St. Lucia's new brand strategy and logo, unveiled at the Caribbean Marketplace last month, marks the first step in a plan designed to strengthen the destination's position in the marketplace and "take it to the next level," according to Minister of Tourism and Aviation Allen Chastanet.
As the country's National Vision Plan continues to evolve following its introduction in 2007, "our strategy zeroes in on appealing to discerning travelers seeking a destination that offers both opportunities for authentic experiences and diversity of people and cultures," Chastanet said.
The new logo combines St. Lucia's Piton Mountains -- the island's Unesco World Heritage Site, represented in yellow -- with the colors of the national flag.
A marketing campaign and a redesigned website will follow, said Chastanet.
The National Vision Plan also includes a Village Tourism Initiative, which "seeks to establish a heritage village program, create jobs and businesses, preserve local traditions, revive town centers and bring life back to the small towns and centers of St. Lucia," Chastanet said.
He said that "St. Lucia needs to be taken seriously as a major destination player. We've got new investments, world-class sites and a diversity of people and cultures. We're in this for the long term."
The falloff in room occupancies last quarter and soft sales this winter "demonstrates why we must be visionary, why we must strengthen our alliances and tap into our people's resources to get a larger share of the tourism pie," Chastanet said.
Although the economy has slowed the pace of new construction, the accommodations sector is "healthy and diverse," Chastanet said.
The first phase of the 469-room Westin Le Paradis Beach, Golf & Marina Resort on the island's east coast will open next year.
The property, which will include 200 hotel rooms and an 18-hole, Greg Norman-designed golf course, is part of an eight-year project that will include villas, condominiums, a 15,000-square-foot spa, seven restaurants, a marina and a marina village with shops, restaurants, conference facilities, a kids' club, an equestrian center and a helipad.
Phase two of the Landings St. Lucia, a year-old, upscale yacht and residential resort on Rodney Bay managed by RockResorts, will be completed this month, bringing the total count to 122 one-, two- and three-bedroom suites.
The Tides Sugar Beach, the rebranded Jalousie Plantation, plans to complete a major upgrade by year's end.
Ritz-Carlton is aiming for a 2012 opening for its resort near Laborie on the island's south coast.