(FILE IMAGE - CTO 2010, BARBADOS) “Collectively, visitors to St. Kitts and Nevis spend approximately EC$500 million in our economy each year,” Minister Skerritt disclosed. “This expenditure creates and supports thousands of jobs and spreads benefits throughout our economy through the buying and selling of various goods and services that supply the needs of our visitors and sustain the tourism sector as a whole.”

St Kitts’ Minister of Tourism Honourable Richard Skerritt has called on residents to protect the brand of his federation as a top destination that provides a valuable and effective retreat for visitors wishing to escape from the stresses of the cities and towns they live in.

During a radio address to commemorate November’s designation as Tourism Awareness Month, Minister Skerritt noted that the attractive offerings of the twin island Federation continues to resonate regionally and internationally particularly in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe and further afield. As such, he stressed that “the tourism sector is vitally important to our country and we all need to better understand support and protect tourism as one of the key drivers of the economy.”

Practical examples of the trickle-down effect of the tourist dollar were given including one which highlighted a front desk clerk at a hotel who directly benefits from visitor expenditure which helps to pay her wages. That clerk in turn may apply for a loan from a local financial institution. The employee at the lending agency that approves that loan benefits as interest revenue will accrue on the loan. The bank employee benefits from tourism indirectly by serving the needs of his customer whose income comes directly from tourism.

The multiplier effect from tourism-related expenditure impacts production in a number of sectors in the economy such as agriculture, local fisheries, handicraft, entertainment, real estate, engineering and construction,” stressed Minister Skerritt. “Tourism has therefore become important for all of us in some form or fashion. That is why the theme chosen for Tourism Awareness Month is ‘Tourism is Key for All of Us.’”

He added “Whether our guests come here as hotel, condominium or villa guests, or as cruise passengers, or as international students and faculty of offshore universitiesno matter where they come fromthey all want to be treated as if they are welcome here and expect that our people are happy to be their hosts.”

My hope is that as many of us as possible will use this Tourism Awareness Month to learn more about our country, the business of tourism and the needs of our customers.”

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