PRESS RELEASE – The fourth edition of the Saint Lucia UK Showcase and the 21st Gala Awards took place last week at Luton Hoo Hotel, Bedfordshire, welcoming guest of honour; Dr Kenny D Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia.
Also in attendance were Hon. Lorne Theophilus, Minister of Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries and His Excellency Dr. Ernest Hilaire, High Commissioner. Representatives from the Saint Lucia Tourist Board included Matthew Beaubrun, Chairman; Louis Lewis, Director of Tourism; Tracey Warner-Arnold, Deputy Director of Tourism; and Atlyn Forde, Acting Director of Marketing UK & Europe.
Acknowledging and thanking the UK travel trade for its continuous support and commitment to the island, Dr. Anthony said, “You believe in the Saint Lucia product and have the confidence in selling holidays to the island. Without that confidence, we would not be where we are today with growth in UK arrivals year-on-year.”
Anthony also addressed key issues in the tourism sector, “We have not abandoned our plans for the airport in the South and we have taken a different approach by inviting a private operator to develop and operate the airport. Other plans include updating its arrivals and departure services and a quicker arrivals and departures service will be offered to private jet and high-end customers in the next few months.
“We are also investing $300m in hotel development. As well as new hotels in the pipeline such as Freedom Bay in 2016, many hotels will expand and upgrade facilities so that we can improve our product offering. Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina reopened this month following a multi-million dollar renovation, and Windjammer Landing and The BodyHoliday are currently undergoing renovations.”
Over two days, the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, island hotels, DMCs and airlines had the opportunity to meet and do business with 54 key UK tour operators and travel agents before the start of the winter season. Attendees arranged pre-scheduled meetings to discuss contracts, rates and develop long standing relationships.
The Saint Lucia Gala Awards also took place on Thursday evening. Winners included Caribtours, Tropical Sky, Virgin Holidays, BA Holidays, Travelbrands, Thomas Cook, [email protected] and British Airways
Louis Lewis, Director of Tourism, Saint Lucia Tourist Board commented, “Saint Lucia has seen an 8% increase in UK visitor arrivals from January-July 2014 (compared to 2013) and we wanted to firstly thank our UK partners, but also use Showcase as an opportunity to cement long standing relationships, as well as develop new ones.
“The UK is a thriving market for Saint Lucia and we believe in the importance of hosting Showcase year-on-year; we were honoured to welcome our Prime Minister to such a key event.”