Tourism Press Conference with Minister Of Tourism Hon. Marsha Henderson | St. Kitts Tourism

Tourism Press Conference with Minister Of Tourism Hon. Marsha Henderson  | St. Kitts Tourism

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good morning everyone we sincerely apologize for the late start this morning but we will get going honorable martial henderson minister of tourism international transport civil aviation urban development employment and labor senator the honorable god wilkin attorney general and minister of justice and legal affairs mrs daniel taylor williams acting permanent secretary in the ministry of tourism mr alison tommy thompson chief executive officer of the sinkheads tourism authority mr keithley philippe chief executive officer of the saint christopher ear and support authority mr sly bon kamper general manager frigate bay corporation general managers of tour companies general managers of hotels airline representatives presidents of the taxi associations and cooperative members of the corvid 19 task force specially invited guests members of the media staff of the sinkids tourism authority and the ministry of tourism a pleasant good morning we thank you for joining us for our first press conference with our honorable minister of tourism and at this time i will invite mr tommy thompson to give brief remarks and also to introduce the minister for her conference this morning thank you mrs marshall good morning i stand on protocol that's already been established but i want to recognize the honourable minister of tourism international transport civil aviation urban development employment and labor the honourable marsha henderson and our attorney general son of the honorable god wilkin attorney general and minister of justice and legal affairs good morning ladies and gentlemen first of all let me take this opportunity to congratulate the honorable marsha henderson on her appointment as the first female minister of tourism insane kids and minister i want to assure you that the sinkheads tourism authority is behind you 100 and we can make you look like a rock star so ladies and gentlemen travel is on the rebound after two years of restrictions individuals are once again ready to take their favorite vacations and to their desired vacation destination this does not necessarily mark the end of the covet 19 situation but i think we're turning the corner from a pandemic to an endemic and with pent up demand for travel the industry itself is in sort of like a flux so you have the desire for travel in terms of persons have saved money during the pandemics so there's more cash and there's less credit card debt so it's a perfect way for people to want to be able to go and travel to their favorite destination and we see them upgrading their travel plans but at the same time the airlines are struggling to keep up with demand i'm sure anybody who's watched the news over the summer can see the challenges that they have been having with lack of crew and aircraft but in addition the cruise industry continues its efforts to modify its itineraries uh to make them shorter and there have been political unrest somewhere and also climate change issues but this has resulted in a marketplace that's even more competitive than it's been before so it requires from the skta laser and surgical precision in our marketing efforts to ensure that the destination's voice is heard so at the same kids tourism authority we're working with our partners to ensure that we are ready to meet the demands of a more discerning visitor over the past few weeks we have partnered with royal caribbean cruise lines to offer training geared towards building capacity of our service providers we're also looking at the current landscape post covert 19 and to do what is necessary for kids to be visible and to be competitive for their products and our service offerings in addition we fine-tuned our marketing plans and in two weeks time we're going to be unveiling the new brand campaign for saint kitts in new york and trust me you are going to love it so with that it takes great pleasure for me to introduce my new minister of tourism the honorable marcia henderson to give her remarks minister good morning all first permit me to apologize to my guests for my tiredness this morning i ran a bit late and i apologize again allow me to recognize this morning in our presence the honorable gath wilkin attorney general and minister of justice and legal affairs the ceo mr thompson and my deputy ceo monica marshall the assistant secretary in the ministry of tourism miss daniel taylor williams and the ceo of scaspo mr keithley phillip as well as the general managers here this morning of tour companies the general managers of the hotels airline representatives presidents of the taxi associations and cooperative especially invited guests forgive me and members of the media good morning again thank you first let me start by thanking all of you for joining us this morning at this my first press conference since officially taking office on monday 15th august 2022 over the past two years our country along with the rest of the world has been fighting the cold with 19 pandemic however the time has come for us to look towards our future and identify the opportunities for us to strengthen our terrorism industry and rebuild the economy this morning i will offer a brief update on my recent trip and some other tourism-related factors after two years of travel restrictions people are ready to travel again global to and the global global tourism stakeholders are excited about what is going to be happening travelers are seeking destinations that offer immersive cultural experiences that go beyond sand sun and sea according to the american express 2020 global travel trends report 74 74 of individuals are willing to book a trip even if they may have to cancel or modify it the report also indicated that 81 of travelers are desirous of traveling to destinations where they can have genuine cultural experiences and immerse themselves in the local culture they are willing to spend two more times on a more on a vacation than they did before the pandemic now this is exciting news for us as stem kids can offer rich experiences steeped in culture and history this is our goal as it would boost the economic impact of our tourism industry we must however diversify our experiences by identifying immersive cultural products and services that will increase the demand for our destination the diversification of our experiences will require intense collaboration with our local sectors such as agriculture and sports we cannot look at our product offerings the same way we did two years ago our visitors want to see and feel an authentic send kids where they can engage with us and not simply be observers your labor-led government firmly believes that our travel industry has suffered enough due to restrictions that the former administration had in place this is why one of our first courses of action upon taking office was to lift all travel restrictions the sentiments echoed by the global tourism stakeholders in response to this course of action is solid proof that the send kids the saint kitts government the vision that we have for strengthening our economy and saving our industry is indeed the best plan for the country we have as a country struggled to remain competitive in the tourism markets as a result of the stringent travel restrictions we were previously compelled to operate under thanks to your new government this struggle is now history to take our destination forward it is time to combine our efforts to continue the rebuilding process later this month the sim kids tourism authority will be launching a new campaign in new york on september 20th to increase visitor interest in our destination this new campaign will ensure that send kids features in all arenas as one of the premier caribbean destination for travelers all marketing efforts coupled with our ability to deliver award-winning experiences is paramount to our success this was evident in our most recent accomplishment where we were recently awarded by the world travelers awards as the caribbean's leading dive destination i take this opportunity to congratulate you the stakeholders my team at the ministry of tourism and the senkids tourism authority on this success i am confident that your combined efforts along with our strategic plan will help us to provide unique authentic experience experiences to all who visit our shores my recent meetings with the tourism industry stakeholders concerns regarding airlift were raised as the current situation stands the number of persons flying into our country is reduced this is because of some of our flights are seasonal while others take a break during the summer months for example the american airlines flight from charlotte and the delta flight of out of atlanta are currently on break however as we look towards the winter season i'm pleased to confirm that all of our legacy carriers will be returning to our destination for the 2022 2023 tourism season ultimately our goal is to increase airlift service to our destination my team and i remain in constant dialogue with our airline partners and next month we will be engaging the stakeholders in the airline industry at the world routes conference to be held in las vegas during the period 16 to 18 october during this conference we intend to discuss solutions for our airlift challenges with the decision makers of our international legacy carriers and continue discussions with potential new carriers we need to combine our marketing efforts to promote the destination our destination holistically to you the stakeholders i'm imploring to you to include marketing in your budget and not just marketing in the domestic market but the regional and international markets as well we all need to think big hoteliers i am counting on you to ramp up your efforts to promote promote your hotels and all the many services you provide where there are opportunities for partnership we need to seize them the responsibility of our success is a shared one and i am encouraging private and public sector partnership to secure the future of our tourism industry we must all roll up our sleeves and actively become a part of the rebuilding process as of september 5th our destination welcomed 390 571 passengers for the 2021 2022 cruise season i am very much aware of our dependency as a destination on the cruise sector and this is because of its ability to generate economic activity now this is why i am pleased this morning to announce that we will continue to experience positive outcomes in our rebuilding efforts into 2022 2023 cruise season post coving 19 there are however some changes within the cruise sector during the pandemic carnival cruise lines experienced significant financial challenges as was the case for many other international cruise partners hence carnival was forced to decommission some of its fleet and the carnival fascination launched 28 years ago in 1994 was retired and is no longer a part of the carnival family an additional challenge faced by carnival is the inability to home ports in san juan which was led to the decrease in the eastern caribbean itineraries last week i had the opportunity to travel to florida to visit the cruise lines my team and i met with msc norwegian cruise lines carnival cooperation royal caribbean group and virgin voyages all the lines have expressed great satisfaction with the destination and have committed to future sailings to our destination during our conversations they also highlighted additional challenges within the sector which include delayed ship delivery and reducing carbon footprint as a part of the global efforts to combine climate change to protect the environment the lines are taking action to reduce fuel consumption identify more sustainable forms of energy such as liquid natural gas this in the short term has led to shorter itineraries however despite these challenges the destination remains poised for success we have a projected eight inaugural calls for the upcoming season with wander of the seas royal caribbean's newest vessel calling on thursday 24th november 2022. we will certainly be looking forward to this call and will be enlisting the help of the public to give our visitors a warm kitchen welcome recent reports have indicated that our cruise visitors are satisfied with the kitition experiences if we can give ourselves a round of applause however if we are to remain competitive and attract new visitors we must be creative and develop more diverse and immersive products and services for the upcoming 2022 and 2023 crew season we anticipate that we will double the arrivals of the previous season and begin to draw closer to pre-pandemic levels however with the corvid 19 still an issue the situation remains the situation sorry continues to have some level of fluidity i will be sure to provide updates on the progress of the season in the future in future press conferences focus on growth in the expenditure of our visitors leading to increased economic activity will be paramount as we move forward guests are looking for memories in more than just physical items they want authentic encounters with the island that tell the cutician story and reflect our spirit as a people and our history and culture leading to a more enriched experience with our destination i must reiterate the need for us to be innovative and creative while at the same time maintaining our high standards investments in our existing infrastructure is a critical element as well of our strategy the same christopher aaron supports authority has advised that important upgrades will be made to the ear and supports at the robert lewellen bratcher airport the larger aircrafts are packing on the more western end of the apron this has resulted in a less than welcoming experience for our air passengers as minister i have taken note of this situation and we are moving expeditiously to have the apron repaired skasper has also advised that tender documents are currently being prepared to obtain quotes to resurface the apron in addition efforts are underway to improve the experience the airport by making both the air conditioning units and escalators operational by the end of this month yes nadia the airport as you're aware needs expanding and modernizing as as its footprint has become inadequate to sustain the operational and security requirements expected from an international airport given this casper has developed a master plan for the airport with renderings of a modernized facility that includes added capacity and the maximizing of available land at the existing location this upgrade is planned to be executed in a phased approach so as not to impede the existing operation funding for this project is expected to come from a cbi alternative investment program more details would be provided in a subsequent report as plans are finalized when porzante was initially constructed it was the envy of the eastern caribbean in 2011 we proved that we had one of the few peers in the caribbean with the capacity to accommodate the state-of-the-art oasis class vessel today our competitors have studied us and they are building ports to be more competitive therefore there is a need once again to complete work to ensure that our ports are technically outfitted to maintain our leading status as a port dredging on pier 2 has been completed and preventative dredging on p1 is ongoing it is expected that dredging works would be completed before the commencement of this year's crew season in october in addition tenders for p1 were ordered fenders sorry for pier one were ordered and are estimated to arrive in time for december of this year as we embark on this coved post kova 19 era there are many lessons to be learned and there is much that is required of us we must not throw caution to the wind every effort must be made to offer our visitors safe and refreshed experiences we must be innovative and we must be competitive there are many destinations out there clamoring for their peace of the pay the questions before us are one how can we be how can we be heard in the noise of the marketplace how do we differentiate how do we create a perception of value how do we increase spend and economic impact i would like to suggest that we become more innovative that we diversify our tourism products and service offerings we definitely need to think outside of the box we need to pay attention to service quality standards and we absolutely need to invest in our infrastructure we must guard ourselves from offering a stale product we must draw on our history and culture and present to our visitors an authentic petition experience these are what visitors want let me see this is what the visitors are demanding we must safeguard our industry against mediocrity and those who would seek to destroy it i am counting on each of you today to assist me in building a brighter tomorrow i would like to take this opportunity at this time to wish scaspo a 29th anniversary happy 29th anniversary as they celebrate with their month of activities in september i want to thank you for listening and at this time i will take questions of course myself and my competent team reminding you of course that i've just been on the job for three weeks so this morning i'm going to be ably assisted by my team in answering any of the questions that i may not be in a position to answer so thank you again and at this time we will take questions good morning to everyone uh glenn bart from sk newsline um as you indicated there's going to be a requirement to be innovative in your marketing strategies could anyone someone explain to us when you use a term innovative what exactly are you doing to attract more visitors to the country secondly could there be an update on the situation with regards to land-based tourism i remember some months ago there were issues with regards to accommodation the amount that was available for available to tourism so um is has a change is there more are there more rooms available now than it was perhaps a year ago when some properties were under construction some properties were on the renovation et cetera in regards to the airport could there be some more specific details with regards to what is required in the at the apron reconstruction what's the cost is going to be who's going to get be involved in that whole process and also in regards to the cruise pair what what was the cost involved in dredging the whole process of dredging the three pairs that i understand were involved that's it for now thank you good morning thank you in terms of innovation the two aspects of that one is to make sure that the product offerings in zenkids are new fresh and innovative so we're having internal discussions about what we as the tourism authority and the ministry of tourism can work on in conjunction with the private sector to make that happen when the in the minister's speech she talked about the authentic petition experience i think this is where we want to concentrate on how we can put together a program or an experience where that comes to life and that also brings in the aspect of community-based tourism where we're able then to get the community involved in what we're doing it's not for the idea is for us to generate new experiences but also to make sure that the wealth from tourism is generated through the economy and to the more rural areas in terms of that when we look at the new advertising campaign we're incorporating a lot of the cartesian elements in terms of the beauty the topography of think hits but what we're also doing is not only just the ad but we're also putting together social content where we've got petitions telling their story so the ad brings you to our website where you can get a deeper experience where the story of saying kids and what's available in kids is told by petitions and we think what we put together is very powerful it draws you in to make you want to learn more about what's going on in the destination when we look at land-based tourism the number of rooms still is a challenge for us we've got the ramada that is pros to come on board i think the most recent that we've had is the sunset reef which is the most recent hotel that's come on stream but in terms of the actual number of rooms between saint kitts and nevis it's still not sufficient in terms of us being in a more favorable position to get the airlines to consider us when we look at the airlift coming into saint kitts we have peaks and valleys but when you look at the overall load factor it's still behind that of our competitors in the caribbean which is a challenge for the airlines to look at giving this bigger aircraft or increase in frequency and that is part of what we want to address in in terms of the new campaign that we're doing so um you know to answer your question i think we have all the pieces in place for us to move forward um for a very robust season coming up for the winter they'll have to turn over to the my compass from casper dance by the airport thank you very much uh tommy um good morning all um by adoption of the protocol that was previously established i wish to answer the question that was posed by mr bhatt number one as it relates to the let me start with the with the cruise pair you ask the cost of the dredging the cost of the dredge is 1.9 million us dollars and that would um include the dredging of all three peers initially the the projected depth was 11.3 however at the end of the work that was done previously probably about two three years ago it was my understanding that it was around 10 10 thereabout the judge work has taken it down to 11.3 so we are compliant in respect to the the required depth from the oasis class vessels i'm also happy to inform at this time that currently with the judge work that was completed all sides of our peers can um birth the oasis class ship that for us is an extremely important um achievement as it relates to the airport um the cost and who is going to be involved i cannot say because as was informed the tender documents are being prepared and it will be from the tender documents that we will have an idea as to the cost and also the winner of the the person whose tender bid would be successful then at that time we could say who who would be involved so as to the question cost and who's going to be involved we cannot at this time say as the 10 documents are yet to go out then your first question would have been the specific details what i can say here is that in 2013 the french company aegis was contracted to to do a feasibility study and a master plan for the robert lowell branch international airport it was also my understanding that that was completed however moved forward seven eight nine years later the airport then as to what the requirement then as to what the requirements are now has shifted somewhat and so we last year we approached aegis again to revise the initial plans that was done those plans were received and we were able to review them at this time we we sent the plans to the minister but we have not yet had the opportunity to finalize a discussion and so i'm not sure as to how much more details can i can get into without the approval however let me say that the because of the the the tightness of the the space at the airport any expansion at that current spot has to be done westward we realize that it cannot be go it cannot be done towards the the east because that is essentially um a dead area so any expansion has to be both forward or backward and to the and to the ease so and sorry and to the west thank you very much and to the rest so those are the considerations that were taken into into account also taken into account was the movement of the arrival and the departure areas we realized that um passengers now have this long walk to the aircrafts the the the plan the the the plan um suggests that these the that the arrival and departure areas would not would move um to the towards the west so as to shorten the distance between between um leaving the the the the airport and arriving at the the the aircraft um there will also be the movement the project the proposed movement of the um the the shed the the cargo shed we know where the cargo shed is there's also the proposed movement of the cargo shed from that spot to create additional space and to move that cargo shed somewhere towards the u.s so these are some of the the the the the details and again without and these are just broad and until that discussion can be held and whatever necessary approval is given then we would be able to come back to you and to give you more specific details thank you very much farm well we welcome the international flights back for the winter season what are the plans to drive into regional travel um because you know we may have persons coming from internationally that may go to other islands that may want ireland hop but we know we have a challenge with very few flights coming here originally so what the plans address that so a couple of things traditionally the caribbean was the second most important market for saint kitts there's also a market that's a lot of it is event driven so when we look at the flights coming in we've got liats we've got win air we've got silver it's not enough air lift coming in so we are in discussion with other carriers in terms of giving us additional into caribbean airlift but we've also uh been in discussion with a ferry service that's can we be hopeful that it will commence by the end of this year or even before so that's going to give us some additional lift into the um into saint kitts we're also going to be promoting very heavily our events like the the uh cricket and also the like the music festival we see these as great opportunities for us to get regional traffic back here and the beauty about that is a lot of those um charter so we're not that dependent on the scheduled carriers but they're coming in by charter so that's going to help us as well and we're going to be putting some dollars aside as well for a limited regional campaign with the new content that we're getting hello can you hear me beautiful on the question of um innovative measures those that you were alluding to some time ago discussions centered around the reason why is the the ships were leaving that early are not staying over later during the evening and the suggestion was that there are no entertainment to attract the guests or to induce the ships to stay overnight and so i'm wondering if there was any question pose any initiative that could be taken to put an entertainment package in place so you can market that when you go to the um twitch shows to encourage the ships or the cruise lines to stay over in the evening we have the entertainers here and we don't mind partnering with tourism whatever package we can produce to induce a longer stay for the ships when they're in port secondary that you spoke about um community-based tourism packages stakeholders there is the stories standing point that's featured on youtube and facebook and it's currently featuring an expose on charles ford slash johnson home you can visit that page on youtube is on the story of sunday point sorry on facebook this story standing point on youtube it's on the king socrates presents there's tremendous interest in using these heritage sites but it's often mean and we focus mainly at brimstone hill there's a linkage there that can be used i'm speaking with the folks at the heritage trust to see what we can do to incorporate that as part of a package because the history and standpoint can be enhanced and sold as an additional feature dominant street pump bay incorporate that in our packages as suggestions i have the problem listing with miss taylor to further develop potential packages to attract or add to a tourism package but the feature about overnighting or providing entertainment that would encourage the coastlines overnight that should be pursued and um again being an entertainer i would love to be part of that discussion thank you very much hi um my name is richard from the park hi tommy i have one question for you um have you ever considered gauging guest sentiments and on and how they feel about the experience here um in uh saying kids and mr phillips uh thanks for the update on the airport would the uh the master plan include an an interior um passageway to the aircraft on and off or will it always be an exterior experience so let me just uh quickly answer the sentiment yes we do that already we have an exit survey that's conducted with department passengers at rbl and so that's where we get the information from about their sentiment and also reason for visiting and also get information on spent so that's already in um done just what does it say what does it tell you in terms of how they feel about the experience the experience has always been extremely positive in saying kids and one of the great features that we like about it is the fact that once they visit they're intending to recommend saying kids to their family and friends to visit as well and also the fact that they intend to return so it's good information and it's very positive information as well yep we do come to our meetings yes uh i think your question was whether or not they would be if the plan envisaged your interior passage or an exterior passage to the aircraft um an exterior passage to the aircraft is what is envisioned in this plan um i'm not sure going forward that may be a consideration but for now this specific plan still speaks to boring by moving on the timer yes everyone good morning i like the questions very much i just wanted to add that the the the way to the aircraft to and from the aircraft should be added in the plans immediately i i think that we have come this far where we have to wait on the rain yes until the rain has stopped to board or well to embark and to disembark and so that should be put in place immediately and i know we will talk about dollars but if we're doing a package yes let us dig deep and make sure that we all can um we all can get that that benefit i remember when the airport was upgraded uh the talk about the escalators were were mentioned and someone say oh we don't need that we are so close by and of course they were put there and when they are down we support it we have x that you know that they're not working so let us put away the umbrellas to and from the aircraft thank you uh i'd like to support the the views with regards to the modernization of the airport let's let's consider doing it properly now rather than later because it's not going to get any cheaper so you might as well consider it at this point my other question though is relation to the yachting industry some years ago there was some interest being generated in pursuing a european industry in schenkids we have the marina that's downtown and we have the christopher harper marina what is the focus now with regards to that industry is there any hope for it um i know bvi um in saint vincent i believe have strong european industries can we gain something from pursuing that thanks for the question um yes we do see yachting as a pillar for sinkheads but you have to remember initially coming out of pandemic we had to survive so we were in survival mode i think we've got the wind at a box now so we are now looking at what are those additional markets those traditional niche markets that we can go after and there has been considerable work done on the yachting industry and we intend to take that up shortly in fact conversations have already begun and uh our product manager golda franks has been instrumental in that um there were a couple of challenges that we saw in the report so we need to bring the other stakeholders in to make sure that there's ease of entry into sinkheads because the last thing you want is to start promoting the industry and we don't have the groundwork done to make it easy and for people to come very easily and also recommend so yes it's definitely on the radar and stay tuned we're very quiet this morning no other questions if there are no okay good morning everyone and i must congratulate miss marsha our new um minister of tourism girl power i i would like to hold you well sorry i'm representing um palm branch media skn newsline and i want to hold you to marketing i was happy when you said that um when you implore everyone to hold marketing in their budget because that's one of the things i myself noticed that people don't do they don't hold marketing they don't have a marketing budget you know it's always the child that gets the squeeze and i'm i do look forward to working with the sinkids tourism authority in terms of the marketing and we have some services that we can um lend to you especially when it comes to new york and as well as some of the cable companies around the world thank you any other questions before we ask minister to give her closing no other questions just one quick announcement the october crew schedule will be available at the sinkid stories majority desk and so those who are interested in identifying the ships arriving for october that schedule is available we will also be producing the cruise booklet that is normally produced and so that is going to be available by the end of the month and we are also going to be loading the schedule on our landing page and we will provide information on that as well so if there are no other questions yes mr you're being our champion today just one other question um i remember i recall that there was some kind of financial arrangement in terms of airlift um with some of the airlines british airways american airlines and and several others are we still going on that road in terms of guarantees um for seats and that kind of thing what is the current situation we do have some in place and when we're looking to introduce new airlines and new routes that it's going to definitely have to be part of the negotiation unfortunately you can't get away from that yes that's another suggestion i've often wondered why there isn't a better marriage between tourism and the hotels i don't understand why during a carnival season we can see examples of the costumes in the hotel lobbies where you can have a synergy within the hotels and getting troops people coming in to take part in the kind of troops downtown because once you market those pictures you can pay for the mileage imagine a family have children downtown in carnival's costume this is something we can discuss get say maybe the marriott versus the timothy beach hotel to get their guests give them packages incentive to take part in a carnival it's the winter season they're here they should not only be spectators but a program in place during the marketing they can take part in carnival and be given incentive packages because those pictures when they when they put them on the on the various platforms is major major marketing they should be working here in um scene kids nevis or carnival season in the hotel lobbies costumery all the different things that help to our market accountable not all the masquerades are performing for them at presente but there should be there can be a better marriage between the hotel industry and our carnival right here we can start the market just a thought that sounds like a business opportunity for you sir well for sure we have some of the hoteliers in the room and we can certainly pass that information on to the cannibal committee so we can see what what can happen any other questions before we wrap up mr bart you have one other one i'm teasing you now if not then i'll allow minister i'll invite minister now to give her closing remarks and we can bring an end to the press conference so again i want to thank you all for coming out this morning and i want to give my commitment as your new minister to ensure that i do all that it takes to make sure that at the cabinet level that i advocate for him for measures and solutions that would take the tourism industry further i want to let you know that i have an open door policy if you have any questions concerns you can come to the ministry and we can dialogue in the future we will you would be hearing from us in ways that we want to partner with you to ensure that we work together we partner together on creating the authentic kitchen experience that our guests are asking for i thank you mr hodge for the information on the story of standpoint and we are absolutely looking for more of that and so we're going to be you're going to be hearing from us we're going to be partnering with you to ensure that we can deliver on this so again thank you for coming i it's my first and you all have been generous to me and i thank you thank you very much thank you and enjoy the rest of your day it you you

2022-09-10 00:19

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