St. Kitts Study Shows Local Desire for Community-Centric Tourism

St. Kitts Study Shows Local Desire for Community-Centric Tourism

The results of the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism’s resident perception of tourism have been released. The purpose of the study was to understand resident priorities and sentiment towards tourism in order to inform policy and strategy moving forward.

Over the past four years, positive perceptions of tourism have declined, but residents still believe that tourism is important and that they want to grow it.

St. Kitts and Nevis is heavily dependent on tourism. The industry contributed over half of the country’s GDP before the Pandemic hit. The potential for tourism to benefit the island’s residents is substantial. Escalating costs of living, environmental degradation and a loss of cultural authenticity can be created by the industry without proper planning and input from locals. The St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism is committed to working with its residents to address the gaps.

The results of the survey show a desire for increased focus on activities that improve the lives of locals, rather than just cater to tourist needs. Supporting local businesses, ensuring resident health, protecting natural resources, and preserving St. Kitts’ cultural heritage are included in this.

There are opportunities where more can be done to address residents priorities and needs. 87 percent of residents think it’s important to support local businesses, but only 26 percent think this need is being met. Three-quarters of residents want community involvement in tourism development decisions, but only one-third feel that their opinion makes a difference

According to the survey, residents see tourism as a career opportunity in St. Kitts. One-quarter of the residents who do not work in tourism have an interest in careers in that field. 70 percent of residents are interested in furthering their skills through tourism career training, which is why they want to work in the industry.

The need for constant engagement of our residents and citizens on matters pertaining to tourism has been confirmed by this survey. Carlene Henry-Morton is the permanent secretary for the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism. By adopting an inclusive and collaborative approach we are better equipped to make informed decisions about workforce development and training, to develop mechanisms for supporting local businesses and to craft policies which reflect our pro-people, pro-planet, balanced agenda for a bright and prosperous future in tourism. We will use the data gathered to chart our course for the next few years.

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