Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has said that it is ‘heartening’ that tourism arrival figures were up 5.4 percent for May this year.
“We saw a three and a half percent increase in our US arrivals, an eleven percent increase in our Canadian arrivals and the UK was up,” he told reporters Monday at a pre cabinet news conference.
However the Prime Minister noted that the Caribbean was down 5.6 percent while yachting was down by 36 percent.
“I am heartened in the fact that exactly what I had thought is actually being panned out – that the Jazz Festival – last year we spent fourteen million dollars, this year we spent just under four million dollars on the Jazz Festival,” Chastanet explained.
He said in many ways the size of the festival previously was crowding out business.
According to the Saint Lucia Prime Minister, while there was demand for the Island, there were production teams and other entities in operation crowding out business coming here.
“The fact that the Caribbean numbers were only down 5.6 percent and that the yachting was down 36 percent reflects the fact that we did not have the money to do the marketing that we wanted to do for this year’s festival,” Chastanet told reporters.
But he said he was encouraged by the response to the Reggae and Soul festival and the enthusiasm, level of activity and the scope of carnival.
Chastanet noted that he was looking forward to the Creole Heritage festival, the Country and Western festival and the Food and Rum festival.
“Again it is to say ‘Here we are doing all of these activities over a wider period for the same amount of money that we spent on the Jazz and Arts Festival in the previous years,'” the former Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister told reporters at Monday’s news conference.