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TRAVEL AGENTS are expecting a rush of bookings for the US and Caribbean in the coming weeks as the recent favourable exchange rate for dollars means great savings for tourists.
The rate has moved dramatically and means that holidaymakers’ spending money will go around 10 per cent further than a year ago. As the US dollar is also the main currency for most Caribbean islands, tourism officials there are also hoping for a bumper year.
One of the hotly tipped destinations for 2007, is St. Kitts – known as the Caribbean island that tourism forgot. While Nevis, Anguilla, St. Regis and the other Leeward Islands have long had a thriving tourist industry, St. Kitts somehow stayed off the radar, relying on its sugarcane industry to generate income for the local economy.
But, when the last sugarcane plant closed in 2005, the island’s economy was left up in the air. It was then that the Caribbean idyll hatched a plan to become a tropical playground that appeals to high-end travellers and environmentalists alike.
At the forefront of the St. Kitts makeover is Auberge Resorts, whose Sandy Bank Bay, complete with a 50-room hotel, spa and golf course, will open next year on an uninhabited 1,700-acre peninsula. Also on the horizon is Ocean’s Edge, a 100 million dollar real estate project due to open in early 2008. The government, meanwhile, has drawn up a plan to revitalise Basseterre, the colonial capital, a historic gem with sherbet-coloured buildings, creating a marine sanctuary in the island’s waters.
So, if you’re looking for a Caribbean break with a difference, why not try St. Kitts before the crowds discover this unspoilt paradise?