Inaugural British Airways Flight To St. Kitts
Prime Minister Douglas aims to reposition tourism industry in St. Kitts and Nevis
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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - Saturday’s inauguration of a weekly scheduled service between London’s Gatwick Airport and St Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport is an effort to reposition the tourism industry and propel St. Kitts and Nevis to the very pinnacle of economic and social development in the Caribbean region.
“By this historic and momentous occasion, our Federation is signaling to our tourism industry partners and the rest of the world our serious commitment and our willingness to redefine ourselves as a tourist destination and to find the most profound ways to build and expand this very vital sector of our economy,” said Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Dr. Denzil Douglas at a welcome ceremony, minutes after the British Airways jet landed Saturday night, a few hours late.
Expressing thanks to the management of British Airways for partnering with St. Kitts and Nevis and for having the confidence to pursue “this very ambitious and demanding project,” Douglas said the weekly flight is “confidence in our small island nation to take this bold step today and gives us a greater sense of pride and industry to continue on the path of excellence and enterprise that we have set for ourselves as a people pursing this country as a tourist destination.”
He noted that the tourism industry is facing very serious challenges as the world witnesses one of the most severe periods of economic downturn.
“The global financial crisis is having a major impact on all aspects of this industry, with the accommodation, airline, tour operations, and other segments of the industry finding it difficult to operate in this very challenging environment,” said Douglas, who also said, “We here in St. Kitts and Nevis are not afraid, and we must move boldly out and reach and bring into St. Kitts and Nevis the desired visitors and airlines that will make our own achievement quite successful.”
Douglas said, however, that in spite of these challenges, St. Kitts and Nevis finds itself on the crest of a major tourism development wave, which is now creating a new period of economic prosperity and economic transformation with major expansion of the tourism product with new developments, attractions, and facilities, making the nation one of the fastest-growing destinations in the Caribbean region.
He said the new partnership being forged with British Airways will help St. Kitts and Nevis fashion a new dawn for the growing tourism business and expressed confidence that this new arrangement with BA for the first weekly scheduled flight from the UK to St. Kitts will help put St. Kitts and Nevis firmly on the tourism map.
Douglas said that as a small destination, St. Kitts and Nevis has taken some bold initiatives and embarked on some very ambitious programs for increasing airlift into the destination at a time when there is loss of airlift in the Caribbean region.
“We believe, therefore, that this new service to our destination will offer considerable benefits to all those involved in the tourism industry, as we look to make tourism one of the main pillars of a more diversified economy,” said Douglas.