St. Lucian tourist officials denounce “false and misleading pronouncements on the industry’s performance”

Press Release

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saint-lucia-tourismPRESS RELEASE – Tourism officials on Saint Lucia have strongly denounced what they term false and misleading pronouncements on the industry’s overall performance.

Tourism continues to be Saint Lucia’s leading industry; serving as the country’s primary engine of growth, stimulating wide spread economic activity, encouraging foreign and local investment while at the same time directly  creating employment opportunities for thousands of Saint Lucians and, indirectly, for many thousands more through various suppliers and support industries.  

The islands’ lead tourism promotions and marketing agency – the Saint Lucia Tourist Board says the last four years have seen exceptional growth in the sector resulting in substantial gains in virtually all categories.  The most encouraging category which boast a considerable upsurge is with the significant increases in stay-over arrivals. This is the area that impacts almost every other category.

Between 2012 and 2015, the island recorded a 12% overall increase in arrivals, from 287,000 to nearly 350,000 arrivals. The United States, the largest and fastest growing source of stay over arrivals expanded from 38% to 44% of total arrivals over the last four years.  In 2015, the island welcomed 152,738 visitors the largest number of US arrivals ever recorded, while UK, the second largest market, accounted for an average of 72,170 arrivals per year over the last four years peaking in 2014.   

The Caribbean, the third largest market with the exception of August, logged increases in arrivals every month of the year resulting in a 13% increase in overall arrivals and an average of 18% market share over the four years.  Arrivals from the Caribbean produced the largest number from that market in 2015 recording an impressive 62,745 stay over visitors.

Last year Saint Lucia recorded an impressive 344,908, stay-over arrivals – an increase of 2% over the previous record breaking year.  According to Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus, “The Island recorded increases in stay over arrivals every month during the first two quarters of 2015, with the best performances being recorded in January and May.   The months from January to April and June and October of 2015, generated the highest numbers ever recorded for these specific months, while the figures for March were the highest number of visitors ever recorded in any one month period.”

Other encouraging trends include comparable growth in the Cruise sector. This sector continues to enjoy steady increases and has contributed to the direct positive impact to the growth of the tourism sector as well as having a tangible positive impact on other sectors as well. This growth coincided with an annual increase in cruise calls, although it was generated by 52 additional calls between 2012 and 2015.

All of these trends are contributing to what may be the most encouraging areas of growth, an increase in total expenditures by visitors during their stay.

According to Minister Theophilus, “This trend of visitors spending more while here in Saint Lucia results in real economic growth and it also means that various other sectors are directly benefiting from the tourism sector reflecting the true fiscal contribution of the tourism sector to the overall Saint Lucian economy.”

These robust gains in Saint Lucia’s tourism sector are a direct result of the hard work and dedication of scores of industry officials and the thousands of employees and support staffs who work tirelessly to deliver first class customer service to our visitors.

The continued growth in the tourism industry can also be directly attributed to new and innovative strategic marketing efforts targeted at key sectors of the island’s source markets.

Concerning airlift, seating capacity from the island’s main market, the US, increased by 12% in 2015 thanks to carriers like AA, Jet Blue, United Airlines and Delta, which took advantage of the strong demand for the island in that market. The Saint Lucia Tourist Board, along with the Ministry of Tourism and the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority have worked tirelessly over the past four years to drive increases in airlift into the country.  

More specifically, the island saw the introduction of direct service from New Jersey on United Airlines in 2013; from New York on Delta and from Boston on Jet Blue in 2014; and only December last year, we received a new flight out of Chicago on United Airlines.  Sunwing from Canada also returned from October 2014 to March 2015, providing direct service from Toronto, and is closely linked with the new Royalton Saint Lucia (former Smugglers), which is scheduled to open later this year.  Capacity was also increased from the UK, following the introduction of service on FlyThomasCook, direct from Manchester – a gateway that was unavailable for nearly a decade!

Over the last four years, a more strategic approach was adopted with regard to the airlift policy, which was more in keeping with the total number of visitor arrivals and therefore, afforded better load and yield factors.  The US and UK markets have seen increases in airline seat capacity, whilst the Caribbean Market, which prior to 2012, had one of the largest number of seats yet smallest loads, received the greatest cut in seating capacity following changes to LIAT’s Caribbean schedule.  All other markets maintained a relatively consistent number of seats over the four year period.

With the CTO declaring 2016 the Year of Romance in the Caribbean, Saint Lucia’s tourism product maintains its strong appeal – the breath taking attractions, state of the art accommodations, warm and hospitable people, excellent service delivery and scrumptious renowned cuisine continues to resonate with visitors.

Total visitor expenditure for the first half of 2015 was estimated at over US$414 million; a 12% increase from the same period last year. That impressive growth trend looks set to continue in 2016 with early projections set at 2.8%.
The stay over arrival potential as well as on island expenditures look to be in position for even more growth as Saint Lucia tourism officials are preparing to welcome over 700 new hotel rooms to the island’s accommodations in 2016.


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  1. Has somebody cajoled the Tourist Board into making such a statement. This is precisely why most people have no confidence in our official departments and their statements. You bringing the organisation into disrepute when you (subliminally) correlate figures to political party terms of office.

  2. Tourism is not a Labour Party thing it is a St. Lucia thing. If SLP want to say that they have improved Tourism let them come and show the figures, how much money was made and how it was spent.

    That thing about showing figures from 2013 should not be a role for the Tourist Board. Tourist Board should come with a chat and show us how Tourism figures has been climbing over the years (from 1979), the slumps for certain periods and what contributed to those slumps? How can we make stronger gains etc.?

    In 2016 you all coming with that kind of psychology and you all still wondering why young people don't want to vote?

  3. Should I say "the preceding was a paid political advertisement?" I mean if you want to come and tout your figures you come and do it, however name one Caribbean country which did not record increased successes in Tourism? The established financial organisations did predict those figures as a result of much colder winters, the rebound of the US economy etc.

    If the government wants to take credit for that, i don't know cause i don't know if Labour is in charge of Tourism in the other Caribbean Islands. The Tourist Board also mentioned records only between 2013 to now, what happened before then? Weren't records broken before then? I mean its quite stupid to try to take credit for increased visitor arrivals when this is a continuing phenomenon (which is only hampered by natural/ man-made disasters or economic meltdown) regardless who is in power. Even war zones like Iraq and Syria still continue to attract tourists on a much larger scale than St. Lucia.

    This is why many people have even questioned whether Tourism is in fact an industry. Its a service at best, and if we were making that generalization in making it a "service industry" we would probably make more money. As we would not look at visitors coming to our shores as "tourist" but people requiring services and we would work towards the provision of service, which would broaden our horizon.

    However in our calculated myopic state we have devised a way to keep people stupid and politicians relevant, devising a thing that we call Tourism, that we cannot even measure. No wonder we have so much difficulty in producing figures as to how much is actually made from tourism. What better environment for a politician to thrive in, a situation where industries are ill-defined, money made or lost is irreconcilable and the people are just plain stupid. After all. why should a shopkeeper be preoccupied with the amount of people coming to his shop as opposed to how many are spending or actual money made?

    If the Board wants to come out with figures then it should just publish it, no sense mentioning that others are giving incorrect figures or pontificating a certain period. As far as i am concerned the Director has been there way before 2013 so its the same Board. When things improve they can take credit if they wish but by that same token when it slumps don't attribute it to world issues. STUPID PEOPLE!

  4. The real question in focus should be where is all that 414 million (us) dollars gone too because am not sure who's really benefiting from it.. if this is the case well people you need to do some more work and St Lucians wake up because there is something really wrong here

  5. I don't trust any numbers since the 5000 jobs created in 3 months.

  6. whats the stury here? is someone questioning the statements made in this piece.


  7. Aa Chastanet do not want to hear that.You put the man in the shade.Wow! Continue the growth in the industry.

  8. Reading this release and the CTO report, they are both saying the same. In 2015 ST Lucia had an increase in tourism by only 2% when the region increase was over 7% in 2015 from previous years. I believe that the boom we realised in previous years was because of the improvement in the global economy and what Mr. Chastanet left in place in the Ministry. Mr L Louise learnt from Mr. Chastanet. Now this government need to move forward like the others and they can't.

  9. So if everything is so great is this little paradise of ours why isn't this being felt on the ground?

  10. I wish you all would respond to other things this rapidly... jufali, etc.

  11. What numbers that's been cooked do you know about tourism do you work in that industry, or you just like to nag.people like you that keeping uwp behind you all to stupid opposing every dam thing gosh man

  12. Oh come on (some will undoubtedly cry out)! Y'all cooking the numbers. But I will say "well done."

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