On Site: St. Kitts Looks to Improve Agent Involvement

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – As part of our ongoing coverage of the CTO Leadership Strategy Conference, Travel Agent attended a St. Kitts press conference Saturday morning and learned that the island is aggressively seeking agents who know how to sell the small island and its sister island of Nevis.

Travel Agent spoke to Minister of Tourism Ricky Skerritt and asked him about the destination's need for direct agent booking since a recent survey showed that 82 percent of visitors to the island book some of their trips online.

“We know that, over the last year or so, the travel agent has become a powerful force again,” Skerritt says. “We’ve been hunting out those who are good at selling the Caribbean. We see them emerging in the future.”

And one reason Skerritt anticipates agents becoming a key factor in St. Kitts tourism is because of all the luxury products the destination plans to be getting soon and luxury is something that is less likely to be booked online.

For starters, construction began in August on the Beach Club at Sandy Bank Bay at the long-awaited Christophe Harbor development. The 9,4000 square-foot, open-air venue will include a swimming pool, changing area and covered beach bar and grill. The Beach Club is expected to open in the first half of next year, Skerritt says.

Development has recommenced on the site of Kittitian Hill, with the ground having been cleared for the golf course and some villas. Construction on the first unit is set to begin later this month and roads are being cleared. Progress continues toward the scheduled Phase One opening in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Visit www.stkittstourism.kn.

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