Mr. Yearwood’s comment came while he delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of the Seminar for Taxi and Tour Operators on August 29, 2012, at the Cotton Ground. It will conclude on September 3rd with a closing ceremony at 7pm.
The workshop which brought together over almost 60 participants with varying levels of experience in the taxi and tour operators sector, according to Mr. Yearwood, would bring them in line with the many changes taking place in the Tourism Sector internationally and by extension Nevis.
“The expectations of the visitor, they have changed and I am sure you have noticed that. The demographic of the visitor has changed. The population in the UK and US which are our main markets, they have changed. They have immigrants from all over the world. So now our normal tourist instead of being from just one culture it is now from many different cultures…
“It shows that you are very serious about your business that you actually turned up to this [Seminar] because when things are changing you have to change as well. We all have to,” he said and adding that the standards in the industry were also changing.
The Nevis Tourism Advisor disclosed that in order to keep up with the demands for higher standards in the cruise industry, Tourism Officials on Nevis had been in consultation with Mr. Clayton Perkins of local cruise ship agent Delisle Walwyn and Co. Ltd. in order to make improvements to Nevis’ tourism product.
“What they are demanding from people who give tours, not just taxis but throughout the cruise industry; they are demanding higher insurances; they are demanding quality speakers and microphones so the demands on the industry, on the suppliers to the industry is changing. Once again I am impressed that our taxi drivers on Nevis take their industry serious enough to turn up to these workshops,” he said.
Mr. Yearwood also used the opportunity to remind the workshop’s participants of some important upgrades that would be taking place on Nevis shortly in an effort to enhance the island’s tourism product.
“The Ministry of Tourism is investing in a number of projects, not only these seminars but to upgrade the welcome area [at the Port], the first thing people see when they come off the boat.
“Also we will be working with the police to make sure that road across the front is solely for taxi drivers when the cruise ship is in, to make your job easier and to make the experience for the visitor better,” he said.
The Tourism Official also spoke to the recent funding received from the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) which would be used to create two additional heritage sites where visitors could go to.
“One is Saddle Hill. I know he [Assistant Secretary, Tourism Mr. Carl Williams] has had meetings with land owners up there and you would be able to drive guests up to Saddle Hill. The first phase will be just to clean the area and then eventually make it into a heritage site for visitors to Nevis.
“Also the Bath Stream that project will be starting, it is in two phases. The first phase would be to landscape and make a pleasant area for people to visit, clean the stream and the second phase would be to basically refurbish the old bath houses. So once again you would have something to take your guest to and see and feel proud about,” he said.
During the Seminar participants would be exposed to a range of topics: “History of Tourism”, Destination Awareness”, “Laws Relevant to Tourism Sector”, “Tourism and Culture”, “Quality Customer Service”, “Importance of Road Safety, “Taxi Operations/Tourism as a Business”, “Introduction to First Aid and CPR”, “Social Security and Retirement”, “Sectors in Tourism and Tourism Components” and “Professionalism”.