It Will Be Different to old Board.
THE transition of the St. Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) into the St. Lucia Tourism Authority appears to be going smoothly and could very well be up and running by next month.
Agnes Francis, the person overseeing the evolution said that a draft legislation bill has already been finalized with the Ministry of Tourism and is expected to go to the Cabinet of Ministers next week. The bill is expected to be taken to parliament before the end of this month in an attempt to have legislation in place come the beginning of next month.
“In terms of what the new Authority will look like, it will be different to the existing Tourist Board,” Francis said.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet three month ago said the new entity will be more private sector involved and will create its own revenue with ordinances that limit the amount of money that could be spent on overheads.
The Authority will comprise five divisions focusing on the work it has to do namely Marketing, Product Development/Destination Services, Research/strategic Planning, Finance and Corporate Services. The divisions will be reporting to a Chief Executive Officer who in turn will report to the Authority’s Board of Directors.
The marketing division will have four departments comprising a new one called digital marketing which will look at social media advertising, promotions and the maintenance of the Authority’s website. The other departments under the marketing division are public relations which involve generating content for the website as a lot of the Authority’s marketing will be online. The public relations department will also be involved in information dissemination providing information on St. Lucia all the time to feed the website.
The other departments are Advertising and Promotion which will deal with campaign development and execution and creative and collateral, and Sales which will include a call center. That department will also focus on trade and consumer shows and press and travel agents fora.
It is not to clear whether the call center will be operational this financial year, according to Francis. However it will have two areas of focus, one dealing with travel agents and the other dealing with other the several niches that make up the tourism product.
Product Development and Destination service will deal with training/ capacity building and public education along with business opportunities/linkage, product quality, standards, product enhancement and visitor safety.
The Research/Strategic Planning Division will handle statistics, visitor surveys, analytics and market analysis while the Finance and Corporate Service Divisions deal with administration, accounts, tax collection, etc.
Tourism Minister, Dominic Fedee’s announcement last year that the Tourist Board is in a very bad financial state raised eyebrows with its financial statements showing that it started the 2016/2017 financial year with payables from 2015/2016 of over $6 million.