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(SNO) — Tourism officials are boasting of what they say is a major milestone in the industry with 1.2 million visitors to Saint Lucia in 2018, a 10.2 percent increase overall.
They say the figure represents an increase of 13.6 percent in cruise arrivals and 26 percent in yacht arrivals.
The UK market continues to be a good performer in the industry.
“The UK market is very encouraging, came in with a very strong December,” Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee said at a press conference on Thursday. “And this is despite all the uncertainty in the world about Brexit. We see the UK in December recorded an 18 percent increase.”
He stated that this shows, despite all the challenges and obstacles, that the demand for Saint Lucia in the UK is still strong.
“And this is something that we continue to build on and this is something that is very encouraging for the future trends of the industry,” he said. “And I just want to let you know that we will not spare no effort to ensure that we do everything possible to maintain and increase those numbers.”
Statistics show that 394,000 people stayed over on the island in 2018, with an overall growth of 10.2 percent over 2017.
Fedee said the impact of the increase on the local economy must be measured.
“It’s to make sure that we institute what we call … a tourism satellite account,” he explained. “So that we will be able to trace the tourism dollar step by step but while we are doing that, we are also working on on exciting project to enhance the revenue performance of the destination in all visitor area, in Pointe Seraphine, with our taxi drivers, with our vendors.”
He said the project began with vendors.
“Over 200 of them have been trained in our OECS Tourism Competitive Project,” he noted.
Fedee said that feedback from local properties for the 2018-2019 season has been good and encouraging.
“Very good actually, very good feedback,” he said.
The tourism minister also stated that his ministry is working to have 2019 the best year and to surpass the 2108 figures.