Riding a wave of hotel developments, a 6.5% increase in air arrivals in 2014 over 2013 and a projected rise of 31.5% in cruise passenger arrivals, which would top 1 million this season, St. Kitts is well positioned for a "strong, solid year of growth," according to Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority.
The drumstick-shaped island in the eastern Caribbean and neighboring Nevis constitute one country called the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Although a recent election replaced the party that had held court for 20 years, Brown is confident that the momentum that has attracted visitors and investors in recent years will continue.
"St. Kitts is in a good place now, although we always push for more airlift," Brown said.
Ease of connectivity and access, coupled with an authentic product offering and marketing initiatives that target specific sectors, are key to the destination's growth, according to Brown.
Currently, Delta offers Saturday flights year round from Atlanta; US Airways has a weekly nonstop from Charlotte; American has a weekly nonstop from New York Kennedy and a daily flight from Miami. Seaborne Airlines has daily service to the island from San Juan.
New resort development includes Belle Mont Farm at Kittitian Hill, the first chapter of a contemporary, sustainable Caribbean community, set on 400 acres on St. Kitts' northern tip.
The first 134 rooms of the 200-room Park Hyatt at Banana Bay on the southeastern peninsula are scheduled for completion early next year.
Construction is underway on the 298-unit Koi Resort & Residences in the Frigate Bay area adjacent to the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club. Opening is targeted for late this year.
Also on tap are Pelican Bay Resort, a condo/hotel mix with 210 units, two infinity pools and two restaurants, and Imperial Bay Beach & Golf Residences, adjacent to the Koi site.
"By 2017, room stock in both St. Kitts and Nevis will total 2,000 rooms, up from the 1,400 we now have," Brown said.
Christophe Harbour, the 2,500-acre luxury residential resort development on the southeastern peninsula, opened its 24-slip marina last month for megayachts, marking completion of phase one of the project.
Salt Plage, one of Christophe Harbour's two beach clubs, opened last year; it has a dock located around an old salt factory at Whitehouse Bay.