Saint Lucia records Increase in Visitor Arrivals across all Sectors
Saint Lucia continues to see a positive growth trend in tourism arrivals in 2018. The latest figures released by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority at a press briefing at the SLTA Head Office show that visitor arrivals for the year-to-date are up by 10.1%. The destination experienced increases in all sectors, with yachting arrivals up an incredible 31.9%, cruise arrivals up 10.6% and stay-over arrivals up 5.2% compared to the same period last year.
The increases have been spurred by greater confidence in the Saint Lucia product and economy by industry partners who have invested heavily in new or improved services offerings. There has been an uptick in the American Airlines service out of Charlotte, which offered three more flights in May this year than it did in the corresponding period in 2017; while Delta augmented its service by growing its aircraft carrying capacity from a 160-seater aircraft to a 180-seater, as well as increasing the frequency of its service from four times a week in 2017 to a daily flight service in 2018.
Addressing the assembled media on July 11, 2018, Tourism Minister, Hon. Dominic Fedee said, “The October 2018 to April 2019 winter period looks set to be even better than previous years with American Airlines expanding its airlift into Saint Lucia by seven additional flights weekly. That translates to over thirty-five thousand new seats over a five-month period. This is confirmation that the new marketing strategy has worked and continues to work in getting the message out to more people that Saint Lucia is truly magnificent.”
The 31.9% increase in cruise arrivals stemmed from the expansion of the berth at Pointe Seraphine to accommodate freedom class cruise vessels.
For the month of May 2018 the island recorded 32,277 stay-over arrivals—the largest number ever for a month of May. It also represented a 3% increase over last year’s figure, which was also a record.
There are also encouraging signs for the summer months as the implementation of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association’s holiday guarantee allows visitors to book their vacations without having to worry about disruptions in their holidays due to adverse weather. The holiday guarantee programme has been welcomed by travel agencies and tour operators who can now offer their clients an additional layer of security for their vacations, in the event of a hurricane.
The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority is forging ahead with efforts to position Saint Lucia as the experiential destination of choice for romance, adventure, dive, health and wellness, family and culinary, while increasing visibility, especially in the major source markets.