Saint Lucia to welcome mega cruise vessels

Press Release:-Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Energy and Labour, Honourable Stephenson King announced at this Tuesday’s House of Assembly sitting that Saint Lucia is scheduled to welcome its first Mega Cruise Vessel by December of this year.

The announcement was made following a Motion to allow the Minister of Finance to borrow US$15,000,000.00 from the National Insurance Corporation for the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority for the purpose of the extension of the Breasting Dolphin Berth located at Pointe Seraphine in order to facilitate the berthing of mega cruise vessels.

The Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Economic Growth, Job Creation, External Affairs and the Public Service, Honourable Allen M. Chastanet introduced the Motion while also explaining that this was a project the Government was continuing under a new loan arrangement. The Prime Minister also hoped that this will be a new era for the NIC and called the project “absolutely necessary.”

For his part Honourable Stephenson King traced briefly the history of the development and upgrade of Port Castries. He also stressed that due to the growth projections for the cruise sector “there is a greater need for us to place emphasis on the improvement, development and the enhancement of the cruise facilities and infrastructure on the island.”

“This Government has made a firm commitment not only to improve Port Castries and to consider a new location for the establishment of a new commercial port but also to continue to improve on the cruise ship facilities and by extension to look to the south of the country to establish a major cruise port in the south in Vieux Fort that will compliment a number of the economic initiatives that the Government has committed itself to, including the establishment of the DSH Project.”

Minister King went on: “This is a holistic approach, a Global initiative, on the part of the Government looking beyond the shores, beyond the sand and sea, and looking to the international arena to see how Saint Lucia can maintain its position and be able to offer two world class facilities, one in the north and one in the south, that will attract international business that we as a country seek to adopt and to place Saint Lucia as the number one cruise ship destination in the Caribbean. SLASPA has initiated the project to extend the Pointe Seraphine berth No. 1 which will mean the commencement of that initiative to facilitate the first call of the vessel sometime in December.”

Once the berth is completed Saint Lucia is expected to see an increase of 20 percent in the call of vessels to Port Castries and an increase in passenger arrivals by 19 percent.

“This means that there is need for a level of consciousness in our business community. It means that our people must understand that there are opportunities and possibilities being presented to them and to identify those opportunities and make good use of the opportunities and venture into a world of possibilities,” stated Minister King.

“A total of 32,000 more persons coming into Saint Lucia annually and if that happens and providing that we as a government supported by the people will commit ourselves to improving the quality of service that we provide, it is anticipated that we will have much more than the five calls anticipated by Carnival Cruise lines who have committed themselves to visit Port Castries.”

Minister with responsibility for Tourism, Information and Broadcasting Honourable Dominic Fedee also lent his support to the Motion.

“The cruise industry was in tremendous decline,” explained Minister Fedee reflecting on the state of the industry nine months ago. “In fact the numbers for 2016 had shown that we declined by some 16 percent. This is despite the fact that Saint Lucia had a comparative advantage over a number of our Eastern Caribbean jurisdictions. We realized that something had to be done drastically and we took the decision that we had to engage the cruise lines a lot more and be more aggressive to get Saint Lucia out there.”

Minister Fedee noted that judging by the figures year to date Saint Lucia had already seen an increase of 22 percent in cruise industry growth.   

 

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    April 6, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Comment:more tourists for the bandits to rob!

  2. Calvin
    April 6, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    It’s a bold move that’s hard to fault, particularly if it helps give us a competitive edge.

    It will be necessary have a plan to augment the surrounding infrastructure and increase the capacity of our tourist attractions. In particular, the surrounding roads, taxi stands, and duty-free retail shops — plainly stated, so as to maximize the money that tourists spend on the island and sending them on their way telling everyone about the absolutely amazing experiences that they had on our island, what they saw, what they did.

    There is a tremendous opportunity to max out revenues into the island from this. However, once tourists step off the boat, it is a disincentive if they are waiting like cattle as a result of not enough transportation to get them safely and securely to their day-trip attractions.

    There is also a very important point to remember regarding cruise ships, particularly so-called mega-cruise ships, and I do hope that our responsible elected officials read this: Cruise ships function on surprisingly tight schedules in all aspects.

    Cruise ship ops don’t function on hours. They function on minutes.

    That includes regarding arrival and departure times. If passengers are late or delayed in their return to the ship for departure, the ship’s scheduled time of arrival at the next port of call does not change.

    What does that mean?

    A ship departing late because of traffic delays or other infrastructure capacity issues has to travel faster to the next port of call.

    That requires literally *thousands* of dollars in extra consumption of fuel, at the expense of the the cruise line given that passenger fares are pre-determined.

    Should enough departure delays happen, the financials make it very, very simple: The ship no longer uses that port of call.

    Long story short, the berthing expansion has tremendous opportunity, but the capacity in infrastructure has to be there to support it. Otherwise, it will eventually simply be a long, under-utilized dock.

  3. Terence Joseph
    April 8, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Yea love it good move!

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