CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Monday November 7, 2016 – Throughout the Caribbean, growth in arrivals from the United Kingdom has continued its recovery into 2016. But in St. Lucia, the latest tourism statistics tell a different story.
After what appears to have been a brief resurgence in 2014, British arrivals to St. Lucia have steadily declined. For the year up to June 2016, arrivals from this market – which accounts for roughly a quarter of all stay-over visitors to St. Lucia – were down 3.5 per cent, compared to the same period in 2015.
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) had expected additional airlift from the UK to boost arrivals in 2016, as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and the Sun Wing all increased capacity. However, travel advisories related to the Zika virus, in particular, coupled with uncertainty surrounding the Brexit vote may have tempered growth.
The ECCB expects the remainder of the year to be just as challenging – a sentiment that may be supported by the recently released October 2016 edition of the World Economic Outlook by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The IMF now anticipates growth in the UK economy to slow to 1.8 per cent in 2016 from 2.2 per cent in 2015, and has revised its growth projection for the UK economy in 2017 downwards to 1.1 per cent.