Government keeping close watch on tourism

Government keeping close watch on tourism

Press Release:-The Saint Lucia Tourist Board is now entering a period of significant transition.

Minister for Tourism Honourable Dominic Fedee on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 spoke at length in Parliament to explain why Government was compelled to make some pivotal moves to restore the viability of the island’s main economic driver and foreign exchange earner – Tourism.

He said the Government of Saint Lucia aims to achieve greater results from the tourism sector in the areas of visitor arrivals, cruise tourism and yachting.

The Minister told the House of Parliament that the emerging statistics on visitor arrivals for the island along with a diagnosis of the financial standing of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board both present dismal findings.

Minister Fedee surmised that some of the responsibility can be apportioned to a lack of clear direction. “There seems to have been a focus on the Land Based Tourism Sector and there wasn’t any clear mandate to promote the island as the destination of choice that it should be for cruise passengers.”

The Tourism Minister added that: “Cruise passenger arrivals year to date to Saint Lucia records a 19.6 percent decline.”

Minister Fedee said it is very concerning that the Board fell below its target figures in several key areas, including the UK and Canada markets, cruise and visitor arrivals.

“We also found our main entity to market our destination the Saint Lucia Tourist Board in a very bad financial state. In fact, the financial statements are showing that the Board started the financial year at 2016 – 2017 with payables from 2015 to 2016 of over six million dollars. So while the Board had to contend with dwindling budgets because of policy decisions made by the previous dispensation, we saw that they were starting flat-footed with a debt of six million dollars.”

The 2016/2017 budget of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board the Minister disclosed appears to have been almost exhausted by September. “With a budget of 34 million dollars for the financial year 2016/17 the Board had already spent 26 million dollars by the end of September and so of the remaining 8 million, 4.8 million dollars was allocated for administrative expenses and 3 million dollars was committed to contracts to UK airlines to operate as marketing, creative and public relations agencies. No allocation was made in the Budget to cover the payables which continue to be of much concern to the functionality of the Board. Eleven million dollars was allocated to the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival and in actual expenditure was in excess of 14 million dollars.”

“This represents gross mismanagement and did impede the Board from carrying out its main function of marketing Saint Lucia as effectively as it should.”

Under the circumstances he announced that the Government will take the bull by the horns and usher in a period of transition and transparency to address the perilous state of affairs at the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. The Minister said the time has come for change and the industry has begun to take steps to rescue the island’s mainstay from suffering further losses.

Minister Fedee said when the financial audit of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board is completed; he will report on the findings and make the results public.

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4 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    November 11, 2016 at 8:57 pm Reply

    minister fedee can take the bull by the horns as he so beautifully states and realize tourism is necessary if we are to survive, but he needs to act quickly, the fantastic scenery areas for yachting will quickly become consumed by trump and followers. but fedee also needs to realize with trump and company arrive his cohorts secret service and all headaches which accompany that circus .act quickly minister fedee next year you may decide to resign.

  2. Anonymous
    November 11, 2016 at 9:17 pm Reply

    yea you watch fedee next year as trump and company accompanying him hordes of secret so set back and watch fedee.your nightmare is about to begin.

  3. Anonymous
    November 11, 2016 at 10:22 pm Reply

    There has got to be a greater presence of security and police walking on the streets to put a stop to the crimes that are happening to the tourists. I am a Canadian and we own a house on the island but very rarely do we travel to Castries because of all the crime. You are killing the tourism that is the life line of the island.

  4. 666
    November 14, 2016 at 1:10 am Reply

    The Cruise Industry is not that beneficial to the islands, a cruise ship is a direct competitor. I can understand if it’s a port of call, most cruise ship passengers are broke anyways.

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