New nonstop interCaribbean Airways flights between Barbados and St. Kitts are being hailed by tourism stakeholders as a step in the right direction to solve to the connectivity challenges facing the region.
Although the new thrice-weekly service connecting the popular destinations does not provide a permanent solution to what has been become somewhat of a crisis in Caribbean aviation, officials are upbeat about the new flights, which also connect to service to Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Guyana.
The new interCaribbean flights, which began at the weekend, will serve the route on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“Today is a momentous occasion in aviation for the Eastern Caribbean,” said Lyndon Gardiner, Chairman of interCaribbean Airways, who was especially thankfully to the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Terrance Drew, for his vision to find solutions for reliable, more efficient regional travel, and Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, and her tourism team for allowing the airline to support regional airlift from Barbados, where interCaribbean launched its Eastern Caribbean operations in 2020.
The airline chairman also recognized Chief Executive Officer of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, “who has kept the fire burning under me insisting that St. Kitts must be added to our route map … today, we are here delivering on that promise of new services to and from this twin-island federation.”
Thompson said the St. Kitts Tourism Authority continues to prioritize the increase of stayover visitation to the destination. “With the successful launch of our ‘Venture Deeper’ campaign, we are moving in the right direction. We are delighted to welcome new airlift to St. Kitts, especially at this critical time when regional connectivity has been limited. interCaribbean’s service allows (us) to capitalize on the regional market as the destination can now implement key marketing strategies to make the Caribbean region our second largest market once again.”
In addition to inaugural celebrations in Basseterre, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority in conjunction with interCaribbean and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) hosted a promotional event at Hilton Barbados Resort with travel and tour operators in attendance.
Thompson believes the new flights will allow this spring and summer “to be one like no other,” noting that Kittitians “look forward to limin’ with a growing number of visitors from around the region in the months to come.”
The 25th anniversary of the St. Kitts Music Festival will be one such activity for regional fellowship, featuring a dazzling lineup of musical artists performing from June 22-24 for a weekend of soul, soca, jazz, R&B and reggae at Warner Park.
Performers will include Chronixx, Koffee, Govana, Skillibeng, Air Supply, Valiant, Patrice Roberts, Skinny Fabulous, Byron Messia, and Grand Masters Band.
“For more than two decades, the St. Kitts Music Festival has anchored our island’s position as a music center of the Caribbean. Our mix of internationally renowned artists and exceptional regional and local talent draws visitors from around the globe to St. Kitts,” said Marsha Henderson, Minister of Tourism, International Transport, Civil Aviation, Urban Development, Employment and Labor. “The weekend of events becomes more spectacular every year, and each year delivers a tremendous positive impact on our local economy.”
“We look forward to welcoming visitors back for the top musical event in the Caribbean,” noted Thompson. “Summertime in St. Kitts is full of celebrations and events that showcase the island’s welcoming spirit, local culture and vibrant energy. There is no event better than the Music Festival to jumpstart our Summer of Fun.”