TOURISM’S RECORD PER­FOR­MANCE CON­TIN­UES FOR 2015

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Saint Lu­cia’s main en­gine of eco­nomic devel­op­ment - the vi­tal tourism in­dus­try - con­tin­ues its im­pres­sive growth tra­jec­tory with fur­ther gains for the open­ing month of 2015.

Fol­low­ing a record­break­ing 2014, tourism of­fi­cials are fur­ther bask­ing in news of dou­ble digit growth in the is­land’s stay-over ar­rivals. For the month of Jan­uary, vis­i­tor ar­rivals grew by 14 per­cent to reach a to­tal of 31,541, the largest num­ber of ar­rivals ever recorded for that month, beat­ing the 28,220 ar­rivals recorded back in 2005.

The is­land’s main source mar­kets, the United States and Canada, con­trib­uted the largest share of growth for Jan­uary. Ar­rivals from the US in­creased 32 per­cent from last year’s fig­ure, whilst ar­rivals from Canada grew by 24 per­cent, an up­surge of­fi­cials at the Saint Lu­cia Tourist Board at­tribute to ro­bust mar­ket­ing cam­paigns and tar­geted pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties.

An­other con­tribut­ing fac­tor to the growth in ar­rivals was the 11 per­cent over­all in­crease in air­lift to Saint Lu­cia. The US mar­ket alone saw a 38 per­cent in­crease in seats, whilst there was a 44 per­cent in­crease in seats from Canada.

Tourism Direc­tor Louis Lewis says as en­cour­ag­ing as the fig­ures are, the SLTB is ag­gres­sively ex­e­cut­ing ad­di­tional mar­ket­ing strate­gies de­signed to fur­ther spur growth in the vi­tal North Amer­i­can mar­ket. “We are fur­ther reach­ing out to the north Amer­i­can mar­ket via our in­no­va­tive sum­mer cam­paign ‘Saint Lu­cia Rocks this Sum­mer,’ which of­fers ex­cit­ing deals from scores of in­dus­try part­ners,” notes Lewis.

Vis­i­tors choos­ing Saint Lu­cia as their des­ti­na­tion of choice dur­ing the sum­mer months not only ben­e­fit from ex­cep­tional ho­tel of­fers, but also get the unique op­por­tu­nity to im­merse them­selves in Saint Lu­cia’s rich cul­ture, her­itage and his­tor­i­cal le­gacy through its famed and col­or­ful car­ni­val cel­e­bra­tions that run from June to July.

Ac­cord­ing to Lewis, Saint Lu­cians in the US and other ma­jor metropoli­tan des­ti­na­tions like Canada, the UK and wider Europe are also be­ing tar­geted to re­turn home through the ‘Di­as­pora’ ini­tia­tive. “Through this cam­paign our na­tive sons and daugh­ters can again reac­quaint them­selves with their ‘Sim­ply Beau­ti­ful’ home­land and all that it has to of­fer.”

The en­cour­ag­ing growth fig­ures are how­ever tem­pered by a slow­down in the UK mar­ket which de­clined by nine per­cent and the Caribbean mar­ket which grew by only four per­cent.

The SLTB will soon an­nounce ma­jor cam­paigns specif­i­cally tar­geted at th­ese mar­kets which aim to ex­cite the travel trade and thereby stim­u­late travel.

Saint Lu­cia ended 2014 on a record high with stay over vis­i­tor ar­rivals es­ti­mated at 338,158, an im­pres­sive six % in­crease over the pre­vi­ous year. The fig­ures recorded for seven months of 2014, namely Fe­bru­ary, March, April, June, Oc­to­ber, Novem­ber and De­cem­ber were the high­est num­bers ever reached for th­ese spe­cific months.

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