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SLTB concerned about decline in performance of UK market

By SNO Staff

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Left to right: SLTB Director Loius Lewis, Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee, SLTB Chairperson Agnes Francis.

Left to right: SLTB Director Loius Lewis, Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee, SLTB Chairperson Agnes Francis.

Saint Lucia has recorded a 12 percent decline in performance in the United Kingdom (UK) market, something that is a major concern for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB).

Director of SLTB Loius Lewis told a media conference on Thursday that this is mainly do with the 11 percent decline in the pounds sterling caused by Brexit.

Lewis admitted that it has been a challenging market for the past several months, but noted that every effort is being made to ensure that there is no further decline in this market.

As such, a special event is being organised in the UK which will be called ‘Saint Lucia Showcase.’

“We will be getting all trade providers who sell Saint Lucia, to be engaged with our local hoteliers and ourselves as the destination promoting agency, for a day and a half promoting Saint Lucia,” he stated.

The event is billed for sometime next week in a major location in the UK.

The SLTB director complained that a lot of people have traveled to the UK to take advantage of the lower pound sterling and UK travellers have done a lot more staycations because of the increase in travel.

He said Saint Lucia is not the only country in the Caribbean that is being affected by this, but explained that the country wants to be the first to maintain a presence and push Saint Lucia as a preferred destination.

“We have every reason to believe that we will be successful. Its not just about offering Saint Lucia as an ordinary vacation option, its presenting a compelling reason to visit the destination, where we showcase what our core and strengths are: soft adventure, romance, cultural history and heritage.”

Despite the decline in the UK market, Saint Lucia has recorded growth in the North American market.

The United States market alone has grown by some 6 percent, while the Canadian market has seen more substantial growth of over 51 percent with the assistance of adjustments made by Air Canada.

“So our North American counterparts are doing well,” Lewis said.

On the other hand, the Caribbean market has seen an overall decline of 2 percent.

“Martinique is our strongest market for arrivals in the Caribbean. Barbados and Trinidad are doing quite well. And we have every confidence that by the end of the year, we will see an overall increase,” he added.

There has also been a 16 percent decline in the cruise sector, with less ships calling into port Castries.

The overall visitors arrival at the end of July, 2016 saw a decline of 0.6 percent.

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6 comments

  1. I understand that our tourism sector is performing poorly this year but the reasons given by these officials at this press conference and reiterated here by SNO is ridiculous.

    First off, they should make it clear that they are comparing July 2015/16 and not the year-to-date arrivals so far because that's a more depressing result.

    Second, Brexit officially took place on June 23 so we really haven't felt the effects of Brexit. Granted that there was a lead up to the referendum so UK visitors could have held back on travelling due to the high level of uncertainty on their status in the EU. But we need to keep in mind that majority of UK residents plan their trips weeks/months in advance.

    But I'm baffled at this reason for our poor performance when Barbados, Antigua as well as other ECCU countries are registering positive UK arrivals. Isn't Brexit affecting travellers to these countries as well? For example, in August 2016, Barbados reported a 3 percent increase in UK stayover arrivals (http://www.wiredja.com/tourism/item/3336-barbados-records-increased-tourist-arrivals-for-first-half-of-2016). When I read reports like these I tend to ask myself, what other reasons these people are hiding from us?

    Any rationally thinking person would know that this unfavorable performance has everything to do with the destination just as it does with the economic conditions in the source market. Is Saint Lucia losing its competitiveness or are all the criminal acts against our British visitors coming back to haunt us?

    (3)(0)
  2. Saint Lucians are just too laid back culturally. Clearly there was no plan in place to counter the obvious expected decline in travel. When will we learn? Or, can we? The second question is more important than the first. It is obvious that the actors were sitting on their hands like the politicians in the government, collecting a regular paycheck for just talking bilge. Then they have the gall to talk to us about productivity. For them, hot air is productivity.

    (1)(0)
  3. Loius lewis must be cah believe fedee is his minister after da crap he talk...he looks devastated...lol

    (2)(1)
  4. The plain truth is that Brits can get much better value in Spain and the Greek islands. Bars and restaurants not offering very good value in the Caribbean.

    (10)(0)
  5. The decline in the £ has been the main issue as the weakening has been at a significant level.

    But we can be positive for two reasons.
    A) The pound is beginning to recover.
    B) The scaremongering about Brexit has proven to be massively false and in fact the UK is picking up and people are positive. It is the EU that is in trouble with their frauds in Brussels acting like dictators and destroying Europe.
    A good marketing program is needed now to get this market off and running again.

    (9)(3)
    • Your thinking is skewed towards a fiscal explanation why there is a decrease in Brits coming to St Lucia. You have blanked out the negative social, criminal problems tourists experienced in St Lucia. Serious
      work need to be done to change ST Lucia’s negative profile. You can’t sell people ‘paradise’ but when they get there they are in fear (real or perceived).

      (2)(1)

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