Given the current economic situation on island and the high dependence on tourism, President of the Central Craft and Dry Goods Vendors Association (CCDGVA) Peter Isaac has proposed that government considers developing packages with Caribbean states to attract more tourists here.
Isaac told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) in a recent interview that he believes more measures need to be implemented to attract tourists from Caribbean and French territories that have not yet been targeted.
“… they sometimes do really good business. Sometimes the [benefit] is much better than the expectation from those from Europe,” he said.
Isaac said locally hundreds of people depend solely on tourism. The island is currently in the off-peak tourism season. During that time, a cruise ship may dock at Castries port once a week or every other week.
“Really and truly in light of the economic situation, when the cruise season is closed it puts a strain on the industry,” the tourism stakeholder added.
Isaac explained that vendors depend mainly on the cruise tourism sector for sales, and from what he has seen some vendors open shops with the hope that tourists staying at hotels would patronise them.
He lamented that there is no other industry to piggyback on.
The vendors who would fall under the dry goods category are those who vend clothing and souvenirs.
The Carnival season is another period, which vendors bank on to generate an income, Isaac noted.
The CCSGVA president suggested that government look at creating tourism packages with cruise lines and airlines to promote the destination in other Caribbean territories, where tourism may not be the main income earner.
He believes that the possibility of such a venture could prove successful once the markets are properly studied.
The World Travel & Tourism Council Report of 2013 indicates that the total contribution of travel and tourism to St. Lucia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 39.0 percent. In 2012, it was reported that travel and tourism directly supported by 13,500 jobs.