Prime Minister Doctor Kenny Anthony has reported that the national economy is on the road to recovery, after three years of contraction.
He told a media briefing this morning that preliminary data for the period January to June 2015 suggests increases in output for most economic sectors, led by tourism.
Anthony said that during the first half of 2015 total stay over arrivals increased by 5.3 percent to 185, 424 representing a record level of arrivals over the last five years for the first six months of the year.
He disclosed that the performance was mainly attributed to a 12.3 percent growth in arrivals from the United States, Saint Lucia’s largest market.
According to the Prime Minister, cruise ship passenger arrivals grew by point eight percent to 399,746 persons who visited during the first half of 2015.
“Economic performance in 2015 is likely to be strengthened by the turnaround that is being witnessed in the construction industry,” Anthony asserted.
He revealed that based on preliminary data, for the first six months of 2015 the value of imported construction materials increased by 4.8 percent compared with the corresponding period for 2014.
Anthony noted that public sector expenditure in construction projects is expected to increase with several new projects, including the Soufriere Square, the Aquatic Centre and the expansion of the Choc Gros Islet highway.
In the private sector, he cited several developments such as Sugar Beach in Soufriere and the $100 million Smugglers Hotel project, that would have a major impact on the revival of the construction sector.
Anthony told the media briefing that there were mixed fortunes in the Agriculture industry, with a fall in banana exports to the United Kingdom, but a six percent increase in purchases of produce by supermarkets and hotels.
He also disclosed that notwithstanding the challenges in the manufacturing sector, indications are that production increased between January to June this year by 1.8 percent while food and food products registered a decline.
He revealed that the performance of the government also improved, with an increase in revenue and grants and an increase in the current account.