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CASTRIES – St Lucia is recording an increase in visitor arrivals with the island reporting improvements in stayover visitors from all the major markets with the exception of Canada.
Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee told reporters Monday that the figures for the first six months of the year were “outstanding” and he is predicting a continuation of the positive outlook throughout the rest of the year and into 2018.
“Arrivals from key European markets like Germany, England and France are also trending upwards and make for very encouraging reading for the sector.
“The US market is very encouraging, we see a 14.6 per cent increase [year on year] and year-to-date increase from the US which is our largest market is a six per cent increase. So that’s pretty phenomenal, when you take into account the volume of people that are coming from the United States – nearing 160 000 stayover visitors coming to St Lucia on an annual basis,’ Fedee said, noting that the United States account for more than 50 per cent of the total arrivals in the stayover segment.
According to the figures released here, arrivals from the Caribbean also encouraging with visitors from the French island of Martinique showing a 25 per cent increase.
Fedee said that the cruise sector did not fare so well even though he said he remained encouraged by the estimated 20 per cent increase in year-to-date arrivals.
He said improved and increased numbers are expected based on the larger-capacity “megaships” that would then be able to call at the port now undergoing rehabilitation work.
“SLASPA (St Lucia Air and Seaport Authority) and the Tourist Board, they have a plan which would ensure that the other three berthing facilities in the Castries Harbour would still be open and fully operational so that the impact of the construction will be very, very, very small.
“We’re also working with a number of the cruise lines to do some anchorage outside of the harbour so that the opportunities for an expanded and sustained cruise performance will be there,” Fedee added. (CMC)