Florida Caribbean Cruise As­so­ci­a­tion Comes to Saint Lu­cia

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michele-Lau­ren Hack­shaw

On Tues­day the Florida Caribbean Cruise As­so­ci­a­tion (FCCA) hosted a meet­ing at St. James Club Mor­gan Bay with the lo­cal cruise sec­tor rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Dur­ing the en­gage­ment a num­ber of top­ics were ad­dressed in­clud­ing trends within the cruise sec­tor, safety and se­cu­rity, im­prov­ing the cruise des­ti­na­tion for vis­i­tors as well as a dis­cus­sion on Saint Lu­cia’s tourism prod­uct.

“Our meet­ing was very suc­cess­ful in that we re­ceived a lot of good in­for­ma­tion, in terms of how the des­ti­na­tion is per­form­ing, from FCCA,” Min­is­ter of Tourism, Do­minic Fedee said, adding, “We now have a bet­ter op­por­tu­nity to go back to the draw­ing board.”

The Min­is­ter of Tourism noted that the cruise sub-sec­tor still needs to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in the de­vel­op­ment of Saint Lu­cia’s econ­omy as the cruise in­dus­try gen­er­ates thou­sands of jobs with a num­ber of busi­nesses in the tourist sub-sec­tor re­ly­ing on that in­dus­try.

Min­is­ter Fedee af­firmed the meet­ing was proac­tive in ways of ad­dress­ing some of the is­sues that “have stymied that com­pet­i­tive­ness so badly, to cre­ate that dom­i­nance and to main­tain the Caribbean as one of the lead­ing cruise des­ti­na­tions in the world”.

CEO of the FCCA, Michelle Paige, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of ninety mem­ber cruise lines of the FCCA men­tioned the most im­por­tant thing dis­cussed was “You’re Saint Lu­cian”.

“What sets Saint Lu­cia apart? This is part of the mes­sage that we en­cour­age ev­ery sin­gle stake­holder that meets and greets any cruise pas­sen­ger, cruise mem­ber, any vis­i­tor to Saint Lu­cia to know,” she said. “To be able to im­pact ev­ery­thing that sets Saint Lu­cia apart, whether it’s see­ing at­trac­tions, the beauty of the beaches, the won­der­ful cui­sine, the ho­tels, the peo­ple . . . ev­ery sin­gle thing that makes Saint Lu­cia tick.”

She added: “What you’re sell­ing is team Saint Lu­cia,” re­it­er­at­ing the im­por­tance of com­pet­i­tive­ness in the in­dus­try, and tak­ing ad­van­tage of the as­pects that make Saint Lu­cia stand out. “When that hap­pens, you’re in de­mand, you’re not just sand and sea; you’re a de­mand des­ti­na­tion.”

When he spoke again on the oc­ca­sion, the tourism min­is­ter was happy to an­nounce that the Saint Lu­cian gov­ern­ment was at an ad­vanced stage of es­tab­lish­ing a na­tional tourism coun­cil. The pur­pose of the coun­cil would be to en­sure all rel­e­vant part­ners were on board at a high level to make vi­tal de­ci­sions to move the in­dus­try for­ward.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the min­is­ter used the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss the es­tab­lish­ment of vil­lage tourism. “For ex­am­ple, the man liv­ing in La­borie must un­der­stand the pot­tery he is do­ing plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in the de­vel­op­ment of the prod­uct that is Saint Lu­cia. Or the man who is mak­ing bread in Den­nery is very unique and must un­der­stand that it car­ries a po­ten­tial for the de­vel­op­ment of tourism.”

Fur­ther, Fedee noted there would be a ded­i­cated in­sti­tu­tion deal­ing with some of the aris­ing is­sues of cul­ture and her­itage, some of which he felt were taken for granted, and that sig­nif­i­cant ef­fort would be put into the de­vel­op­ment of tourism in the com­ing months.

Min­is­ter of Tourism, Do­minic Fedee (left), with CEO of Florida Caribbean Cruise As­so­ci­a­tion (FCCA), Michelle Paige.

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