Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus has responded to concerns about the potential threats the Cuban tourism market poses to St. Lucia.
The minister said while St. Lucia will not disregard Cuba, it will not pay more credence to that island nation, than it does to any other competitor in the global tourism market.
“Our strategic market has been working to the benefit of the destination,” Theophilus stated.
United Workers Party (UWP) candidate Dominic Fedee had urged the government to establish a National Committee to look at the potential threats the Cuban tourism market could pose to this island.
But Theophilus said he is not concerned about Fedee’s recommendation.
“He probably has his reasons for saying we need to develop a strategy for Cuba. But we have a national strategy concerning the strategic positioning of the destination as a whole. We are not going to developing a strategy just for Cuba,” the tourism minister asserted.
According to him, St Lucia has pitched itself quite well in the world market and there are certain areas which could be strengthened from time to time, to enhance the island’s presence on the international market.
“So far we are on a record pace in terms of stay over arrivals and cruise arrivals this year. So we are hoping that we will continue on that trend and ensure that St. Lucians are proud of what we are doing,” he remarked.
Turning his attention to the state of the country’s capital – Castries, Theophilus admitted that the garbage issue not only affects tourists, but citizens as well, but explained that there are various other institutions that are in place, which the ministry collaborates with regularly to ensure that these issues are addressed.
He also agreed that there should be greater enforcement of the litter laws in St. Lucia, to ensure that the city and other parts of the island are garbage free.
“It’s long overdue. We should prosecute people for dumping garbage. But we should also look at enforcing stricter penalties for petty crimes, so we can deal with people who go about snatching things from people,” he added.
Tourism is the leading economic sector in St. Lucia, contributing an estimated 13.8 percent of GDP and provides direct employment for approximately 20,000 people.