Competitive edge is good for St. Kitts and Nevis, says PM Douglas

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 7TH2012 (CUOPM) – The importance of maintaining that competitive edge for the good of the country has drawn a comment from St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.

Speaking during his weekly radio call-in programme Tuesday, Prime Minister Douglas praised the Customs and Immigration departments for new procedures recently introduced and which have been welcomed by residents and visitors alike.

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (second from left) and Financial Secretary Mrs. Janet Harris (second from the right) cut the ribbon to implement the new Customs procedures at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. Left is Deputy Comptroller Mr. Georid Belle and Right is Comptroller of Customs, Mr. Rodney Harris. (Photo by Erasmus Williams)

“I don’t know how many of you have travelled recently, but I am certain that if you have, you noticed the dramatically improved efficiency once you land at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. The Immigration process is more efficient, and almost before you are able to arrive at the Customs desk, your bags are now already in the terminal, ready to be picked up. People from both St. Kitts and Nevis had told me what a stress-reliever this has proven to be,” said Dr. Douglas.

“It is most welcomed and it has cut down on the time we wait inside the arrivals hall and departing to be greeted by our relatives and friends,” a local resident wrote to Prime Minister Douglas recently.

“I want to applaud Prime Minister Douglas and Minister Skerritt for the customs and immigration improvements at the R. L. Bradshaw Airport. In the past it may have taken us 2 hours to clear customs (with nothing to declare) but this time we were through in less than 15 minutes – a real pleasure,” a visitor wrote to the Office of the Prime Minister recently.

“We love the Island and all its’ people. Everyone we’ve met is gracious and helpful. We are planning to return in January 2013,” the visitor said.

Prime Minister Douglas said regardless of what might be doing internally, however, there must be another key component to the efforts and that is to ensure that those who are in a position to recommend one travel destination over another are keenly aware of who and what we are as a country, as a travel destination, as the place where travel expenditures should be directed.

He said the St. Kitts Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism, under the leadership of the Honorable Ricky Skerrit, have launched the St. Kitts Agent Destination Program, the sole objective of which is to ensure that travel agents – worldwide – know everything there is to know about St. Kitts.

“We have done this in collaboration with Travel Agency University, which has a database of some 60,000 travel agents. But in addition, we know that this is the real world. More pointedly, this is the real world in terms of marketplace competition, and so we have also put in place incentive programs for the travel agents themselves – such as free stays for bookings made, and other perks – to ensure that those opportunities that I referred to earlier, those opportunities that have a direct and positive economic consequence for people in Keys, and Saddlers, and Newton Ground, and Basseterre, continue,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

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