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Eastern Caribbean Institute of Tourism works to develop yachting sector
Published on November 11, 2016 Email To Friend    Print Version


CASTRIES, St Lucia -- Many territories in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have intensified efforts to develop their maritime sector, given the enormous economic potential of the expanding luxury yachting sector. At the regional level, the OECS Commission has also spared no effort in making the yachting sector a priority on the Tourism Work Programme with the establishment of a Yachting Committee, about five years ago, and the coordination of joint promotion of the yachting sector at International Boat Shows.

At the national level, there have also been, in recent years, considerable marine infrastructural improvements. One of the most recent developments in this regard is the Christophe Harbour Marina in St Kitts and Nevis, which officially opened in 2015.

Christophe Harbour promotes its facility as providing elite luxury yachting services and world class amenities. The marina, which was developed by a super yacht owner, represents a $100 million infrastructure investment that establishes St Kitts and Nevis as a major super yacht home port. The first phase of the marina includes 24 alongside 45 metre to 67 metre berths that offer freehold berth ownership opportunities and can accommodate for 25.9 metre to 91.4 metre yachts. When completed, the luxury marina development will include a shore side marina village with hotels, restaurants and boutiques.

Last year, super yacht traffic increased by 60% in St Kitts and Nevis. The twin island state also accommodated 134 yachts of more than 100ft in length. These numbers were consistent with the anticipated 20 percent year-over-year growth of the super yacht industry in the federation.

As investment in the maritime sector expands, the need for more skilled personnel to service the sector also increases. On October 26, Christophe Harbour held a job fair, in an effort to recruit persons for employment in the maritime sector. Available positions included marina dockhands; marina maintenance engineers; and marina guest services. Such specialized skills are deemed to be lacking in the region.

The OECS Eastern Caribbean Institute of Tourism (ECIT) is designed to address these skill-gaps in the region. ECIT is conceptualised as an integrated system, characterised by centres of specialisation that operate in hospitality training institutes in each of the OECS member states.

“Each member state of the OECS will specialise in a niche area in tourism that reflects the respective comparative advantage of each destination,” OECS tourism programme officer, Lorraine Nicholas, said.

“The British Virgin Islands deemed to be the ‘sailing capital of the world’ will specialize in marine management, boat repairs and maintenance whilst St Vincent and the Grenadines, another of the region’s well-known sailing destinations will offer the specialisation of marine and coastal tourism. The ECIT is definitely well-poised to enhance the availability of skills in the region’s maritime sector,” Nicholas added.
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Peter Binose:

One of the silliest ideas of the Gonsalves/Francis dynasty is to turn the airfield at Arnos Vale into a city. There are not enough Vincentians on the rock to support another or an extension to Kingstown. Building a new town will destroy the old City and all the traders there. There are only enough shoppers to go around, there will be no increase in numbers. Our traditional traders may well perish unless of course they are all powerful like the Bajans that own Coreas Hazel Inc who can afford to relocate or even have duel locations, all the rest I fear may perish. So new operators and store owners will be attracted to the new site from other islands and the old Kingstown ones dumped on the scrap heap. You may well ask why the dynasty has chosen to do such a dastardly thing. It’s because they want the cash from land sales to go once again into the airport at Argyle. But that’s only my take on it, it was suggested to me it is because some hanky panky is going on, but I have discounted that idea because we all know that could never happen.

A far better scheme would have been to dig out and build a huge cruise ship port with a collection of shops and services around the sides. When you see the volume of cruise ships that visit all the other islands you wonder what we are doing wrong. But we all know the answer to that without me saying it.

But I suppose as long as we have a family using the island as their private plantation and the people as their slaves we will have to put up with whatever they choose for us. We simply have no say and no right of opinion on the matter.

The first to fall will be the cinema at Stoney Ground owned by the Russell’s. They are about to be well and truly shafted regardless of all they have put into SVG over the years.


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