While there are ongoing speculations as to when exactly cruise ships are expected to return in full to St. Maarten, the Federation of St. Kitts/ Nevis is forecasting a massive injection of near $ 200 M in their economy during the period of November 2017 thru January 2018. The National Newspaper of St. Kitts/Nevis reported that the Honorable Minister of Tourism Lindsay Grant in a sitting of Parliament credit the increase to a booming cruise tourism industry there.
It could be safely adjudicated that since the passing of Irma, cruise tourism has shifted from St. Maarten to other parts of the Caribbean including St. Kitts/Nevis, since we were in no position to host these Cruise Liners. This was not mention as one of the reason for the sudden increase of cruise visitors to St. Kitts, but could have very well been the reason. The Minister of Tourism in St. Kitts also boasted that never before has this been seen in the history of their cruise industry.
St. Marten over the years has been able to build up a cruise tourism product and infrastructure that was able to attract the amount of cruise traffic it enjoyed as one of the leaders in the industry but as a result of the hurricanes in September it changed the itinerary of all these ships scheduled to visit St. Maarten, to another countries in the region. St Kitts could easily be one of those countries benefiting, thanks to Irma.
The Business Research and Economic Advisors Report in St. Kitts reported every visitor to St. Kitts spends about $ 111.00 and the 14 ships that will visit in one week alone is unprecedented. Grant says in November they are expecting 76 calls, in December 115 and in January 88 calls. “Therefore between November, December and January, Their economy will see almost $ 200 M pumped into it and that is fantastic news for St. Kitts & Nevis” the Minister said.
St. Maarten on the other hand, has dropped from the number one destination of choice for cruise visitors to almost no ships at all after Irma; there is no wonder St. Kitts can boast of their booming cruise industry and that is until St. Maarten could be back up on its feet again. A slow and soft return of cruise ships are already on schedule for December onwards.