The Chief Executive Officer of the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association (SLHTA) has expressed concern over the impact of crime, asserting that it was a ‘clear and present danger’ to tourism.
“Very troubling, very worrying, and very concerning,” Senator Noorani Azeez declared on the sidelines of a Senate meeting on Tuesday when reporters raised the issue of crimes against visitors.
He spoke amid reports that emergency personnel rushed a Canadian tourist to hospital last week after he sustained stab wounds when five young men robbed him on Dauphin Street, Gros Islet.
“I think one of the competitive advantages of our destination is that it is a relatively safe environment in which to recreate, have a vacation, get away with your family,” the Independent Senator said.
In addition, he told reporters that Saint Lucia had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing.
And Azeez observed that in recent months that had been much investment in nurturing community-based tourism activities and linkages with other sectors so everyone could access the tourism dollar.
“But crime is a very clear and present danger to the tourism industry – make no mistake about it and in one swell swoop, it can easily destabilise a lot of the gains that we have worked so hard to create and to maintain,” the SLHTA official warned.
“I don’t think we could ever exhaust the urgency of the times right now and the discussion on the role that each and every citizen and resident must play in ensuring that we have a safe environment not only in which to cohabit but also in which to extend recreational experiences to our visitors and our guests,” Azeez told reporters.