Tackling the slump in stay-over visitors was a key component of the economic strategy for St. Kitts and Nevis under the Team Unity administration.
Returning from an intensive marketing campaign of Canada, Minister of Tourism Lindsay Grant told MiyVue.com the aim is to grow the Canadian source market into double-digit growth.
Grant said, “Although our cruise tourism has been doing pretty well, our land based tourism has been stagnant for the last couple of years. We want to move the growth in that area. In fact, Canada itself only represents six percent of our market right now, and so, we want to grow that at least up to 15 percent in the next five years. So, we are going to be aggressively attacking the Canadian market.”
More immediate is the need to achieve a longer seasonal airlift service out of Canada. One of the aims of that visit, he said, was to engage Air Canada Vacations to extend the 16-week peak season flights out of Toronto to a longer period. That is still being worked out, the minister indicated.
The medium term approach, however, is to do select targeting. Minister Grant explained, “We wanted to engage the golfing community in Canada, because there are six million golfers in Canada spending $4.5 billion annually overseas. We want to attract their attention to St. Kitts, as we are now beginning to develop our golfing niche market.”
On their response, the tourism minister said the process is moving positively. “They were very receptive. In fact, they will be in St. Kitts before yearend looking at our product and our services,” Grant stated.
The minister informed that during their visit to Canada discussions were held with major travel agencies, major tour providers and the golfing community of Canada at the highest level. He said, “Hopefully, these would bear fruit very shortly.”