Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, Dominic Fedee, has reported that Saint Lucia has recorded outstanding performances in several areas of the tourism sector.
Fedee told a news conference Monday that the ‘Year to date’ July figures indicate that tourism is performing ‘quite strongly.’
“The year of July represents a record breaking year for the destination of Saint Lucia, where we see for the first time ever in a month of July we have 38,291 stayover visitors,” the minister disclosed.
He said this represents an increase of over 3000 on the July 2016 figures.
“This marked a 15 month on month increase – the third double digit growth rate and a 9 percent year to date which is very encouraging,” the minister stated.
An upbeat Fedee declared that arrivals were up in all markets except Canada where Saint Lucia lost a WestJet flight, which he said accounted for a decline of about 300 Canadian visitors.
He told reporters that arrivals from key European markets such as the UK, Germany and France are trending upwards.
Fedee stated that there was a 14.6 percent increase in the US market.
“Year to date increase from the US which is our largest market is 6 percent – so that’s pretty phenomenal when one takes into account the volume of people coming from the United States, nearing 160,000 stayover visitors coming to Saint Lucia on an annual basis,’ the minister explained.
He said the US market currently accounts for close to 50 percent of total stayover visitors.
“We also see very strong performances in the Caribbean – 14 percent, led mostly by arrivals from Martinique which increased by 25 percent and Trinidad which also grew by 6 percent. Together these two Islands make up two-thirds or 66 percent of total arrivals from the Caribbean,” Fedee observed.
He said there were expected declines in the cruise sector which he blamed on the construction of new berthing facilities here.
However Fedee told reporters that when the new expanded and improved berthing facility at Pointe Seraphine opens in January, Saint Lucia will be able to host mega vessels and increase cruise ship capacity.
“When we compare July upon July there is somewhat of a decline, but however year to date the cruise industry is still performing very strongly with a 19 percent increase,” he noted.