NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (April 15, 2021) — The following is an address by Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier and Minister of Tourism in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) on April 15, to launch Exposition Nevis 2021.
I extend warm Nevisian greetings to my fellow Nevisians and visitors alike.
The Ministry of Tourism, Nevis begins its annual month of tourism awareness activities, which we call Exposition Nevis. Our month of activities is scheduled to run from April 18th – May 31st, 2021.
The purpose of Exposition Nevis is to sensitize the general public about the role and purpose of the Ministry of Tourism and by extension, the critical impact that the tourism industry has on the economy of Nevis.
Even as we celebrate the 5th annual edition of Exposition Nevis, we do so against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has infected over 138 million persons and caused almost 3 million deaths worldwide.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourism arrivals saw a significant decline of 74 percent during 2020, setting us back more than 30 years in terms of the global levels of visitor arrivals. As a consequence, many destinations have had no recourse but to resort to domestic tourism as a lifeline for their struggling tourism economies.
Local tourism enterprises and home-grown tourism experiences that have hitherto been largely under-utilized have now become the bread and butter of our struggling economy. It is in this context that the Ministry of Tourism has selected the theme ‘Fostering Domestic Tourism’ as the focus of its 2021 Exposition Nevis celebrations.
The calendar of events for Exposition Nevis 2021 encompasses a wide variety of experiences intended to encourage locals and visitors alike to learn about, appreciate and engage in the magnificent tourism product offerings here on island, including excursions, festivals, heritage experiences and culinary engagements.
Exposition Nevis seeks to actively encourage support among the local populace for local tourism businesses and is intended to promote entrepreneurship and capacity building in the face of one of the most significant crises to face our tourism industry in decades.
Two local businesses, Nevis Equestrian Centre and Hills and Valleys Tours have consented to offer reduced prices for locals wishing to experience their tours. Several of our fine Nevis hotels are also currently offering special staycation rates for locals to enjoy a premium vacation right here on island, as many Nevisians are unable to travel overseas to their usual vacation spots.
To engage our children, our calendar of events includes a call-in tourism quiz on VON Radio, as well as an essay competition based on our domestic tourism theme, for our primary and secondary school students.
For the general public there will be the launch of the 2021 Nevis Garden Competition and our annual open day at the Nevisian Heritage Village featuring our hallmark baking of bread in the traditional oven and cultural food demonstrations. We will be hosting the first ever night market at the Artisan Village as well as a virtual Nevis Experiences culinary tour among other things.
As per usual the Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the relevant ministries and departments, will continue to lend its support to the Jessups Seafood Fiesta and the New River Farmers Association Open Day, two events which have gained recognition over time as fine exemplars of community-based tourism.
A two-day entrepreneurship workshop will be hosted for small and medium tourism enterprises, in our bid to develop the capacity and local resilience, which are so necessary in this COVID era. Our health is vital during this pandemic and there is also huge potential in the health tourism business. As such, we will also collaborate with the Health Promotion Unit to host a ‘soco-cize’ session at the Artisan Village as well as an exercise activity on the Pinneys Beach.
In addition, during our month of activities, we will also recognize Earth Day by planting trees at Pinneys Park which will shortly become a vital asset in our domestic tourism inventory.
I must, at this junction, commend the hardworking staff at the Ministry of Tourism for their creativity and ingenuity in putting together this calendar of events. We urge every resident of Nevis to engage in and lend robust support to our local tourism enterprises and activities.
Projections are that it could take at least two years for the tourism industry to return to pre-COVID levels. Until then, it is imperative that we fully embrace and promote the development of domestic tourism and take advantage of the vast potential of our own local market on both sides of the channel, especially right here on Nevis. Domestic tourism is indeed the lifeline for our economic survival in the face of unprecedented challenges.
It would be remiss of me to pass up the opportunity for me to encourage all and singular to avail themselves of the opportunity to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus to ensure that we are in a position to fully open our borders and return our tourism industry to a semblance of normalcy in the shortest possible time.
It gives me great pleasure as Premier and Minister responsible for Tourism in the Nevis Island Administration to declare officially open Exposition Nevis 2021. Thank you and may Jehovah guide and bless us all.