PM Douglas expresses satisfaction with progress at Kittitian Hill

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 2ND2012 (CUOPM) – Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has expressed satisfaction with the ongoing constriction of what is to become St. Kitts’ first five-star hotel.

The first phase – consisting of 90 cottages is to be opened in December of 2012.

“With regard to the residences and the hotel I am very impressed with what already has been achieved in the construction and the planned construction,” said Prime Minister Douglas following a visit to the construction site last Thursday.

“What is very impressive is the architectural design. The designer is one the world’s most sought after architect for resorts and I am very very impressed with what I have seen,” he said.

On the golf course under construction, Dr. Douglas, the Parliamentary Representative for the area, said during a visit six months ago, quite a bit of the earth works were being done on the golf course and it was taking shape.

“Today I think we can say with certainty that it has taken faith quite a bit of work that is now left to be done is really finalizing the preparation for the grassing and ensuring that the fairways etc are properly outlined

“I understand as well that the irrigation system needs to be put in and then will begin to I believe say grassing. I had the opportunity as well to visit the driving range. I have never seen anything like this before in terms of the panoramic views that it presents to the ocean beyond us and the offshore islands as well. I believe that is going to be one of the most impressive world-class golf courses in the Caribbean region and I am longing myself to have my first game of golf here at Kittitian Hill,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

Belmont Resort said Thursday that 35 cottages and 2 villas are in various stages of completion. The 18-hole Woosman-designed golf course is fifty percent completed and the driving range is 80 percent completed.

The new information on the number of cottages and villas under construction corrects CUOPM News Release 052/2012 dated January 24th 2012 which stated that 41-one bedroom, cottages were completed.

The information was based on a press release dated January 23rd 2012 issued by Adams Unlimited, the New York-based Public Relations firm on behalf of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority in which it sought to update the media on the tourism-related developments in St. Kitts.

CUOPM apologises for the incorrect information in that release and produces below the Adams Unlimited news release in its entirety:

St. Kitts Tourism Updates

What’s New and Noteworthy on Island

Basseterre, St. Kitts (January 23, 2012) – The St. Kitts Tourism Authority today announces the most recent tourism-related news, events, deals and developments from the island, as follows-

Visitor Arrivals:

Year-to-date December 31, 2011 arrivals show an increase in traffic of 10.7% from the North American source market as compared to YTD December 2010. Until the commencement of the Air Canada non-stop service from Toronto on Dec. 23, 2011, Canadian traffic flowed over US gateways; thus it is a North American count and not a US count. There has been across the board growth from all markets, with exceptional strength demonstrated in the Miami, FL and Charlotte, NC gateways and an uptick in arrivals from the upper mid-west due to new feeder market access resulting from the Delta/Northwest merger.

Airport Developments:

Private Jet Terminal – Groundbreaking is scheduled for February 3, 2012, marking the start of construction on this new world-class facility at St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. Completion is scheduled for October 2012. The private jet terminal will be located west of the main airport parking apron. It will consist of world class arrival and departure lounges, a business center, and related offices and processing facilities, as well as an elegantly landscaped courtyard and events center. The first phase of the development will feature the main tropical-styled and environmentally friendly terminal, valued at approximately US$6 million, with the total cost of the final project estimated at US$ 15 million. The terminal will be constructed and operated by Veling Limited with full ownership to be transferred to The St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) at the end of the concession contract period. Veling Limited is a global aviation solution provider based in Mauritius and London, England. The architect and interior decorator for the new terminal is internationally acclaimed Bobby Mukherji & Associates, recognized as one of India’s top ten design firms.

New Airport Processing System -In December 2011, St. Kitts introduced a new passenger processing system at Robert l. Bradshaw International Airport aimed at reducing hassle and improving the visitor experience, making the process of entering the country as comfortable and world-class as possible without compromising security and border requirements. The new system mirrors one that is used in the US, with arriving passengers receiving a primary and, if necessary, secondary inspection after going through immigration.

Open Skies Agreement with the US – On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, St. Kitts & Nevis became the first country in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to sign an Open Skies Agreement with the United States. The Federation is the 104th Open Skies partner of the US. An Open Skies Agreement is an international policy concept which calls for the liberalization of rules and regulations on the international aviation industry – thus opening a free market for the airline industry. Its primary objectives are to liberalize the rules for international aviation markets by removing unnecessary barriers and minimizing government intervention, making it as easy as possible for all air transport to self-initiate links to and from St. Kitts from all key source markets. A similar agreement is already in place with the UK. The agreement helps to establish rules to facilitate growth of an efficient, market-based aviation system, enhancing potential for business, investment, exports and tourism; and the strengthening of bilateral ties with the USA. Three US carriers – American Airlines, US Airways and Delta Airlines — operate scheduled service into St Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport.

New Attraction:

Located on picturesque South Friar’s Bay beach, the Carambola Beach Club is now open for lunch and dinner daily (reservations required). Holding a soft opening on December 3, 2011 with a Grand Opening scheduled for January 2012, it offers modern European cuisine with Caribbean influences created by Chef Dean Butler and Pastry Chef Cameron Steele, both formerly of Sandy Lane in Barbados. With a seating capacity of 180 people for in- and outdoor dining, one of Carambola’s defining features is its 4,000 bottle wine cellar with select vintages from nearly every wine-growing region in the world. Music from a Baby Grand piano provides elegant background music for diners. The palm-lined entrance leads guests to the interior, with its teak walls and rustic-elegant décor. A tapas menu will launch in December 2011, followed by a sushi/oyster bar. Plans are also in place to offer beach beds with butler service, a dedicated massage area with professional masseuse, snorkeling and various water sports.

New Event:

On March 30 and 31, 2012, the famous 1782 Great Siege of Brimstone Hill will be re-enacted for public viewing by the British Soldiers Fund. The battle will be re-enacted twice daily by the US-based reenactors at 11:00am and 2:00pm each day for a total of four times. Besides being fun for reenactors staged battles are often even more interesting for viewers since the battle is crafted for optimal dramatic effect. The reenactors will be dressed in full period regalia and use real weaponry, including authentic muskets, bayonets and cannons. The French forces attacked St. Kitts with 8,000 soldiers and 31 warships, forcing local militia to retreat to British Hill Fortress where with the garrison (altogether numbering less than 1,000) held out for four weeks of heavy artillery fire before they surrendered. The British soldiers Fund is a charitable organization that is dedicated to providing lifetime aid and support for British allied soldiers and their families. Admission to Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park during these two days will be $8 per person. On January 5, 2012, Brimstone Hill Fortress was named one of “10 Great Places To Explore The World’s Best-Kept Secrets” by USA Today. It is the only Caribbean attraction to be named to this list by the authors of the news article, who state, “It’s the most impressive of all the British forts I’ve seen in the Caribbean.”

New Trade Program:

Working in conjunction with Travel Agent University, St Kitts debuted the St. Kitts Agent Destination Specialist program on January 9, 2012. The program is designed to provide travel agents with a thorough understanding of St Kitts’ top selling features and booking basics as well as an ongoing dialogue with the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. Agents who complete the program will be more knowledgeable about the destination, therefore they will be better able to sell it to their clients and make successful bookings. Plus, graduating agents will enjoy exclusive benefits including: Additional incentives such as free stays for bookings made; Destination Specialist special phone access; exclusive E-mail-First to learn about specials; Preferred Agent listing on the St. Kitts website; a VIP Fam Trip; customer referrals; and 2 CEU’s from The Travel Institute (TTI) (USA) or 1 credit from Canadian Institute of Travel Counsellors (CITC). St. Kitts has built a dedicated online training program for the travel professional community through Travel Agent University, http://www.tauniv.com. Travel Agent University holds a user database of over 60,000 travel agent registrants who are active in their field.

New Resort Developments:

Christophe Harbour – Work is well underway on the mega-yacht marina, which has mooring capacity for seven super yachts and will welcome its first boats by February 2012. Christophe Harbour Development Company, Ltd (CHDC), led by Kiawah Development Partners (KDP), is the master developer for Christophe Harbour, a luxury resort development currently underway. Located on 2,500+ acres of the southeastern peninsula of St. Kitts, plans include a mega-yacht harbor, marina, Tom Fazio championship golf course and an impressive collection of restaurants, shops, boutiques, five-star hotels, oceanfront and hillside homesites and villas.

Kittitian Hill- Groundbreaking took place on November 6, 2010 and development continues at Kittitian Hill, with construction underway on the 90-room cottage hotel and Ian Woosnam designed golf course. Currently, 40 one bedroom cottages are completed as well as holes #1, #10 and #18 of the golf course. Phase One A opening, which includes the cottage hotel and golf course, is scheduled for December 2012. The Hotel Terrace Complex with main swimming pool and restaurants, the tennis courts and several villas will also be complete in the first phase. Construction of Phase 1B is scheduled to begin in 2013, which comprises the spa, fine dining restaurant, golf clubhouse, the artist village and more villas. Renowned architect Bill Bensley, who designed the Four Seasons tented camps at Chang Mai, has been added to the Kittitian Hill team and refined the development plan. Set on a stunning 400-acre hillside site in the Northern part of St. Kitts, Kittitian Hill will consist of a cottage style hotel, creative arts centre, golf course and destination spa featuring indigenous treatments. Sedona Resorts (known for the award-winning Enchantment Resort, Mi Amo Spa and more) is signed on to provide development, operations and marketing services support to Kittitian Hill. Kittitian Hill is a contemporary Caribbean community for sustainable luxury living founded on the principles of holistic development based on environmental and community responsibility. Most recently, Kittitian Hill has been added to the Preferred Residences® exchange network, a hospitality branded membership and exchange program for luxury shared ownership resorts offered by an operating business of Interval Leisure Group.

NOTE: The above developments have been approved for St. Kitts’ Citizenship by Investment Program
(Persons who make a minimum investment of US$350,000 in an approved project on island or a minimum contribution of US$200,000.00 into the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation will be entitled to apply for Citizenship in the Federation. As of January 1, 2012, the minimums will increase to US$400,000 and US$250,000, respectively).

Frigate Bay – The 64-room landmark property will undergo a full renovation and updating starting in May, 2012. Plans call for the creation of a stylish boutique hotel to add to the island’s growing hotel product by mid-2013. The architectural surveys have been completed and the plans are being finalized this month. Concurrently, the design team is working on room layout and the color scheme with renderings and boards coming in early 2012. The hotel will remain open for business during the current peak season rather than begin an extensive renovation at the start of St. Kitts’ busiest travel period. Enhancements to the public areas include upgrades of the exterior walls, new steps from the middle level to the top level of the resort, and more tropical landscaping to open up the vistas to the pool and the sea beyond and give the property a more spacious feel. The conference room and front desk area will be upgraded and boast a modern look and clean simple lines. Rooms will be outfitted with new balcony rails, windows, doors and sliding glass doors, new kitchens, bathroom tiles and new air conditioning units. New bedding, window treatments and upholstery in a soft Caribbean color palate will give the rooms a casual, contemporary feel. Handling the renovations are architectural firm Elmes & Associates and contractors are Moorjani Ltd, both based in St. Kitts.

Sustainable Tourism:

St. Kitts’ commitment to environmental sustainability continues, with two new developments in the fourth quarter of 2011. First, the area of St. Mary’s has been named a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, with the certificate of declaration presented to St. Kitts & Nevis at the 36th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 2011. According to UNESCO, it is an area of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems promoting solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. Home to sea turtle nesting and other indigenous plants and wildlife, the area will now be protected and preserved. Second, a project to install solar panels to provide electricity to Government headquarters on St. Kitts was completed in December 2011 as part of the Government’s objective to achieve a minimum 60% of its energy generation from the use of renewable energy sources by 2015. The 66 newly activated solar panels will produce 100 kilowatts of energy daily per five hours of constant sunshine so the Headquarters is now partially powered by solar energy. Due to the limited roof space, this project is meant to be a demonstration.

To help raise funds to build their Sea Turtle Interpretive Center, the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network (SKSTMN) is putting together a team to participate in the 10th Annual StarMile2.5 Nevis-St. Kitts Cross Channel Swim. This year’s open water swim is taking place on March 25, 2012. Originating on Oualie Beach on Nevis at 8:00am, swimmers compete to cross the 2.5 mile channel to finish at Cockleshell Beach on St. Kitts. Slower or less proficient swimmers may use fins and/or a snorkel mask. Entry fee is $50 and covers participation, rescue boats and kayaks, prizes and a post-swim breakfast party on St. Kitts as well as boat transportation from St. Kitts to Nevis before or after the swim. The SKSTMN is a community-based non-profit organization founded in January 2003 which monitors endangered nesting sea turtle populations & acts as an advocate for the strengthening of sea turtle protection laws. The Interpretative Center would act as a centralized base for SKSTMN’s operations, serving as an orientation center for tours and field trips, research station, gift shop and craft showcase. The project will cost an estimated $75,000 to complete. The SKSTMN has recently been named the recipient of a grant, along with two other projects in San Salvador (in the Bahamas) and Grenada, from CIBC First Caribbean Bank through a partnership with Seacology. The grant provides $63,000 to these three organizations over a three year period. Seacology is the only Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in the world whose sole focus is preserving island ecosystems and these are its first Caribbean projects.

Seasonal Island-Wide Special Offers:

“Feel the Warmth in St. Kitts & Nevis” – This destination-wide added value program is ideal for winter escapes. It includes 7 nights for the price of 6 (about 15% savings) or 6 nights for 4 or 5 (up to 33% savings) at participating hotels and either complimentary Continental breakfast daily, Food & Beverage credit or other inclusion; reduced airfares on flights booked in conjunction with a stay at a participating hotel via American Airlines’ AA Vacations, Delta Vacations or US Airways Vacations; a special discount card for savings at various island shops, in restaurants, on tours and more. The “Feel the Warmth of St. Kitts & Nevis offer is valid on new bookings made now through April 2, 2012 for travel between January 2, 2012 and April 8, 2013.

In Case You Missed It:

Air Canada – On July 14, 2011, St. Kitts & Nevis officially joined the Air Canada Vacations program and on Friday, Dec. 23, Air Canada landed at the Robert Bradshaw International Airport for its inaugural flight to the Federation. One hundred twenty passengers and crew were carried on the flight, with the next two flights also booked to capacity. The weekly non-stop flight operates from Toronto on Fridays. It is the island’s only non-stop commercial flight from Canada, effectively making St. Kitts and its sister island, Nevis, a more viable winter destination choice for travelers from this key North American market. Air Canada flight AC1778 departs Toronto (YYZ) at 8:40 a.m. and arrives into St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport at 2:40 p.m. on Fridays. The same-day return flight AC1779 departs St. Kitts at 3:40 p.m. and arrives into Toronto at 8:00 p.m. Air Canada is using an Airbus 319 aircraft with 108 Economy Class and 12 Business Class seats for this flight.

Allure of the Seas – On December 30, 2011 at 8:00 am, the world’s largest cruise ship, Allure of the Seas, docked in St. Kitts on its inaugural call to Port Zante. Royal Caribbean’s 225,282-ton, 5,400-passenger vessel was welcomed in grand style, with roads in down-town Basseterre closed to vehicular traffic to allow for cultural dance presentations by local folklore groups. St. Kitts’ cruise passenger arrival numbers have increased steadily over the past four years and a 5th consecutive year of arrivals growth in the cruise sector is projected. Cruise visitor arrivals to St. Kitts are expected to increase by more than 20 percent in the upcoming October 2011 – September 2012 cruise season. Based on berthing bookings so far, the island has projected that more than 650,000 cruise passengers will arrive to St. Kitts by September 2012. Royal Caribbean-owned ships are currently scheduled to make a total of 42 port calls to St Kitts in the 2011-2012 season, up from 20 calls in the 2010-2011 season. For 2011/2012 cruise ship season, St. Kitts will see inaugural calls from 11 new vessels (including those on a one-time call or schedule): Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas; Carnival Valor, Celebrity Silhouette, Mein Schiff 2, Saga Ruby, Seabourn Quest, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and Costa Cruises’ Thomson Dream.

St. Kitts was named one of the “Top 12 Spots that should be on your list for 2012” by Caribbean Travel + Life magazine and the island’s Brimstone Hill Fortress was named one of “10 Great Places To Explore The World’s Best-Kept Secrets” by USA Today. As of summer 2011, the destination also ranks #1 on a list of the 16 Best Caribbean Vacations by US News & World Report. Last year, St. Kitts was named a top destination for 2011 by both AOL Travel and British Airways. Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history. The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean, and more traditional vacation pastimes such as water sports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on one of the island’s sandy beaches. Accommodations range from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels and resorts.

For more information about St. Kitts, please contact the St. Kitts Tourism Authority toll free from the US at 1-800-582-6208 or from Canada 1-888-395-4887, e-mail info@stkittstourism.kn, visit www.stkittstourism.kn, or connect on Facebook, Twitter and/or YouTube.

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