St Kitts and Nevis yacht traffic grows for fifth year running
The dual-island nation of St Kitts and Nevis is growing as a yachting hotspot in the Caribbean. Its Christophe Harbour has seen its fifth consecutive year of growth in yacht operations and is still expanding.
The harbour completed its second full season with a 20% increase in yacht traffic year-on-year and maintains good business in the middle of a traditionally slow summer period.
Although Caribbean charter rates are declining, the harbour has had more repeat visits and longer stays every year. This has had a knock-on effect for local businesses, which are also experiencing substantial growth rates.
Director of Yachting at Christophe Harbour, Aeneas Hollins told Superyacht Investor: “Overall, business is going well. Not only did we have a great season, we’ve also been delighted to have had a busy summer – it’s traditionally a slower time of year for us but we’ve steadily had boats on the dock since April. All positive signs that have us really excited about our third season of operations.”
The marina opened in 2015 with three berths. Since then, the harbour has introduced a marina village with a café, boutique clothing stores, and an art gallery showcasing local artwork.
Christophe expects its total contribution to travel and tourism in St Kitts and Nevis to rise to 33.2% GDP by 2026. The marina accounts for 1,500 direct jobs.
Hollins said in a statement: “With the marina firmly established, St Kitts and Nevis is a welcomed addition to the sailing triangle that includes Antigua, St. Maarten and St Barths. Our services here are growing in line with demand, and we are getting ready for our third vibrant season at Christophe Harbour.”
The marina is the home port to the Perini Navi sloop S/Y Perseus^3, and has hosted the 72.6m Lürssen “Coral Ocean” and CEO of Peñoles Alberto Bailleres’ 92m “Mayan Queen” – the largest vessel to be docked at the marina. The average yacht length at the harbour now surpasses 50m.
To support the increasing vessel size and growth, the refuelling station has a capacity of 48,000 US gallons, which makes it the largest station in the Eastern Caribbean.
A spokeswoman for Christophe Harbour added: “The resources at our state-of-the-art Superyacht Marina are designed with peak yachting season in mind, to support the growth that we are seeing from superyacht owners, their guests, and crew.”
“Plenty of room for growth”
The marina is also due to open a new customs house in November. It includes a crew lounge, fitness centre and a marina services office.
The Park Hyatt hotel will be opening at St Kitts in November. According to the St Kitts and Nevis Observer, 90% of the staff at the hotel will be locals, adding to “all-time high” employment figures for the country.
Hollins said: “It is a young yachting industry with plenty of room for growth. The marina is the heartbeat of Christophe Harbour and future plans call for additional berths, a boutique hotel, expanded retail and commercial enterprises, and expansion of residential offerings as well as food and beverage outlets. Again, we have the ability to grow with the market and bring new facilities and services online when the time is right.
“In terms of maintaining growth, the berths that we provide are state-of-the-art, ensuring superyacht owners who moore in our marina that their asset is safe and secure.”