Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): The comprehensive upgrades to be delivered at Black Rocks will "definitely enhance both visitor and vendor experience and comfort and raise the profile of this iconic venue."
These were the words of Minister of Tourism, Honourable Lindsay Grant, during his address at a sitting of Parliament on May 23, 2017, stating that his ministry has renewed the focus on community tourism and "our sustained efforts to grow tourism related initiatives in the rural areas to diversify out of Basseterre."
"For this we are very optimistic that the refurbished Black Rocks will translate into improved working conditions and an increased number of entrepreneurs at the site," he said.
One of the goals of the enhancement of the area is to promote sustainable livelihoods to the residents in the nearby communities, particularly by creating an enabling environment to increase visits by the taxi and tour companies, said the minister.
Another goal of the project is to refresh, refine, and revitalize the tourism product and to add value to the tourists' experience in the Black Rocks area, said Minister Grant. "It will offer guests a memorable experience and increase destination competitiveness.
Minister Grant said that it will serve as a catalyst for a higher standard of community development at the Bellevue and surrounding areas.
The ministry also wishes to develop a formal master plan for the Black Rocks area, design considerations for land conservation, historical and cultural preservation.
The Ministry of Tourism will capitalize on the combined efforts of the resources of partners and stakeholders from the public and private sectors to execute the master plan and realize outcomes that are consistent with its vision of a sustainable tourism programme, said Minister Grant.
"So far, Mr. Speaker, work completed by Whitegate Development Corporation includes landscaping at the site along the BelleVue main road costing some $108,000; paved roads, drainage designed parking lots costing $542,300; signage at the area costing some EC $3,600 and seating in the area costing some $9,900. All those initiatives were completed and funded by Whitegate Development," said Minister Grant.
Near completion are five vendor booths, which are chattel house style costing some $250,000. The minister said that there is an estimate for five additional booths costing some $500,000. The minister noted that all these monies are being paid by the Ministry of Tourism.
Minister Grant stated that his ministry wishes to start on the next phase of construction as soon as possible.
The government, in partnership with the Whitegate Development Corporation, will install viewing platforms and stairwells with railings leading down to the beach at Black Rocks, additional stalls for the primate petting, provisions for barbeque and other persons selling an assortment of local items, and significant upgrades to the bathrooms.
According to the minister, there are between 10 and 12 vendors who operate stalls at the site. Most of the persons who operate there are the residents of the BelleVue, Saddlers and Tabernacle area.
Minister Grant said that necessary mechanisms will be put in place to enhance safety and security at the site and ensure effective management and maintenance of the venue.