St. Lucia tourism arrivals jumped 15% in the first quarter over the same period in 2011, “and 2012 has the potential to be a very good year, although there are challenges we must overcome,” according to Lorne Theophilus, minister of tourism.
“Tourism is a diverse, sensitive industry with constantly changing market demands, coupled with economic upswings and downswings,” Theophilus said. “We have a solid product, a strong team, and our industry partners are excited by our forward progress.”
Meanwhile, the island is moving ahead on several fronts to “cement ourselves as a romance destination as well as a wellness and therapeutic locale,” according to Theophilus.
Numerous romance packages are on the market from island resorts as well as a promotion from Diamonds International, which offers a 20% discount on diamonds with an additional discount to match the number of years a couple is married, up to 50 years.
Properties participating in the promotion can be viewed at www.stlucianow.com (click on Made for Romance).
While the U.S. market continues to be the strongest for St. Lucia, the expanding markets in Central and South America are also being targeted. “We’d like to see more lift and gateways open from that region,” Theophilus said.
A new road on the island’s east coast is in the development stages, which would eventually open up that side of the island to more development. Currently the main artery is on the west coast, linking north and south.
Tourism initiatives will focus on major market strategies, improving airlift, creating a new tagline that embraces and reflects the destination and more focus on the development of industrywide hospitality standards.