ANOTHER RECORD YEAR FOR SAINT LUCIA’S TOURISM INDUSTRY
The year 2014 will go down as yet another record-breaking year for Saint Lucia’s main economic engine, the vital tourism industry.
According to figures released by the island’s principal promotions and marketing agency, the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB), total stay-over visitor arrivals are estimated at 338,158; an impressive 6% increase from 2013.
The figures, recorded for 7 months of 2014, namely February, March, April, June, October, November and December, were the highest numbers ever reached for these specific months.
At a news conference convened on Tuesday, January 13th to review the industry’s performance for 2014, Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus, flanked by senior tourism officials, among them Tourism Director Louis Lewis, Deputy Director of Tourism Tracey Warner-Arnold and Maritime consultant in the Ministry of Tourism Cuthbert Didier, reaffirmed the buoyancy of the US market as the island’s main geographic market.
“The US is by far the island’s largest source market, commanding just under half (42%) of total arrivals. Further, arrivals from this market due to targeted marketing strategies grew 11% over last year’s figures,” Theophilus noted.
The UK maintained its position as the second largest source market with a 22% share of arrivals.
The Caribbean market shrank by 8% in 2014, acquiring 16% of market share. Minister Theophilus was, however, quick to announce key strategies which he says his Ministry and the SLTB will aggressively pursue in an attempt to stem the tide and return the Caribbean market to profitability in the long run.
Canada trails as the fourth largest market, despite a 15% increase in arrivals. France and Germany are steadily gaining market share, both record- ing increases in 2014.
Total airlift to the island increased 5% in 2014. Airlift from the US increased 10%, thanks mainly to additional service on US Airways from Charlotte, on United Airlines from Newark, with Jet Blue from JFK and Boston, and Delta from Atlanta and JFK.
Airlift from the UK increased 14% following the year-round service from Thomas Cook as well as the additional frequency on Virgin Atlantic. Airlift from Canada grew 18% with the additional service from Air Canada out of Montreal as well as the new service introduced by Sunwing from Toronto.
The Caribbean, however, recorded an 8% drop in airlift following LIAT’s consolidation of services.
Finance-wise, total expenditure increased 14% for the period JanuaryDecember 2014. The US and UK markets recorded the greatest real growth in expenditure due to increases in both average daily expenditure and total arrivals.
Impressive gains are also expected within the yachting sector which recorded a 17% increase in arrivals up until November 2014. Growth in that sector was attributed to direct successes in governmental yachting legislation and Saint Lucia’s ability to attract mega yachting initiatives like the Russian regatta, the Mercury sailing event and the ARC and its affiliated events.
Saint Lucia tourism officials addressing
Tuesday’s news conference.