Fedee wants gov’t to monitor Cuba’s potential tourism threat

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Fedee wants gov’t to monitor Cuba’s potential tourism threat
Dominic Fedee
Dominic Fedee
Dominic Fedee

Public relations professional turned politician Dominic Fedee is urging the government to establish a National Committee to look at the potential threats the Cuban tourism market poses to St. Lucia.

Fedee told a news conference on Monday (Nov. 2) that the United Workers Party (UWP) observes with great concern the pending thawing of relationships between the United States and Cuba.

He said that there have been a number of tours and one major cruise line that have announced tours to Cuba this year, with the potential of these tourist arrival numbers increasing in the future.

“This in itself is a trend indication as how things are going, as travel restrictions continue to be reduced for tourist travel from the United States to Cuba, our major source market,” he added.

Fedee said this issue should be addressed head-on, so that St. Lucia can optimize on the few potential opportunities, given that Cuba currently outshines every single Caribbean destination.

The current regional public relations manager for Sandals also observed that Cuba has already placed a dent in the traditional Caribbean markets such as Europe, where they have access to over one million tourists.

The country is also getting over one million visitors from the Latin American market and another million from the Canadian market, which is number one for every single Caribbean destination.

“It shows you the power of the Cuban brand, and the mystique and the great attractions that they posses. It also shows the drawing power they have for our visitors and the world over,” Feedee explained.

While experts have projected that the opening up of the Cuban tourism market may affect islands in the Northern Caribbean, more than it will affect St Lucia, which is located in the Southern Caribbean; Feedee said there is still need for concern because even cruise ship arrivals can immediately be impacted.

“This is especially in times of high oil prices where the cruise lines might be tempted to go into a position whereby they are looking to cut cost on travel. I think there is a lot here to be considered by a number of people,” he said.

Despite this, the UWP politician believes that there are still a number of opportunities to consider, where St. Lucia can plan for the potential one million tourists coming out of the Canadian market, while simultaneously trying to tap into to other source markets to increase tourist arrivals here.

But while Feedee is extremely concerned about the potential threat the Cuban tourism market poses to other Caribbean tourism destinations, including St. Lucia, Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus had made his opinion clear that he is not worried, because “Cuba is just another competitor.”

Theophilus had told a media conference in January this year, “As players in tourism, we compete against the world. Everyday there is new destinations, everyday existing destinations do the things we do, try to improve and expand on their tourist product so that they can attract the tourist dollar just as we do.”

While he has admitted that there may be some “intrigue” surrounding Cuba, the tourism minister said his ministry and by extension the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) “intends to continue to pursue what we believe is our sustainable and strategic strategy towards the marketing and development of Saint Lucia as a destination.”

Theophilus had boasted about Saint Lucia’s unique qualities and said when that is fused with the island’s unique culture; Cuba is nowhere close to offering that. “We believe that once we continue doing this, we will continue to maintain our presence and Cuba’s emergence within the market will not affect us in one way or the other.”

According to a 2011 International Monetary Fund (IMF) study called “The Vacation Is Over: Implications for the Caribbean of Opening U.S.-Cuba Tourism, by former senior IMF economist Rafael Romeu, “the opening of Cuba to US tourism would represent seismic shift in the Caribbean’s tourism industry.” The study said that it would result in 3.5 million to 5 million US tourists to Cuba a year.

Cuba was once a haven for sun-seeking American tourists. Beautiful beaches, lively casinos and late-night dancing made it the perfect getaway, only an hour’s flight from Miami.

This prediction has already started to take shape, as a few Caribbean islands have recorded minimal growth in tourism numbers, as against previous years, when they would have had far more successful figures.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. Now read SLP's characteristic baby babble. Wherever have you ever heard more solemn nonsense?

    [Quote] ... [T]he tourism minister said his ministry and by extension the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) “intends to continue to pursue what we believe is our sustainable and strategic strategy towards the marketing and development of Saint Lucia as a destination.” [Unquote]

    Most definitely, this wet-behind-the-ears so-called minister, knows not the first thing about marketing and tourism. This toddler, I tell you, is still daddling in diapers. Another SLP stand-up comic. Tell us where in the world, which country, which city, which town, which heritage site, which tourist attraction is NOT marketed as a "destination"?

    SLP has been reduced to producing in serial fashion, one political circus act after another. So SLP has characteristically become far and wide, nationally, internationally and financially, a classic clown act, past-masters at always doing, or just plain shooting shate. Now I know why we are all enjoying such better days.

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  2. “This is especially in times of high oil prices where the cruise lines might be tempted to go into a position whereby they are looking to cut cost on travel. I think there is a lot here to be considered by a number of people,” he said.

    Is Fedee saying that oil prices in the US where the cruise ships buy their fuel is high? I thought it was only high in St. Lucia? What is Butch giving this guy to smoke? Oil prices in the US is the lowest its been in years.

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  3. You st lucians aint ready yet there is so much out there and yes Cuba is a threat, first you need to think about security (with the crime rate increasing)
    Cuba i`ve been there and with the rich history and all it has to offer am afraid alot of caribbean countries will suffer, and if cuba continues to get help and things begin to improve am sure it will be a better option as a tourist destination for people....

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  4. The writer of this article if fully right. St. Lucia is too expensive with 15% Vat and high import duties. After 12 years in St. Lucia I saw it coming. I live now in Panama, almost everything 30% cheaper, more to see and enjoy, friendly people and only 4,2% unemployment. Tourism brought 3,2 billion US$ in local spending in the first 9 months of this year. First class medical care at very affordable prices. Panama has only 4 million inhabitants and is about 90 times bigger than St. Lucia. St. Lucia is beautiful but TOO expensive. I feel deeply sorry for the high number of unemployed people in St. Lucia. Social misery, unrest and crime. I would advise youngsters with a good technical education to learn Spanish and find a job in Panama.

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  5. why spend government money on something like this when we have real problems? Two 16 year old girls gang raped in their home- spend money on getting the crime lab reopened, not on another "study" or "commission" that wastes money and never gives results.

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  6. Lorne doesn't realize that Fedee is a regional insider of the industry and can see how much of a problem to our tourism industry Cuba is becoming.

    What he meant is that Cuba is a new market which offers everything we do cheaper and on a grander scale and it is much closer to the U.S. and Canada. If you have never been to Cuba and think that two mountains can continue to lure people here then go ahead. Young visitors aren't even impressed.
    Cuba is going to offer cheap packages.

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    • I couldn't agree more especially with what you said "If you have never been to Cuba and think that two mountains can continue to lure people here then go ahead. Young visitors aren't even impressed".
      I had a conversation with a young American tourist about 18 years old some years ago. A group of us were playing cricket Pigeon Island early one morning and he asked us if he could join in the game. After we took a break he made an interesting remake and said he wanted something exciting to do while he was on island as sitting on a bus and going on tours were for older folks. Now he might have had a point. What current attractions do we have that appeals to younger tourists?

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  7. Lorne doesn't realize that Fedee is a regional insider of the industry and can see how much of a problem to our tourism industry Cuba is becoming.

    M

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  8. Dominic Fedee is a visionary and his vision of the future is not liked by those that would rather duck their heads in the sand. I just returned from Havana. I saw Americans everywhere. The US media is wall to wall Cuba this and Cuba that. That's Million$ of FREE publicity. Cuba is the forbidden fruit denied to the US tourist for over 50 years. If you are depending on US tourists to put bread on your table-Get ready for a crash diet.

    My company is attempting to help Caribbean Islanders, but so far their attitude unfortunately matches many of the comments I just read here. I hope people start to listen to people like Mr Fedee and come up with alternative plans-Like Maybe some China advertising.

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    • I agree with you. They need some serious out of the box thinking. We can no longer continue to do things the same. We cannot continue to prostitute the Pitons, we need serious innovative ideas.

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  9. Mr Fedee, thank you for your two cents contribution. Could you kindly disclose the source of your information. Not sure you know where you got those figures you have been quoting especially as it relates to the Canadian tourists. In case you were not aware there has never been any restrictions on Canadians going to Cuba. Secondly, Cuba has been so restricted from food, five star international hotels and foreign direct investments that Cuba has to build by way of infrastructure to accommodate the demands of those american visitors. Frankly speaking while we are ware that in the initial stages because of curiosity a number of americans will visit Cuba, the avid tourist who wants to be pampered will not be satisfied with the experience given the lack of five star treatment, they will not return or stay in Cuba. By the time that word gets out, persons will be seriously considering their vacation destination. Notwithstanding that, St.Lucia and the SLTB has absolutely no clue on what they should be doing to promote and strengthen the tourist product. For a country who depends heavily on tourism, I fail to understand why we go about boasting that there is the "tourist season" and the "off season!" This is crazy! The Government believes that a Tourist must always be a caucasian (white man). Why can't we create activities to attract different types of tourist through out the year. Yes we have Jazz in May and Carnival in July, we all know the these two months have been attracting a number of different markets, but let's be creative here….why can't we have a summer splash in August in an attempt to attract American and international college students who look for a new destination for their summer break? Two weeks of activity is all you need, build a stage in the sea and have the part in the water on the beach!!! Second of all in October, we have Kweyol festival…why don't we have a Creole Festival bringing in the international French Artisit ! Two weeks of activity!!! That's what I'm talking about! Why can't we have tourist magazines at all major airports around the world….jah!!!! think!!!!

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  10. Mr Fedee is ST LUCIA the only tourist destination in the Caribbean? let us bilid our economy to attract the tourist and stop worrying about CUBA SHE IS A SISTER ISLAND

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  11. Are you telling me Mr Fedee, countries like Canada, the Uk, the USA, France are doing nothing to attract foreign tourists? If the your answer is I don't know I say shut your mouth. If your answer is they do then I say your proposal and indeed you are pathetic. Your plane will be a waste of time and energy and will achieve nothing. The only thing it will propagate is a fruitless hostility towards a country which has extended hands of friendship on many occasions. I rather think in its quest to attract many to its shores St Lucia should look pass not just Cuba but every country out there competing for foreign tourists.

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  12. Any idiot could see what's coming. You don't need to waste money to see that. None of these politicians have any vision for this country. The only way forward is diversification, within and outside of the tourism industry. We were forced to diversify away from the banana industry, why not plan ahead of the next storm. All these idiots calling for useless spending are forgetting that we don't have an endless supply of money.

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  13. what mate say is true but the real issue is if these people spend money and how much of it they spend cause if three boats come to our ports and the visitors hardly or ever come out so they can see the island and spend money on tours and etc it a making sense they come here if they dont spend, but in these three boats if a little do come out is not everyone that makes a dollar cause of the limited amount which may come out and also actually spend money so for everyone to be happy when these huge ships come here alot of the visitors should come off the ships and see what we have to offer and also are willing to spend the money they have cause if they dont spend it we dont make it

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  14. Man! Come on! Castro is Kenny's pal. No? No way! Cuba won't hurt us. You know?
    Kenny dumped VP Kerry to go to Cuba to make it known to the whole wide world that he is Castro's friend. Kenny even joined and followed Castro presidential style, in muzzling the local press with his only known use of the law, which is to inflict punishment and pain.
    Remember a guy who was forced to shut up after a lawsuit? That guy ate soap afterwards.
    Kenny could not use the law positively to see that the Frenwell contract was flawed. That cost to Saint Lucians $48 million. He could not use his knowledge of law, as lecturer with two law degrees and a doctorate to detect a serious flaw in the contractual arrangement on the Blackbay Lands. That cost Saint Lucians another $86 million. Once, twice and three times, he could not use his knowledge of law to detect a flaw in that Grynberg sell out. That set the entire country back again some $150 million dollars. What did we get for all this evaporated millions? A big fat nothing.
    Therefore, Cuba is no threat. It is a partner. For Kenny, with a Choiseul hinterland world view, any blasted communist nation in the world is a friend of Saint Lucia. When the Americans allow for full credit card transactions with Cuba, and airlines to fly back and forth, we will have more of it coming to stupid us. More 'better days'.

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    • Your are right. No vision. Greetings from quite prosperous Panama. The Lucian government should listen to and strengthen relations with Panama. Barbados did it already.I lived 12 years in St. Lucia. enjoyed it, till things declined badly since 2010. I am very happy in the cool highlands of Panama. Total multi cultural society.

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