.
“Let us cause a revolution by passing on this information, and encouraging our people to have a sense of place because very often we hear the stories, and yet our young people they do not know the treasure that we have,” said Mrs. Taylor-Williams at the ceremony which was held at East Independence Square in Basseterre.
The distribution of certificates was held on the very day when the world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas, made its inaugural call to Port Zante bringing in 6,495 guests and 2,259 crew members. The assistant Permanent Secretary informed them that the visitors were remarking how beautiful Basseterre is from the ship as they took pictures.
“We take it for granted,” Mrs. Taylor-Williams said in reference to the rich cultural diversity that St. Kitts has to offer. “It has value – it says who we are as a people. Every opportunity you get to share it, share. That would make me feel good at the end of the day that I would have done something to help. It is also making sure that our young people know who we are and the value that we have brought to this country as a people.”
The workshop which was facilitated by the CEO of Rooted in History, Mr. Leonard Stapleton, saw the participants drawn from employees in public and private tourism sectors go through a one-day workshop on Wednesday, November 2 that was held at the CUNA Conference Centre in Fortlands, and a full day field trip on Friday November 4 to different sites on St. Kitts that are of cultural and heritage value.
One of the participants, Mr. Mark Handley, who is the CEO of Hands in Hands Security, and is a member of the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council, was specially recognised at the certificate awards ceremony as he was also celebrating his birthday.
“He became a member at the time when we first started and all the members had to do the Sustainable Tourism Professionals Course,” noted Chair of St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council (SDC), Mrs. Diannille Taylor-Williams. “At that time he was a police officer. He was influenced, and he wanted to retain his involvement with what we are doing and so he decided to participate.”
She added that Mr. Handley is also looking at another aspect of his business where he can provide tourism security, “and so he felt it was important to learn as much as he could, so when he is providing security services for celebrities he can also share information about the destination.”
Another participant, Mr. O’Neil Mulraine who is the CEO of O’Neil Tours, who offers three different adventures, tours to the volcano, tours to the rainforest, and the off-beaten track drive tours, told his fellow participants that the workshop was a very good experience for him for he learnt a lot as it relates to the diversity of St. Kitts culture and heritage.
“A lot of things that Mr. Stapleton brought to the table are what I did not know, so I was very quiet about that,” said Mr. Mulraine. “I did not have anything to say, I was just listening and I got the experience and I now actually share a little bit with my kids and they appreciate what I learnt and they think that is the best training seminar that we might have ever had for a long time.”
Also presented with certificates were Mr. Kenney Manning, Sustainable Tourism Coordinator in the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism, who coordinated the workshop, and Ms Johneal Harvey, a secretary in the Ministry of Tourism who assisted with the registration of the participants and ensuring the smooth running of the workshop.
Photo: Assistant Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs Diannille Taylor-Williams, addressing the workshop participants at East Independence Square. On her left is workshop facilitator and CEO of Rooted in History, Mr Leonard Stapleton. Photo courtesy Peter N’Gunjiri