Favourable Out­look on Tourism for 2017

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Clau­dia Elei­box

The Min­is­ter in the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­ity for Tourism, In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing, Hon­ourable Do­minic Fedee, along­side rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Saint Lu­cia Tourist Board, re­cently par­tic­i­pated in a panel dis­cus­sion fo­cus­ing on the ex­pec­ta­tions of the tourism in­dus­try for the year 2017. On Tues­day 7 March they pre­sented to the me­dia a de­tailed out­line of the new, more ef­fec­tive struc­ture of the Saint Lu­cia Tourist Board to gen­er­ate more in­ter­est from tourists.

Is­sues that caused de­clines in tourist mar­kets over the past year were noted. This in­cluded Bri­tain’s with­drawal from the Euro­pean Union and the out­break of the Zika virus. Mov­ing for­ward, the tourism in­dus­try plans on in­vest­ing to pre­pare for sim­i­lar oc­cur­rences. There are also pro­jec­tions to im­prove the tourism sec­tor to in­clude lo­cals, their busi­ness ideas and nec­es­sary con­tri­bu­tions for the devel­op­ment of the in­dus­try.

Hon­ourable Min­is­ter Fedee noted, “I think that this year is the year of rev­o­lu­tion for lo­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion in the hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try.” The min­is­ter made men­tion of ac­com­mo­da­tion for the agri­cul­tural, cul­tural and cre­ative lo­cal in­dus­tries. “I have been a firm be­liever for a long time that our agri­cul­ture-tourism link­age needs to be less talk and more ac­tion. I have been pleased with the pri­vate sec­tor pur­chas­ing from lo­cal fac­tors re­cently.”

With re­gard to the cre­ative and ta­lent con­tri­bu­tions, much dis­cus­sion has been made con­cern­ing the launch­ing of an agency whose main fo­cus will be on de­vel­op­ing com­mu­ni­ties into holis­tic tourism prod­ucts. This does not mean com­mer­cial­iz­ing or de­struc­tion of lo­cal prop­erty and her­itage. Min­is­ter Fedee em­pha­sized, “A lot of our cul­tural and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal as­sets will be re­fined and pro­moted into valu­able tourism as­sets so that Saint Lu­cia be­comes a des­ti­na­tion of more soul and we stay ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion.”

Other plans for im­prove­ment in­clude tourist av­enues and ho­tels closer to the in­ter­na­tional air­port. Ho­tels and tourist ac­com­mo­da­tion his­tor­i­cally be­gan in the north of the is­land, the fur­thest point from the air­port. The aim is to have more op­tions for ac­com­mo­da­tion rang­ing from three and a half star to five star ho­tels. The re­de­vel­op­ment of our air­ports into more at­trac­tive, tourist-friendly sites is also be­ing con­sid­ered. The Min­istry of Tourism and the Saint Lu­cia Tourist Board also plan on tap­ping into a few dif­fer­ent tourist mar­kets than the usual ones of Europe, Canada and the Caribbean for cruise and va­ca­tion. Con­fer­enc­ing mar­kets and travel tour web­sites will be tar­geted in the up­com­ing year.

De­vel­op­ments and com­mence­ment of some of these new ini­tia­tives will soon be an­nounced to the pub­lic.

Left to right: Char­maine Joseph - SLTB PRO, Hon. Do­minic Fedee - Min­is­ter of Tourism, Agnes Fran­cis - SLTB Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­per­son, Roslien Au­gustin - SLTB Re­search and Plan­ning Man­ager.

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