the Saint Kitts and Nevis government has launched a Yachting Sector Implementation Plan for the period 2017-2022 which looks to put into the practice the key areas outlined for development in the previous document. The aim is to utilise the yachting industry to diversify and strengthen the national economy, building on the nation states already established land-based and cruise tourism. The implementation plan aims to develop the effectiveness of the island’s entry procedures, provide work and income to the local community and bolster the competitiveness of its products, services and infrastructure in a manner that is both sustainable economically and environmentally.
“It is important to consider the history of St. Kitts and Nevis. Until recently, the islands had no experience of yachting, it was only the development of Christophe Harbour that clearly established the need for a recognised economic plan relating to yachting,” starts Aeneas Hollins, director of yachting at Christophe Harbour. “Fortunately, the island’s government and industry is very familiar economic diversification and the need to generate economic sub-sectors as a means of ensuring sustainable growth. From five years ago until now, the yachting sector in St. Kitts and Nevis is unrecognisable.”
Until recently, holistic government backed plans to develop the yachting market in St. Kitts and Nevis have been mostly theoretical, starting in earnest with the development of the National Yachting Policy in 2014, the first document that garnered government support for the development of a domestic yachting market. There was of course during this period the development of private investments, most notably Christophe Harbour, the renowned superyacht marina. However, little beyond voiced and printed support had materialised.
“Upon completion of the Strategic Plan we quickly realised that what we were in need of was budget and accountability, otherwise the project would remain a labour of love on the part of certain ministry officials and various stakeholders like myself and Christophe Harbour,” continues Hollins. “The next step was to develop an action plan that outlined deliverables and year-on-year focusses, all of which have been outlined in the implementation plan.”
With the launch of the implementation plan the St. Kitts and Nevis government, in partnership with major stakeholders in the region, has created 10 working groups, focussing on areas such as safety, security, data, finance and budget, that have developed actionable plans to effectively move forward the progress of the yachting market in the area and, for the first time, budget has been allocated to the project on the part of the government. While the budget allocated remains a fraction of the necessary capital required to kick start rapid development, it constitutes a massive milestone for the region and remains a clear signal of the government’s commitment to the project.