Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, Dominic Fedee has hailed a ‘very amazing’ performance in the tourism industry, where he says there has been a growth of almost seven percent in the overall arrival numbers.
“This is very, very good – it is led by about four and a half percent on the US market and then 18 percent in the Canadian market which is a very good sign to show a recovery,” Fedee told reporters Monday.
The minister explained that the UK market has shown a ‘small recovery’ for the first time in a few months, recording growth of some 0.5 percent.
Fedee said this was encouraging because previously the market was constantly in decline.
“We are very pleased with the addition of the Royalton hotel – that has certainly added some buoyancy to the numbers and has helped us to recover from the declines last year,” he noted.
Fedee revealed that the cruise sector is performing well despite construction work at Pointe Seraphine to increase berthing.
“We are still in double digit growth in the cruise sector – that is about 11 percent and we are still growing and looking strong,” the minister told reporters.
He asserted that it has been an ‘amazing’ winter.
“The challenge now for us is to make sure we solidify the summer months and see how we can make them a lot more successful,” Fedee said
However the minister recalled having said in the past that tourism is not just about numbers.
He declared that tourism has always been a ‘people business.’
In this regard, he indicated that the current administration is taking steps to ensure that as much as possible, as many Saint Lucians as possible derive benefits from the tourism industry.
Fedee observed that the government is at a very advanced stage in establishing the village tourism project which will allow many locals to participate in tourism at the entrepreneurial level, in addition to having access to traditional jobs in tourism.
He disclosed that the idea is to create business people in the tourism industry.
Fedee said the government is hoping to launch the village tourism project this year.