“Canadians love our authentic Caribbean experience”: St. Kitts & Nevis
The Hon. Marsha Henderson, Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Urban Development for St. Kitts & Nevis

“Canadians love our authentic Caribbean experience”: St. Kitts & Nevis

In this edition of Take 5, the Honourable Marsha Henderson, Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Urban Development for St. Kitts & Nevis, discusses a new brand vision for the destination, the impact of lifting all COVID restrictions and the incredible potential for reigniting the Canadian market.

Congratulations! We understand you recently became the new Minister of Tourism for St. Kitts & Nevis. As you begin your role, what message do you want to share with Canadians and how do you define tourism success?

 “Thank you so much. I feel incredibly privileged to have this opportunity to implement policies that will move the destination forward, enhance the tourism experience and create positive changes for the St. Kitts & Nevis economy and our people. With our rich history, incredibly immersive attractions and distinctive cultural offerings, the destination has a unique and authentic Caribbean experience to share with Canadians, so tourism success for us is when a visitor is fully engaged in all of that – our people, our culture, our local businesses. When you come here you aren’t just a visitor or bystander to our way of living, you are welcomed to discover and immerse yourself in it, and that authentic experience is truly the cornerstone of our brand.”

St. Kitts launches new brand campaign ahead of Air Canada’s return

 


St. Kitts & Nevis recently ended all vaccination and COVID-19 testing entry requirements for travellers. How does it anticipate this will spur visitation from Canada and how important is the market to St. Kitts?

“With travel confidence dramatically on the rise and a strong desire to make it easier to enjoy St. Kitts and its sister island Nevis, our first order of business was to lift ALL of the restrictions, including COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements. This, combined with the restart of Air Canada’s weekly direct flight from Toronto starting Nov. 5, better positions us to make a robust push during the important winter booking season.

“Travel from Canada to St. Kitts was accelerating quickly prior to the pandemic – to the tune of a second mid-week seasonal flight having been added – so we feel we can now tap back into a very positive momentum and rekindle that energy for the destination. Canadians love our authentic Caribbean experience and focus towards sustainable tourism, so we understand there is incredible potential here and we aim to reignite that enthusiasm.”


St. Kitts launched a new brand campaign this week in Canada. Can you tell us more about it and how it is positioning itself?

“St. Kitts is often referred to as the ‘best-kept secret of the Caribbean’ and that’s because those who visit often ask themselves why they didn’t visit us sooner! When you experience St. Kitts for the first time – every time – you feel transported, renewed and at peace. The Venture Deeper campaign further explores this concept of authenticity, the desire for experiential travel and a need to connect that is deeply sought in our society, particularly after such a tumultuous few years. Offering a unique mix of tranquility and bold adventure, St. Kitts is both for the traveller that wants to feel ‘off the grid’ and unwind, and for the traveller that wants to discover something new and embrace their playful side. So Venture Deeper is about allowing you to experience both sides of that equation. It’s an exciting new vision for the destination that draws into focus what we have long known about St. Kitts: that travel here is transformative and amplifying our authentic qualities leaves a lasting impression.”

“Canadians love our authentic Caribbean experience”: St. Kitts & Nevis

 


Culinary seems to be an important tourism pillar for St. Kitts in Canada. What are the destination’s key points of difference, both culinary and beyond?

“Our research into the Canadian market has highlighted a strong desire for unique culinary experiences and this aligns with the Canadian client being a more affluent traveller who is seeking to step away from an all inclusive experience and freely explore our diverse food scene. For example, visitors can enjoy one-of-a-kind experiences like dining at a field table in the rainforest at Belle Mont Farm, tasting our local Old Road Rum at a distillery that dates back to the 1600s, or dining on the beach under the stars at The Strip.

“Our Restaurant Week, held in July, is also unique in that we focus each year on a sustainable food staple grown on island that is incorporated into delicious dishes for visitors. With so much on offer we have developed a new Savour St. Kitts Culinary Guide, a pocket Restaurant Guide and a new Kittitian Cocktail Guide to help navigate the dynamic food scene.

“Culinary is a nice entry point for us with Canadian consumers, and then we further highlight our modern accommodations such as the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, the new luxury boutique Sunset Reef resort, stylish Koi Resort, and renovated St. Kitts Marriott to name just a few; signature events including the hugely successful St. Kitts Music Festival (June), the new Grill Fest and Eye Opener Cocktail events (November), and Sugar Mas Carnival (December); diverse attractions like the UNESCO World Heritage-designated site, Brimstone Hill, the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, Caribelle Batik authentic batik making, rainforest adventures like hiking and ziplining, myriad on-the-water experiences and so much more. Not to mention our dual island experience of visiting Nevis, just 10 minutes away by water.

“St. Kitts was also just awarded the title of the ‘Caribbean’s Leading Dive Destination’ at the World Travel Awards, the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’, so there are some very exciting things happening and we invite Canadians to discover all we have to offer.”


What is the St. Kitts’ message for travel agents going into the fall and what resources are available to them to help sell the destination?

“Travel agents are incredibly important partners as they help us share the unique story of the destination so we spent the last year in Canada really expanding our trade content and messaging through newsletters, sponsored articles and event communications so we could help increase their knowledge base.

“We will also be continuing to educate agents through regular webinars and trade trips, offer cash incentive opportunities through our specialists program, communicate hotel incentives, create seasonal promotions that excite visitors, and more. And, you will see a new Venture Deeper website, with new tools and new ways to learn about the destination. We are also being aggressive in the market with our partners such as Air Canada and we are thankful for their support and the support of the travel industry during a particularly challenging time. We are excited to move forward and embrace the future together as we share the unique St. Kitts experience.”


For more information: www.visitstkitts.com