The Hewanorra International Airport is poised for a significant upgrade.
Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee says the government is preparing for an expansion of the international airport at Vieux Fort.
Fedee made the disclosure at the 5th annual St Lucia showcase – North America currently taking place at Sandals Grande St Lucia Beach Resort and Spa.
He said financing for the project has already been secured and the government was now in the planning phase; reviewing designs to ensure the best expansion plans for the airport.
“We realize that the capacity at the airport at peak times has been a chronic problem for St Lucia but this has been a lot of talk and so we have decided now that we have got to do well as it pertains to the implementation of this particular policy so that we can see a better airport facility,” Fedee stated.
The Tourism Minister said the expanded airport must be accompanied by an improved highway from the south of the island. He said the government wants to reduce the travel time between the North and the south of the island.
“This as well has been a longstanding policy discussion and we are hoping that we can see quicker and faster implementation as it pertains to that much needed infrastructure where we can avoid some of the hills and slopes and get your customers to the product up in the north in quicker, faster and a more comfortable ride.”
Fedee also announced that the government intends to spend an additional USD$15 million dollars to improve St Lucia’s tourism product to better facilitate visitors coming to the island from the Caribbean.
He said the initiative would examine the high taxes for inter-regional travel and the lack of infrastructure for ferry services, among other things.
“It aims to facilitate the better ease of the movement of people across these countries (Grenada, St Vincent, and Martinique). It aims to lay down the infrastructure for the ferry service. It aims to add better infrastructure and aesthetically improve some the local sites and attractions,” Fedee said.
The Minister stated that the aims of the initiative is to create new experiences for visitors and to better leverage the rich cultural asset of St Lucia.
He said the idea was to showcase St Lucia as being more than just a beach destination.
North American tour operators who sell St Lucia to prospective tourists have been meeting here as guests of the St Lucia Tourist Board.
The Saint Lucia Showcase – North America allows for networking and building business relationships between local hotels and other tourism partners.