Fedee, Fran­cis say tourism pro­gress­ing in 2017

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

Per­son­nel from the Saint Lu­cia Tourist Board and the Min­istry of Tourism had good news for the me­dia on Wed­nes­day: ar­rivals from most of our mar­kets were up, save from the UK. Fig­ures for the yacht­ing sec­tor also showed a de­cline, but only slightly. The SLTB wanted it known that ev­ery­thing was be­ing done to improve the sit­u­a­tion quickly. On the other hand, tourism min­is­ter Do­minic Fedee in­formed the gath­er­ing that “tourism is more than num­bers of vis­i­tors. It is about driv­ing eco­nomic growth in the coun­try.”

Agnes Fran­cis, the SLTB’s Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­per­son, of­fered a de­tailed ac­count of changes in the or­ga­ni­za­tion, all de­signed, as she de­scribed it, “to put Saint Lu­cia in our cus­tomers’ faces.” Frances said the SLTB was re­open­ing over­seas of­fices and hir­ing pro­fes­sion­als and spe­cial­ists, es­pe­cially in mar­ket­ing and pub­lic re­la­tions. Some of the hired pro­fes­sion­als had pre­vi­ously worked with the SLTB. Over­seas-based Saint Lu­cian mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies had also been con­tracted. They are ex­pected to sell the is­land as the ideal wed­ding set­ting, among other things.

Fran­cis also an­nounced the board’s in­volve­ment with the net­work Melt­wa­ter to keep track of its au­di­ence. The mat­ter of re­duc­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive costs was also ad­dressed at this week’s press con­fer­ence. Fedee con­firmed that a new hu­man re­source man­ager will be hired to cre­ate de­fin­i­tive job de­scrip­tions and to hire can­di­dates who are qual­i­fied, ex­pe­ri­enced and in­no­va­tive, to con­trib­ute to achiev­ing the goals of the SLTB.

In Fe­bru­ary, the SLTB an­nounced plans that in­cluded a hub for lo­cal small busi­nesses to ben­e­fit from the tourism in­dus­try, named Vil­lage Tourism In­cor­po­rated. Ac­cord­ing to Fedee this week, the project is still in its in­fancy stages but will be cru­cial to the de­vel­op­ment of lo­cal tourism. “Vil­lage Tourism In­cor­po­rated will seek to in­crease the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Saint Lu­cians in the tourism sec­tor, mostly at the en­tre­pre­neur­ial level. It’s about go­ing around in the var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties pro­mot­ing the busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties within the sec­tor. It will do three things: theme eight vil­lages and towns is­land­wide so that they can be­come des­ti­na­tions in their own right by of­fer­ing a spa or her­itage theme; de­velop var­i­ous sites and at­trac­tions; ad­vance the al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion sec­tor. Vil­lage Tourism In­cor­po­rated will also help peo­ple who have apart­ments in var­i­ous ar­eas by seek­ing to brand them, give them new di­rec­tion, help with in­te­rior de­sign­ing.”

Both the min­is­ter and the SLTB’s Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­per­son em­pha­sized the changes in tourism glob­ally. They said sights and beaches are be­com­ing less rea­sons for travel, and that cus­tomers are more geared to­ward “ex­pe­ri­en­tial des­ti­na­tions".

Hon. Do­minic Fedee (left) and SLTB Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­per­son, Agnes Fran­cis.

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