Tiny Nevis has long been beloved by Caribbean aficionados, drawn to the island for its historic charm, beautiful natural environment and enviable collection of boutique hotels and inns.
As the island’s tourism sector emerges from the pandemic, Caribbean Journal caught up with Devon Liburd, CEO of the Nevis Tourism Authority, to learn more about what’s next for the destination in 2023.
Here’s what he had to say.
What are some top travel trends you expect to see in 2023?
One of the top travel trends I expect to see is wellness travel. Individuals have been putting more of an emphasis on their physical and mental health, especially after being relatively distanced from the world and others for the last two years due to the pandemic. Another trend I expect to see is the rise in African American travelers seeking cultural experiences that explore Black history and traditions, according to a Mandala Research Study. Brenda O’Neale, CEO of With This Ring Romance Travel, also commented that her African American clients are willing to spend more to experience lesser known destinations in the Caribbean which makes Nevis the ideal spot for them in 2023. Because COVID and other life factors have put a lot of pressure and stress on the general population, another trend I also expect to see is people getting away just to clear their minds, enjoy themselves, and escape the burnout.
Are there any new initiatives the Nevis Tourism Authority is working on to increase tourism for 2023?
We have seen Nevis become a hotspot for movie production. Boutique film and TV production company MSR Media, recently filmed a movie on the island, Christmas in Paradise, featuring actress Elizabeth Hurley and Billy Ray Cyrus. Other movies shot on the island and produced by the company include Christmas in the Caribbean, One Year Off, and A Week in Paradise. Travel has been unpredictable for many people over the past few years and these movies give people a real taste of island life in Nevis, hopefully enticing them to book their tickets to experience it firsthand.
Another initiative the Nevis Tourism Authority has worked on to increase tourism for 2023 is the appointment of Cynthia Miller-Aird and her team, Miller-Aird Destination Marketing. This marks an important step as we expand our sales efforts beyond the Caribbean. We hope that her extensive experience working in the tourism industry and her knowledge of the Caribbean will lead to increased sales efforts in the U.S. market, and continue to position Nevis as a top choice for travelers from the U.S.
In February, top regional carrier Cape Air will be launching new flights between St Thomas, US Virgin Islands and Nevis. This service opens up Nevis to the broad network of flights coming to St. Thomas every day, thanks to Cape Air’s roster of interline partners like JetBlue, Delta, United and American Airlines. We have also been negotiating with regional airline WinAir to re-establish the St. Maarten-Nevis connection as the demand is quite high.
Are there any hotel opening/reopening plans for 2023?
We are thrilled to say that after three years, The Mount Nevis Hotel re-opened its doors this past December. This family owned hotel underwent a refresh, beautifying its 17-acres and refurbishing its 45 rooms and suites. The hotel is also happy to announce a new restaurant, led by Chef Liam Haddow who has worked in the most prestigious hotel kitchens in London, including a Michelin star restaurant. The Mount Nevis Hotel is made up of 45 rooms within five pavilions. Each room is decorated to capture the Nevisian charm and character and all of them have their own balcony and patio. Equipped with 200-year church grounds and the lush hotel grounds – The Mount Nevis Hotel provides a picturesque backdrop for special occasions and events such as weddings. To have a historic hotel such as The Mount Nevis Hotel re-open is thrilling for us since this property encapsulates the beauty of our island for guests to enjoy.
What holidays and events can we look forward to in 2023?
Our Nevis’ Mango Festival is back running June 30-July 2 this year. The festival will have a little bit of everything like chef master classes, mango eating competitions, wellness zones, food tastings, which are all centered around the islands and most famous and delicious fruit.
We are very excited to host Culturama once again, which will be held July 27 to August 8. It is a vibrant 12-day summer festival and major highlight on Nevis’ annual events calendar, that celebrates one of the most significant milestones in the island’s history – the freedom of slaves in the 1830s. The brainchild of the Nevis Dramatic and Cultural Society (NEDACS), Culturama made its debut in 1974 with the primary goal of creating an environment in which Nevisian heritage and indigenous customs could be celebrated. Locals and visitors alike love experiencing Culturama, as this lively 12-day event brings together in a single showcase all the colorful traditions that make Nevis so unique.
Then on March 26th, we will be hosting the annual Nevis to St Kitts Cross Channel Swim which is the perfect challenge for swimmers of all abilities. Participants swim across the 4km (2.5 miles) ‘Narrows’ between the two sister islands which is truly a unique experience.
An activity that occurs every year in November is the Nevis Triathlon which is a well-organized event that caters to athletes of all ages and skill levels. Novices can opt for the “Try-a-Tri” — a 100-meter swim, followed by a five-kilometer bike ride and finishing with a two-kilometer run — while more advanced competitors can challenge themselves on the “Nevis 37” course.
Are there any new destination developments in the works for the new year?
Since the island is known for its wealth of geothermal energy, the island plans to begin digging three more geothermal wells sometime this year as health wellness treatments have become increasingly popular amongst travelers. Nevisians believe that these waters have therapeutic healing powers.
We are also planning on expanding the Malcolm Guishard Recreational Park which features a glass-domed Visitors Center with a view of the entire park. Guests to this fully air-conditioned complex can view a short orientation video about the Park in one of the Center’s four meeting spaces, take in a live concert performance on its large main stage, and enjoy food offerings and arcade areas. Outside, is a semi-. circular open-air amphitheater built into the landscape and designed to host large outdoor events, a fully equipped playground, basketball court, LED-lit ‘splash pad’ fountains where children can play in the water jets, jogging path, and winding ‘Snake Trail’ boardwalk leading to an area designated for picnics and smaller outdoor events. Directly on the Park’s perimeter are a number of waterfront bars/restaurants. The expansion will include putting in a proper drainage system, enhancing the beach front area and putting in a parking area.
Anything else you would like to add?
Nevis is an exclusive Caribbean island jewel, measuring only 36 square miles. Despite the island’s narrow scale, its lush landscape is mountainous and sits stunningly around stunning beaches. Whether you are seeking to relax on a hilltop retreat, bask in a beachfront oasis, or discover the majestic culture of the Caribbean, we invite you to come and visit our island and you’ll quickly realize Nevis has it all.
Hills & Valleys Hike and Tours offers a hike up to the Nevis peak for travelers seeking the ultimate scenic adventure. For those seeking a taste of history, take a walking tour to The Saddle Hill Battery, which was used by British Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson as a lookout point in the late 1700s. For travelers with a need for speed, Queen City ATV tours provide all-terrain vehicles to steer the way through the trails. For travelers with dreams of riding horseback through the Caribbean, Nevis Equestrian Centre has been guiding travelers through beach and sunset trail rides for nearly two decades. For sea lovers, Leeward Island Charters includes a relaxing Catamaran sail with frequent stops to enjoy the protected waters of the Caribbean Sea. Biking tours are also another wonderful way to spend a morning or afternoon along Nevis’ coastline, giving a unique perspective on the island’s green landscape and the towering Mount Nevis.
As sustainability is on a continuous rise, the Solid Waste Authority has launched a machine where people can bring their empty recyclables for proper shipment.
Nevis has also continued its efforts for a more farm to table experience.
Visitors can also enjoy our Around The Garden Tour which takes place at a 5-acre fruit farm in Cades Bay built on a park model, with picnic benches. Guests enjoy the full farm experience, which includes a sampling of a wide variety of in-season fruits such as starfruit, passion fruit, watermelon, pineapple — and, of course, mangoes, the island favorite.
We have also developed a 35-acre farm to grow more local products such as fruits and vegetables, and have allocated space for poultry production.