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The tourist industry is sound.
That’s according to Minister for Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries, Lorne Theophilus.
His pronouncement followed a high-level meeting with the Director of Tourism Louis Lewis and President of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association Noorani Azziz to assess the impact of the Christmas Eve trough system on tourism stakeholders.
At a press briefing at the Saint Lucia Tourist Board in Vide Bouteille on Thursday, December 26, 2013, the minister revealed that currently there are four cruise ships at the Castries harbour. With the island’s infrastructure battered but operational, vendors, tour operators and taxi drivers are still able to earn a living.
All air and seaports are functional, says Minister Theophilus. He also reported on the success of the clean-up campaign undertaken on Christmas Day, noting that passengers from the cruise ships lent a helping hand where they could. This, he says, is testament to the value visitors place on Saint Lucia as the Helen of the West Indies.
Meanwhile Lewis was concerned about the volume of flights affected by the trough. However, he was pleased to report that with the reopening of Saint Lucia’s airports, airlines have been able to accommodate passengers.
Lewis also announced that tourist and heritage sites suffered minimal damages and as such, are opened to the public.
SLHTA’s Azziz said reports from his members indicate that infrastructural damage to their properties was not a concern. Unfortunately, many hotel staff and their families were impacted severely by the weather system.
According to Azziz, adjustments and accommodations for staff were being made by hoteliers.
At the end of the briefing, tourism officials said with certainty that Saint Lucia is open for business.
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