PS Henry-Morton says Tourism Ministry intends to “drill down” on job creation and retention, retooling and upskilling of tourism workers
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS & NEVIS — With the recent return of cruise tourism to the country, the government is focusing on how it can seize the momentum to introduce new business models and promote job creation in a way that truly revitalizes the industry.
This is according to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Carlene Henry-Morton, who pledged the ministry’s commitment to “drill down on job creation and retention, retooling and upskilling of our stakeholders and our operators — persons who provide goods and services in the sector”.
“The past 18 months of the pandemic…have crystallized for all of us the critical importance of this very transversal tourism sector and its undisputed social, cultural, political and economic value, especially as we continue the journey of recovery, gaining momentum in resetting and recalibrating how we conduct the business of tourism,” Henry-Morton said.
She added, “We want to help ourselves and our stakeholders to adapt to new business models that are emerging and we want to place greater emphasis on innovation and creativity so that we remain competitive and appealing as a destination.
“We want to make sure that we continue to generate decent livelihoods for our citizens and we have to begin to adjust our attitudes, our actions [and] our ways of doing business in this sector to meet the demands of a transformed and ever-changing tourism landscape.”
Speaking directly to the question of job creation and retention within the tourism industry, Henry-Morton revealed that her ministry, along with the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, has turned its focus onto developing domestic tourism.
As she credited domestic tourists with keeping many hoteliers and hospitality/accommodations business operators afloat during the pandemic, the permanent secretary acknowledged, “I am not saying that the returns are going to be as necessarily as high as if you’re getting the U.S. dollar, but it is something that will help you to stay open.
“It is something that would help you to keep persons employed. Even if it is three days out of the week, it is something instead of going home entirely.”
Henry-Morton expressed optimism that “if we can get our providers, our stakeholders and our operators properly trained, skilled and understanding the business of how you expand your product and your services”, domestic tourism is “an excellent avenue for us to begin to pursue”.