Prime Minister Douglas noted that the federation has the ability to compete with any country in the world in the field of tourism in regards to the developments at Christophe Harbour.
Dr. Douglas also went on to note that “among three much larger countries, delegates of the Commonwealth Games Federation chose St. Kitts and Nevis to host over 400 delegates for their Games Assembly ahead of Kenya, Barbados and Northern Ireland who all saw the economic impact the games could have on their country.”
Speaking to the potential for employment, Dr. Douglas stated that he is not sure of the employment the hotels can offer, but indicated that “the Kittitian Hill project which is not a 5 star resort, has already employed over 50 workers, so I would think a 5 star hotel should be employing fulltime, close to 100 people, at any one time, and I am almost certain it will be more. Given the employment situation that was generated when the Marriott was under construction, it was employing close to three hundred people at any one time, so I suspect that is the kind of impact that these will have on the economy and it will impact growth as well.”
Prime Minister Douglas added that “in trying to stabilize the economy at this time with the world in economic turmoil we had a ‘jump start’ with the VAT being introduced last year, the fact about our debt situation, the fact that we are seeing the contraction in the economy, we are still talking about how can we really get out of this?” The Minister of Finance added, that more needs to be done to stimulate growth and generate economic activity and that is the role these new hotels can play.
The Beacon Heights project, the Prime Minister said, should put in over one billion dollars in the economy and that is another stimulus that the government has been seeking to do, to calm the economic situation in the country.
It was also pointed out that when the government gave the concessions to the Residential Home Builders and removed all of the duty, they did all that to stimulate construction activity.
This was necessary they believed because there was and still is a contraction from curtailing the debt and cutting back on expenditure from the public sector, so now government is trying to stimulate the economy through the private sector.
These hotels which will start construction in 2012 will be critical because it is not just about raising revenue but stimulating the economy Dr. Douglas said.