By Gay Nagle Myers
FREEPORT, Bahamas -- Despite a 30% drop in visitors from North
America and a similar drop from Europe since Sept. 11, St. Kitts
has several reasons for optimism this winter, according to Cliff
Hamilton, who takes office Jan. 1 as director of tourism at the St.
Kitts Tourism Authority.
"We have had our challenges, but we are hopeful that new air
service, a new hotel and a new attraction will boost our
visibility," Hamilton said.
• US Airways launches nonstop Saturday service Dec. 7 from
Philadelphia to St. Kitts. The new service also signals the arrival
of US Airways Vacations and GWV International programs.
• The 471-room Marriott Royal St. Kitts Beach Resort will open
Feb. 22, which will increase the number of hotel rooms by 40%.
• The St. Kitts Scenic Railway National Tour will roll down the
30-mile narrow-gauge track for the first time in mid-December. The
10-car, two-deck, 280-seat train will use the same railway built in
1912 to deliver sugar cane from the plantation fields to the sugar
mill in Basseterre.
Two narrated excursions will be offered each day.
The St. Kitts Scenic Rail Tour (three hours, 10 minutes) departs
from Needsmust Station near Basseterre, heads north
counter-clockwise along the coast and back to the starting
A longer version (3 hours, 50 minutes) stops midpoint at
Brimstone Hill Fortress before completing the tour. Tour prices are
$89.50 and $123, respectively, and are commissionable at 10%. A
child's fare for those ages 12 and under is half the adult
For cruise passengers, the ticket price includes the transfer
from the cruise pier.
A nighttime three-hour dinner tour, priced at $89, could be
added in January, according to Steven Hites, president and director
of St. Kitts Scenic Railway.
Information about the railway is online at www.stkittsscenicrailway.com.