The government of St Kitts/Nevis has invested heavily in sports tourism and has used cricket, and the current Caribbean Premier League tournament in particular, as a major tool to attract visitors to the island.
However, St Kitts/Nevis hotelier Steve Tyson believes otherwise and says he is yet to see the rewards on this investment. Speaking to Guardian Media as the CPL moved to the island for another stop during last week, he said: “We have not seen a major increase in tourist arrivals with the cricket coming here. I don’t know the exact reason but the government has been trying through sports tourism to boost the sector.”
The island’s CPL franchise team, the St Kitts Nevis Patriots, are currently fourth on the six-team table with eight points but have already played all their home matches.
Tyson, who is the general manager of the very popular Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI), said Caribbean travellers prefer his establishment because it is smack in the city centre of Basseterre.
“Our hotel is right in the middle of the city and this helps with our occupancy. However, cricket has not really helped us,” he said, noting this season was yet another case in point.
His assistant manager, Twyla Amory, believes sports tourism is the way to go for the country but also pointed out that the CPL is yet to pay dividends in this regard.
“We are hoping that we can get an increase in arrivals here because of cricket. I know that these things take time but we are hopeful that the effort being made by the government to increase the arrivals impact us,” Amory said.
“We are heavily preferred by regional travellers because of our wonderful and very reasonable packages, we want that to benefit the cricket-loving people as well. Business people always come to us, what we want is the cricket crowd when there is cricket on the island.”
To give the hotel an extra boost, Amory said they are now planning specials for next season’s CPL action.
“We are going to embark on a campaign of special deals to get in the cricket crowd.
“We want to give them something special just to say thank you for coming to our beautiful country.”