St Kitts & Nevis: The Cure For “All-Inclusive Fatigue”
with Kerry Sharpe
Jack Widdowson (L), marketing officer and Paul Minich, market consultant for the St. Kitts Tourism Authority.
Cooking up that day’s lunch.
Tina the Travel Agent was also in attendance.
The St. Kitts Tourism Authority recently hosted a group of Toronto-based travel agents and trade media to an afternoon of Kittitian delights, inviting guests to not only sample dishes from various restaurants on St. Kitts, but to also have a hand in creating them.
Held at Cirillo Culinary Academy in Toronto’s west end, it was an event that was all about showcasing the tastes of St. Kitts & Nevis, while also highlighting everything that is – and importantly,isn’t – changing about the destination.
“The number one question I get is: “Has St. Kitts changed?” And I have a very clear and concise answer: “Absolutely and absolutely not,” said Paul Minich, market consultant for the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “The ‘absolutely not’ part is because St. Kitts has that authentic, quintessential Caribbean experience. It’s underdeveloped, it’s not one hotel, after another hotel, after another hotel, after a plaza – it’s a destination that’s really untouched, and has beauty, heritage, history and culture… St. Kitts is the same thing it has been forever: a beautiful destination.
“But the ‘absolutely’ part is because things are changing,” continued Minich. “St. Kitts is very rapidly turning into an emerging luxury destination. When you look at the bits and pieces that define tourism for St. Kitts moving forward, you’re going to see luxury; you’re going to see an exquisite experience.”
According to Minich, the destination is also the antidote to what he calls “all-inclusive fatigue.”
“I think you can categorize travellers into two simple groups: those that love all-inclusive environments, and those travellers that have different expectations and say “I’m suffering from all-inclusive fatigue; I’m looking for a destination that doesn’t have a compound, doesn’t have a fence around it, and has this amazing culinary scene,” pointing out that this is exactly what St. Kitts provides.
A few of the luxury-focused highlights on offer in the destination, include:
The YU Lounge at the airport which features an infinity pool, viewing deck, food and champagne as you wait for your luggage to arrive and paperwork to be processed;
Belle Monte Farm which features villas in the rainforest, private plunge pool and a farm-to-table culinary offering;
The new Park Hyatt (the first in the Caribbean) which features suites with views across the Narrows to neighbouring Nevis;
St. Kitts Marriott, which is now undergoing a renovation and refurbishment;
Four Seasons Resort in Nevis, which is also undergoing renovations over the summer;
Montpelier, a unique boutique property that is “very upscale, very upmarket.”
This trend towards luxury continues with Ritz-Carlton just recently announcing that they too will commence construction on a resort there with a scheduled opening slated for 2021. Six Senses has also made a commitment to build on the island, also with a projected opening in 2021, and Koi Hotel will open sometime in 2019.
And seguing to cuisine, “You can’t build accommodations like that and not have matching culinary options,” said Minich. Who then mentioned a few standouts when it comes to dining – the Parabola Beach Club, and the Stone Bar and Fisherman’s Village at the Park Hyatt, among them – before it was all hands on deck to cook up the Kittitian dishes for that day’s lunch.
Commenting on how well the Canadian market has been doing for the market, Minich pointed to Air Canada’s expanded service this winter – operating from 30NOV, 2018 through to the end of April – as proof of the demand for the destination.