The stellar efforts of scores of travel partners and the role of the media in ensuring that Saint Lucia remains top of mind in the British marketplace has again been underscored and recognized by the Saint Lucia Tourist Board.
The recognition came as part of the 20th Industry Awards Ceremony held in conjunction with observances commemorating March as Saint Lucia Month in the UK.
No other tourism authority in the United Kingdom has a longer running industry awards programme.
Over 13 awards in varying categories were given out, including Best Saint Lucia Travel Writer 2012, Best Website Featuring Saint Lucia 2012 Tour Operator with the Best Representation of Saint Lucia in their Brochure 2012 and Tour Operator with the largest growth in key segments such as weddings, family holidays and group travel.
“Saint Lucia has been our top-selling Eastern Caribbean Island for several years and this is reflective of the continued good work that the Tourist Board does, together with the strong relationships that we have with our Saint Lucian hoteliers. We are confident that with the tourist board’s new initiatives for “Simply Beautiful” we will continue to see growth to this destination following our joint plans for marketing, training and familiarisation trips,” says Lesley Rollo, managing director of Hayes & Jarvis and Thomson Tailormade.
Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus, who participated in the award ceremony, lauded the efforts of the UK-based travel partners, saying that their dedication and hard work had resulted in well over 75,000 visitors from that market gracing Saint Lucia.s shores.
“Your unwavering commitment to our destination in 2012 allowed us to record a 4 percent increase in UK arrivals over 2011 which represented 25 percent of total arrivals for Saint Lucia,” Theophilus said.
The two-part event, which also updated travel agents and the media on Saint Lucia’s latest marketing strategies, featured a series of presentations from renowned industry insiders such as Tracy Denman-Hughs – former Thomson general manager, and Clemencia Weise – former representative for the SLTB who initiated the awards.
SLTB officials also held positive dialogue with key business partners like British Airways and Virgin Holidays, both of whom are projecting increased business activity with Saint Lucia for 2013.
“We have been offering holidays to Saint Lucia for many years and have always enjoyed a close working relationship with the Tourist Board. Continuing to grow in popularity, Saint Lucia is one of the most popular year-round destination for BA customers – attracted by quality products in a unique destination, marketed to perfection by a committed team,” noted Claire Bentley, managing director, British Airways Holidays.
Saint Lucia benefits from regular direct flights on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick, and will add on yet another flight in November from Manchester, a key gateway in the north, with Thomas Cook airlines. From November 2013, the island would be serviced by 14 direct flights a week from the UK; one of the highest numbers recorded to date.
Adding much star power to the event were Saint Lucian celebrities in the persons of Joseph Marcell, best known for his role as the Butler in Fresh Prince of Belair, Annaliese Dayes, finalist in Britain and America.s next top model and BBC Presenter Angellica Bell who is of Saint Lucian origin.
For more information about the island of Saint Lucia call 1-800 456-3984, or 1-800 4STLUCIA or visit www.saintlucianow.com.