Nevis eyes 'natural' expansion By Gay Nagle Myers / July 19, 2001 Share 1 -- CHARLESTOWN, Nevis -- Promoting and expanding tourism this summer and fall are the short-term goals of the recently created Nevis Tourism Authority, whose new campaign carries the slogan, "Nevis ... Naturally!" Helen Kidd, the authority's chief executive officer, is a longtime resident who has worked in the hotel and hospitality industry in Nevis as well as in St. Kitts, Canada and her native Scotland.She also served two terms as president of the St. Kitts/Nevis Hotel Association, was the general manager of four properties on St. Kitts and Nevis and ran a hospitality marketing firm with worldwide clients."Hoteliers in Nevis wanted a private-sector tourism organization," Kidd said, noting the tourism authority includes four hoteliers, a travel agent, a representative of the construction industry and a funeral director.The hoteliers on Nevis' board represent the Four Seasons Nevis and three plantation inns -- Hermitage, Golden Rock and Mount Nevis.The tourism authority is temporarily housed in offices on Main Street in Charlestown, until restoration is completed on a historic building which will serve as the authority's permanent office."I would like to increase visitor arrivals without jeopardizing the integrity of Nevisians while protecting the natural environment of the destination," Kidd said.Tourism arrivals for St. Kitts and Nevis are not broken out separately; the most current statistics available indicate that visitor figures for the first half of 2000 were down substantially compared with the same period a year earlier.However, Four Seasons Nevis, which accounts for the bulk of hotel rooms on the island, was closed for a year following Hurricane Lenny and did not reopen until last November.The loss of that resort's inventory of 196 rooms severely impacted tourist arrivals and tourism numbers.Nevis' total room count is slightly under 400 rooms in 11 properties.Kidd said the U.S. and Canadian markets account for the highest numbers of visitors, followed by visitors from Europe and inter-Caribbean travel."Business from the U.S. is down this year because of high air fares," Kidd said. "Europe arrivals are also down because of lack of air lift."Most visitors arrive in Nevis via a ferry connection from St. Kitts.However, the runway on Nevis has been extended to handle the small Dash-8 aircraft, which makes interisland connections easier and faster. A new terminal building will open in October.The tourism authority said it is hopeful that in the future, service could start from San Juan to Nevis via American Eagle as well as expanded service on Caribbean Star from San Juan and Antigua.The organization is looking at traditional and nontraditional markets as sources of new revenue, according to Kidd.These include soft-adventure travel, golf, horse racing, heritage and cultural tours and sports tourism, including the dive market.In addition, sales blitzes are planned in key U.S. cities targeting retail agents, wholesalers and airline partners.