CASTRIES, St Lucia, Thursday March 7, 2019 – The month of March is expected to be a record-breaking period in St Lucia’s cruise sector.
Between March 1 and 3, 12 cruise vessels, including the inaugural call of Crystal Esprit, brought an estimated combined capacity of 19,052 travellers to the destination; and it is expected that an additional 125,434 visitors are expected for the rest of the month, tourism officials say.
And in an effort to maximize the benefits, special focus is being placed on the development and management of the cruise sector.
“We are doing everything possible to ensure that St Lucians benefit more from these impressive numbers. A revenue committee has been established at the Tourism Council to yield greater economic penetration for our people,” said Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee.”Therefore, the tremendous growth we are experiencing is a great beginning and we are committed to making this count by training our vendors and other stakeholders to focus on revenue.”
With St Lucia’s capacity to welcome Vista, Quantum and Freedom Class vessels, cruise increased by 13.6 per cent in 2018. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is projecting six to seven per cent growth this year, continuing an upward trend that began in September 2018.
In the near future, cruise travellers will also have much more to see and do, as the island is moving towards community-based tourism strategies. The Department of Tourism has earmarked eight communities nationally for the development of the Village Tourism programme with the aim of promoting linkages between onshore businesses and other sectors of the economy.
The idea is to convert each of the communities into a tourism destination, highlighting its unique culture, cuisine, heritage and history.