Basseterre, St. Kitts (June 11, 2012) - The St. Kitts Tourism Authority today announces the most recent tourism-related news, events, deals and developments from the island, as follows:
Year-to-date April 2012 arrivals from the North American source market show an increase in traffic of 8.3% as compared to the same period the previous year, with incremental traffic over Miami and Atlanta contributing to the higher numbers. Until the commencement of the Air Canada non-stop service from Toronto on Dec. 23, 2011, Canadian traffic flowed over US gateways; thus this is a North American count and not a US count.
Cruise and Yacht Arrivals
Figures from the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) indicate that 280,314 cruise ship passengers visited St. Kitts during the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 19% over the same period in 2011. These 280,314 passengers were from 146 ship calls as compared to 234,417 passengers from 144 ship calls in the comparable period last year.
By month, 92,686 passengers visited in January 2012 as compared to 73,567 passengers in January 2011; 93,119 in February 2012 vs. 72,756 in February 2011; and 93,999 in March 2012 vs. 88,094 in March 2011.
For the first three months of 2012, Carnival Cruise Line accounted for 52,265 passengers, Celebrity Cruise Line for 56,251 passengers and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line for 65,310. SCASPA figures also indicate a triple increase in yacht arrivals and a double increase in passenger arrivals on board yachts for the first quarter of this year over 2011.
A total of 267 yachts carried 510 passengers to St. Kitts in the first three months of 2012 as compared to 83 yachts carrying 363 passengers in the same period of 2011, registering a 222% increase in yacht arrivals and a 40% increase in yacht passenger arrivals to St. Kitts for the period.
Private Jet Terminal - Groundbreaking took place on February 3, 2012, marking the start of construction on this new world-class facility at St. Kitts' Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. Construction is underway and completion is scheduled for October 2012.
The private jet terminal will be located west of the main airport parking apron. It will consist of world class arrival and departure lounges, a business center, and related offices and processing facilities, as well as an elegantly landscaped courtyard and events center. The first phase of the development will feature the main tropical-styled and environmentally friendly terminal, valued at approximately US$6 million, with the total cost of the final project estimated at US$15 million.
The terminal will be constructed and operated by Veling Limited with full ownership to be transferred to The St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) at the end of the concession contract period. Veling Limited is a global aviation solution provider based in Mauritius and London, England. The architect and interior decorator for the new terminal is internationally acclaimed Bobby Mukherji & Associates, recognized as one of India's top ten design firms.
New Resort Developments
Christophe Harbour - Christophe Harbour Real Estate has completely sold out the Harbourside homesites that border the perimeter of the harbor. Work on Phase Two is underway and five lots are expected to be released at the end of this summer.
Additionally, a shared-ownership offering is now available at the Windswept Villas, where owners will have the opportunity to purchase a 1/10 interest for $411,000 making them eligible for St. Kitts citizenship.
The Christophe Harbour Development Company, Ltd (CHDC), led by Kiawah Partners, is the master developer for Christophe Harbour, a luxury resort development currently underway. Located on 2,500+ acres of the southeastern peninsula of St. Kitts, plans include a mega-yacht harbor, marina, Tom Fazio championship golf course and an impressive collection of restaurants, shops, boutiques, five-star hotels, oceanfront and hillside homesites and villas.
Kittitian Hill - Groundbreaking took place on November 6, 2010 and development continues at Kittitian Hill, with construction underway on the 85-room boutique cottage hotel and Ian Woosnam designed golf course. Currently, 40 one bedroom cottages and 3 villas are in various stages of completion as well as the Kittitian Hill's Terrace Complex which includes the lobby, lounge, bar, the main swimming pool, all day dining and fitness centre. Other amenities such as the tennis courts will also be completed in Phase 1A.
The 18-hole golf course is about 50 percent completed and the driving range is now 90 percent completed. Construction of Phase 1B is scheduled to begin in 2013, which comprises of the spa, fine dining restaurant, golf clubhouse, the artist village and more villas. Renowned architect Bill Bensley, who designed the Four Seasons tented camps at Chang Mai, has been added to the Kittitian Hill team and refined the development plan.
Set on a stunning 400-acre hillside site in the Northern part of St. Kitts, Kittitian Hill will consist of a cottage style hotel, creative arts centre, golf course and destination spa featuring indigenous treatments.Sedona Resorts (known for the award-winning Enchantment Resort, Mi Amo Spa and more) is signed on to provide development, operations and marketing services support to Kittitian Hill.
Kittitian Hill is a contemporary Caribbean community for sustainable luxury living founded on the principles of holistic development based on environmental and community responsibility. In addition, Kittitian Hill has recently been added to the Preferred Residences exchange network, a hospitality branded membership and exchange program for luxury shared ownership resorts offered by an operating business of Interval Leisure Group.
Ocean's Edge Resort - Phase three development is well underway with the Poolside residences blocks five and six due to be completed in August of this year, adding another 20 units to the resort's 60 finished units in the heart of Frigate Bay.Currently, the area is being cleared where the pool, hotel reception building, and beachfront restaurant and bar will be constructed, making Ocean's Edge an extraordinary luxury destination in St. Kitts.
Some completed villas have been handed over to owners this year including Villa 12 in May. Ocean's Edge is a resort development overlooking Frigate Bay that covers approximately 40 acres and is comprised of 381 properties including beachfront and hillside one- and two-bedroom apartments, many of which have individual plunge pools, and 37 luxury detached villas.
A variety of leisure and entertainment facilities are planned, including recreation centre, swimming pools, beach club with water sports and beachfront restaurant and two tennis courts.
Silver Reef Resort - Phase One of construction on this luxury residential development, which began in April 2011 and consisted of thirty-six one-and two-bedroom apartments, is now complete. Almost complete, Phase Two consists of another 36 apartments with only 12 units currently remaining unsold of this 72 unit development. Phase Three will push forward in 2013. The development's tenancy program has nearly 100% occupancy and a list of vetted tenants waiting for apartments.
Set in the Frigate Bay area of St. Kitts adjacent to the Royal St. Kitts Golf Course and 10 minutes outside capital city Basseterre, this US$30 million development will feature 62 villas and apartments in 1 and 2-bedroom configurations with spectacular views of both the Caribbean and Atlantic.
The property will also feature landscaped gardens and freeform, infinity-edge swimming pools. Built eco-sensitively, it employs a combination of common sense principles like orienting the buildings to optimize the breeze and recycling grey water. The resort will also use solar power and local building materials to minimize the carbon footprint.
Existing Resort Developments
The St. Kitts Marriott Resort & Royal Beach Casino - Continuously striving for the highest in guest satisfaction, the St Kitts Marriott Resort & Royal Beach Casino recently enhanced its amenities with the completion of an over $3 million renovation and enlisted two new top industry professionals to join the property's executive team.
The over $3 million revamp was completed in January 2012 and included a complete soft-goods renovation of its 73 suites, the addition of sleek and modern new lobby furniture and a 3,024 square-foot expansion of the Bohemia Beach Bar. In February 2012, Jacques Hamou joined the St. Kitts Marriott as General Manager.
His extensive career in the hospitality industry spans over 30 years. He joins the property from Montreal, where he served as General Manager for the Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain for thirteen years.
In addition, Chef William Stringfellow joins the resort's team as Executive Chef, now heading St. Kitts Marriott's culinary experiences. With 25 years of culinary experience, the UK-born Chef Stringfellow brings expertise and influence from many different areas of the world including Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Central and North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Europe and the USA.
The St. Kitts Marriott Resort & Royal Beach Casino is located in the Frigate Bay area of the island, just a 10-minute drive from the airport and capital city Basseterre. The resort offers 393 generously appointed guest rooms and luxurious suites.
The golden sands of North Frigate Bay Beach, a championship golf course and the largest Vegas-style casino in the Caribbean help to provide an unparalleled vacation experience.
The resort also features a revitalizing spa, meeting facilities, the Pirates of St. Kitts Kids Club program, eight restaurants and two lounges that make it the ideal destination for families, couples and corporate travelers.
New Product Offerings
The Amazing Grace Experience - Groundbreaking for this new attraction took place on May 31, 2012. Located in Sandy Point in the northern part of St. Kitts, The Amazing Grace Experience tells the story behind the famous hymn, "Amazing Grace" and explains its connection to St. Kitts including a timeline from 1725 to 1748.
Newton wrote "Amazing Grace" to chart his personal spiritual journey which began with his miraculous escape from death. He went on to become a prolific hymn writer and, later in life, to mentor William Wilberforce in his fight against the Slave Trade. He was a changed man thanks to his encounter with God's Amazing Grace and his visit to Sandy Point St. Kitts was an integral part of this turning point.
Kantours - Covering some of St. Kitts' most stunning historic attractions is Kantours' new "Rail, Fortress and Great House Excursion." In just four and a half hours, visitors can scale the steps to the top of Brimstone Hill Fortress, be treated to a ride on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, and visit the meticulously restored Fairview Great House & Botanical Gardens.
A driver/guide is included, as are transportation and entry fees to both Brimstone Hill Fortress and Fairview Great House & Botanical Gardens.
A minimum of four people is required. Kantours is also now offering a day pass to Fairview Great House & Botanical Garden for just $20 per adult or $10 per child (ages 12 and under).
Guests can enjoy the tropical gardens and cobblestone courtyard, take a dip in the swimming pool or simply lounge on the pool deck. Included with the day pass are light refreshments at the property's Nirvana Restaurant and a guided tour of the property.
Seasonal Island-Wide Special Offer
"Fall in Love with St. Kitts & Nevis" - This destination-wide added value program is ideal for summer and fall escapes. Visitors traveling to St. Kitts now through December can take advantage of the "Fall in Love with St. Kitts & Nevis" offer, which provides free nights - either 7 nights for the price of 4 or 5 nights (30% to more than 40% savings); or 4 nights for the price of 3 (a 25% savings) - at participating hotels.
Plus, visitors taking advantage of this offer receive complimentary Continental breakfast daily or a Food & Beverage credit along with a special discount card that provides savings at various island shops, restaurants, tours and more. Special children's discounts also apply, making the offer even more valuable for family vacations.
Stays can be booked directly with the hotel and air purchased separately, or guests can get reduced airfare on flights booked in conjunction with a stay at a participating hotel via American Airlines' AA Vacations, Delta Vacations or US Airways Vacations. The "Fall in Love with St. Kitts & Nevis" offer is valid on new bookings made now through December 14, 2012 for travel between now and December 18, 2012.
In Case You Missed It
St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network's Sea Turtle Interpretive Center - In keeping with the island's commitment to sustainable tourism, St. Kitts will soon be home to a new Sea Turtle Interpretive Center that will be developed by the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network (SKSTMN).
It will be a year-round tourist venue aiding in the preservation of sea turtles that will also create jobs and add another eco-friendly attraction to the island for both visitors and locals alike.
Upon construction, the Center will serve as the SKSTMN's orientation center for tours and field trips, a research station, an area to showcase the organization's local craft and jewelry making, a gift shop and an area for members and visitors to seek refuge from the elements during patrols.
As their centralized base of operations, it will also allow SKSTMN to expand their employee base from nine sea turtle technicians to at least fifteen plus ancillary support staff. The Center will be located on St. Kitts' Keys Beach and cost approximately $75,000 to complete. Founded in January 2003, the SKSTMN monitors nesting sea turtle populations and acts as an advocate for the strengthening of sea turtle protection laws.
Over the past nine years, it has developed a broad-based program incorporating leatherback night patrols, morning beach monitoring, Sea Turtle Camp, school programs, leatherback eco-tours and more.
Most recently, the destination ranked #3 on a list of the 10 Best Islands in the World by US News & World Report following its ranking as #1 on the publication's list of the 16 Best Caribbean Vacations in summer 2011.
On February 9, 2012, St. Kitts was named one of "5 Caribbean Islands to Discover Now" by MSNBC. It was also named one of the "Top 12 Spots that should be on your list for 2012" by Caribbean Travel + Life magazine and the island's Brimstone Hill Fortress was named one of "10 Great Places To Explore The World's Best-Kept Secrets" by USA Today. Last year, St. Kitts was named a top destination for 2011 by both AOL Travel and British Airways.
Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination's natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.
The island's stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island's former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean, and more traditional vacation pastimes such as watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at St. Kitts' exclusive casino or simply relaxing on one of the island's sandy beaches. Accommodations range from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels and resorts.