With tourism being the most important industry on the island, Brantley said, all resources should be geared toward the generation of activity in that sector. The tourism minister explained to the HTA that the Nevis Island Administration felt that for some time now, tourism had not been given first priority on the island of Nevis.
“..It is very important to restore tourism to the top of the heap …in so far as our economy is concerned. Nevis has for many years prided itself as an upscale jurisdiction where we offer something of a particular value to our clients, and which encourages our clients to come, a particular type of clientele… The reality is that we are trying to put ourselves in a particular niche market and that is an upscale destination.”
Brantley said, being in the middle of the tourism season, the NIA the felt it would useful to get some notion of how well the hotels are doing and what can be done to help them, in terms of marketing efforts.
Minister Brantley explained that being new to government and the Ministry of Tourism in particular, he is willing to glean ideas from the HTA and be guided by its members.
“I want the hotel association to treat me as if I am a blank page. The reason for that is that I have lots of ideas of my own, but having not had any experience or expertise in your industry, the approach that we wish to take, at the ministry, is to listen to you, to take guidance from you,” he said.
The tourism minister gave the assurance that he is willing to assist individual tourism providers to upgrade their properties and will provide the necessary incentives to facilitate the improvements.
“Part of my mandate as the new minister is to continually work with the tourism providers and to seek to do what we can to partner with you every step of the way… I think, in me, you will find someone who is prepared to communicate, prepared to talk things through and so we can move forward as a body.”
Minister Brantley said the purpose of taking all of these measures is to help “Nevis to regain its pride of place at the top of the luxury market in the Caribbean. I think we enjoyed that at one point and that certainly is where we want to position ourselves again.” He said will be depending very heavily on the hoteliers to generate some employment and economic activity.
With reference to the reconstitution of the Nevis Tourism Authority Board, Minister Brantley said he will be turning to the HTA for recommendations. He said it is very important that the people working in the industry assist in directing the marketing of Nevis as a tourism destination.