Gross Mis­man­age­ment to be blamed for Lack of Tourism Brand­ing

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Gross mis­man­age­ment im­peded the Board from car­ry­ing out its main func­tion of mar­ket­ing Saint Lu­cia as ef­fec­tively as it should.” This was one of the as­ser­tions made by min­is­ter of tourism, Do­minic Fedee last Tues­day, as he spoke at length dur­ing the House sit­ting of par­lia­ment. He sought to ex­plain why gov­ern­ment was com­pelled to make some piv­otal moves to re­store the vi­a­bil­ity of the is­land’s main economic driver and for­eign ex­change earner - Tourism.

The 2016/2017 bud­get of the Saint Lu­cia Tourist Board the Min­is­ter dis­closed ap­pears to have been al­most ex­hausted by Septem­ber. “With a bud­get of 34 mil­lion dol­lars for the fi­nan­cial year 2016/17 the Board had al­ready spent 26 mil­lion dol­lars by the end of Septem­ber and so of the re­main­ing eight mil­lion, 4.8 mil­lion dol­lars was al­lo­cated for ad­min­is­tra­tive ex­penses and three mil­lion dol­lars was com­mit­ted to con­tracts to UK air­lines to op­er­ate as mar­ket­ing, cre­ative and public re­la­tions agen­cies. No al­lo­ca­tion was made in the Bud­get to cover the payables, which con­tinue to be of much con­cern to the func­tion­al­ity of the Board. Eleven mil­lion dol­lars was al­lo­cated to the Saint Lu­cia Jazz Fes­ti­val and the ac­tual ex­pen­di­ture was in ex­cess of 14 mil­lion dol­lars,” the min­is­ter cited.

Under the cir­cum­stances he an­nounced that the Gov­ern­ment would take the bull by the horns and usher in a pe­riod of tran­si­tion and trans­parency to ad­dress the per­ilous state of af­fairs at the Saint Lu­cia Tourist Board. The Min­is­ter said the time has come for change and the in­dus­try has be­gun to take steps to res­cue the is­land’s main­stay from suf­fer­ing fur­ther losses. Min­is­ter Fedee said when the fi­nan­cial au­dit of the Saint Lu­cia Tourist Board is com­pleted; he will re­port on the find­ings and make the re­sults public.

Fedee also added that the gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia aims to achieve greater re­sults from the tourism sec­tor in the ar­eas of visi­tor ar­rivals, cruise tourism and yacht­ing.

The Min­is­ter told the House of Par­lia­ment that the emerg­ing statis­tics on visi­tor ar­rivals for the is­land along with a di­ag­no­sis of the fi­nan­cial stand­ing of the Saint Lu­cia Tourist Board both present dis­mal find­ings.

He said, “there seems to have been a fo­cus on the Land Based Tourism Sec­tor and there wasn’t any clear man­date to pro­mote the is­land as the des­ti­na­tion of choice that it should be for cruise pas­sen­gers.”

The Tourism Min­is­ter added that: “Cruise pas­sen­ger ar­rivals year to date to Saint Lu­cia records a 19.6 per­cent de­cline.”

Min­is­ter Fedee said it is very con­cern­ing that the Board fell be­low its tar­get fig­ures in sev­eral key ar­eas, in­clud­ing the UK and Canada mar­kets, cruise and visi­tor ar­rivals.

Min­is­ter in the of­fice of the prime min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for Tourism, In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing, Hon. Do­minic Fedee said that piv­otal moves are to be made to re­store the is­land’s tourism brand­ing.

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