Saint Lucia (McKoy’s News) – Growth in Tourist Arrivals Recorded for 2017: Saint Lucia has recorded a 23.4 percent increase in tourist arrivals for the year so far, with a 33.7 percent growth in the cruise sector.
Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee noted at a press conference this week that there was also a 5 percent rise in stay-over arrivals from the US market.
He however is concerned about a steady downward trend in numbers from the United Kingdom, which he said, is similar for the rest of the region.
“We believe that this is as a result of the fact that a number of our products are shifting to a different segment of the market. St. Lucia as you know, is the host of several boutique hotels which are chic and five-star, and you would have observed in the last 10 years that a number of our properties which would have been selling the three-and-a-half-star brand, is now offering a five-star service to their customers and that in itself suggested that we’re getting higher yields and greater revenues from the industry,” he said.
While lauding the growth of 9.3 percent from the Caribbean and 19 percent from Canadian markets, which officials say is a result of the Royalton Hotel’s intense marketing campaigns, Fedee mentioned an unexplained one percent decline in the yachting sector as opposed to steady rises over the last few years.
“We have noted that [decline] and … we don’t have a reason, as to why that is so, but we continue to push hard and we continue to work with our private sector partners to promote St. Lucia as a yachting destination,” he said while noting that yachting is a regional business of which Martinique and Grenada are extremely important.
He further reported on a just concluded trip to Martinique where he met with the mayor of a southern town of that country with a view to having an eastern Caribbean southern yachting alliance formed.
“They have the infrastructure but the infrastructure by itself cannot make them a successful yachting destination. We have wonderful sites that yachtsmen would like to visit and to experience, and so does the Grenadines, and so we all rely on each other and we have to continue working on that,” he said.
Fedee has confirmed that government will not renew the contract of Cuthbert Didier, maritime consultant for almost a decade. He cited that there are plans to try something new.
“Yachting continues to play a very important role for us but we are going in a different direction. He served well, [he] continues to be a very important voice for advocating or better conditions for the sector. I think he has been in the position for about 10 years but we are going in a different direction there. We have a few new things that we would like to do,” he said.
Contribution by Dr. Colin O Jarrett