St Kitts Nevis rated as one of the highest cruise destinations worldwide

A recent study by United States research firm Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) has placed St Kitts among the highest-rated cruise destinations in the entire Caribbean for the 2011—2012.

According to BREA, the most dramatic increases over the six-year period were in direct cruise tourism spending, which increased nearly ten-fold from US$6.7 million to US$70.6 million over the six-year period.

Average per passenger expenditures in St Kitts have almost doubled since 2006, while average expenditures across the Caribbean have actually declined by two per cent. Average per passenger spend in St Kitts was measured at US$57.40 in the 2006/2007 cruise year, 40 per cent below the Caribbean average, but increased to $108.90 in the 2011/2012 cruise year, 14 per cent above the Caribbean average.

BREA reports substantial growth in cruise passenger arrivals to St Kitts, which increased from 117,000 in the 2005/2006 cruise year to 629,000 in the 2011/2012 cruise year, an increase of more than 400 per cent as compared to an increase of 13 per cent throughout the Caribbean over the six-year period. “St Kitts’ recent outstanding performance in the cruise sector is directly attributable to several initiatives undertaken by Government following the decision to end sugar production in 2005,” said Minister of Tourism and International Transport Ricky Skerritt.

“The improvements in downtown Basseterre, the development of shops, restaurants and key attractions, and the increasing the number of certified taxi and tour operators in anticipation of demand growth, have clearly had a very positive impact on the experience that St Kitts offers to visitors.” The Tourism Minister also pointed to the role of the St Christopher Tourism Authority Prescribed Areas Act which he said, “ushered in the establishment of a greater focus on standards, which were integral to the phenomenal success achieved by St Kitts in a relatively short time.”

The percentage of passengers reporting that they there were extremely or very satisfied with their overall St Kitts shopping experience was 74 per cent in the 2011/2012 cruise year as compared to just 47 per cent in the 2005/2006 cruise year. For the 2011/2012 cruise year, results of the study show that St Kitts ranks No. 2 in the Caribbean in passenger satisfaction with their overall visit and No. 2 in passengers reporting that their visit to St Kitts met or exceeded their expectations. The destination also ranked at No. 3 in the Caribbean in passenger satisfaction with their shore excursion, at No. 4 in average expenditure per passenger and at No. 6 in total cruise passenger expenditures.

The BREA study was conducted under the auspices of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association to analyse the contribution of cruise tourism on the economies of 21 destinations located in the Caribbean and Central and South America including Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; the Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; the British Virgin Islands; the Cayman Islands; Columbia; Costa Rica; Curacao; Dominica; The Dominican Republic; Grenada; Honduras; Nicaragua; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St Kitts and Nevis; St Maarten; St Vincent and the Grenadines; The Turks and Caicos; the US Virgin Islands.