Cruise tourism to St. Kitts is on a roll, and the growth in that sector over the past six years is forecast to continue, according to Ricky Skerritt, minister of tourism and international transport.
Cruise calls to St. Kitts in the 2011-2012 season brought more than 629,000 passengers to St. Kitts’ Port Zante cruise terminal, up from half a million the previous season.
Projections for the 2013-2014 season call for an increase to 650,000 passengers and to more than 700,000 in 2014-2015, Skerritt said.
In addition to increasing cruise passenger arrivals, the geographic markets are expanding, as well, with vessels hailing from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Annual cruise tourism expenditure also is up, increasing from $6.7 million in 2006 to $70.6 million in 2012, according to a study by U.S.-based research firm BREA. Average per-passenger spend doubled in the same period, to $108.90.
Skerritt attributed the sector growth to “our persistent sales calls as well as our focus on improving the destination product and service offerings. Cruise executives have indicated to me that St. Kitts has become an increasingly important port of call, one that helps them market their itineraries.”
Cruise calls in the 2013-2014 season include the arrival of four Seabourn Cruise Line vessels for the first time for a total of 29 calls next season, accounting for more than 6,000 passengers.
Pullmantur Cruises’ Horizon will make 22 weekly calls, marking the first Spanish cruise line to call in St. Kitts.
Two German-based lines will call, with Aida Cruises making 11 calls and TUI Cruises bringing back the Mein Schiff following a successful test season last year.
Costa Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney, Carnival and Royal Caribbean International have increased their calls next season, as well.