Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Responsible for Tourism, Dominic Fedee, Wednesday announced that Saint Lucia continues to see ‘very great numbers’ this year for the tourism sector.
“The figures for May are actually out and the summary actually suggests that we are about 10.1 percent overall growth when we combine the cruise, the stay over and the yachting sectors,” he told reporters at a news conference Wednesday morning.
“The stay over arrivals, which are hotels by guests, is about 5.2 percent year to date and the cruise sector is very buoyant at 10.6 percent and then there is a 31.9 percent in the yachting sector, all giving us a total or an overall summary of about 10.1 percent,” Fedee stated.
“We are very, very encouraged by these numbers,” the minister told reporters.
However, he explained that the authorities are not satisfied with the economic penetration and are doing everything they can to keep improving in that respect.
Fedee said he was happy to report that the OECS Tourism Competitiveness Project is making significant headway.
“We have already trained 50 vendors with a view to improving their revenue and we are about to train a second batch of 50 vendors so that they are better sales people, so that they have better products to offer; so that their customer service offering is better to cruise lines and hotel guests coming to the market.”
The minister observed that the project is designed to make the market more than a place where vendors are selling craft, but where there can be cultural and culinary experiences as well.
“This project is moving from strength to strength,” Fedee told reporters.
“The other component of it is also aiming towards the improvement of the downtown Castries area which is an immediate area for cruise ship passengers,” the minister asserted.
He revealed that a tender is about to be offered for a contract for the ‘pedestrianisation’ of the William Peter Boulevard.
“We are also looking at other logistic initiatives to improve the situation in Castries as it pertains to pedestrians and also vehicular traffic,” he stated.
Fedee said the authorities are pleased with the progress being made in regard to the Village Tourism project which seeks to enhance, improve and increase the amount of small and micro businesses involved in tourism.
“So anything from restaurants and attractions and small bed and breakfast accommodations or apartments, we are moving ahead – we are now very close to finalising the legislative arrangements which would then allow us a framework to establish the entity called Village Tourism.”