Asserting that he was not surprised by a bleak tourism picture that was painted recently by new Tourism Minister, Dominic Fedee, the President of the Vendors Association, Peter ‘Ras Ipa’ Isaac has suggested that the former government may have downplayed the gloomy state of the nation’s main foreign exchange earner.
“We had problems but we were still hearing that the figures were up,” Isaac told the Times.
He said now that Fedee was giving the “true” picture, he is not entirely surprised.
According to the Vendors Association President, even when it was being asserted that there was an increase in the cruise ship sector, things were not very nice.
“As I said some time ago the only thing that was looking up in terms of our market was the American market,”Isaac recalled.
He said the former administration was being very “economical” with the tourism information.
He recounted that when he came out with “reliable” information that Norwegian cruise lines was pulling out, no one wanted the information to be published as news.
“It was thought that it was not true,” Isaac asserted.
He disclosed that the current state of tourism is having a negative effect on vendors.
According to Isaac, even though many people may be going on cruises it does not mean that they have a lot of disposable income.
Nevertheless, he told the Times that he was optimistic that there would be a change in the fortunes of the local tourism industry.
Earlier this month, new Tourism Minister, Dominic Fedee had said that the last figures received from the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) indicate that there is an overall decline of 11.7 percent.
According to the minister, the cruise numbers have not improved from their earlier signs of dwindling.
He cited a decline of 16.2 percent when compared to last year, adding that the numbers from stay over arrivals were also not so encouraging – a slight decline of 1.1 percent.