AS the return to normal life is in progress following the passage of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Dominica nearly three weeks ago, an official from St. Lucia’s leading hotel chain is looking at the other end of the rainbow.
Managing Director of Sandals Resorts St. Lucia, Winston Anderson, says that although the events that unfolded during the natural disaster are extremely “unfortunate” and heart-rending, there is some good that will undoubtedly come from it for the bottom-line of other islands.
Although that good comes at the expense of the islands severely damaged by the hurricane, namely Dominica and Puerto Rico, other islands of the Caribbean that were not affected by the storm surely will — and should — capitalise.
Anderson said: “I think (that in the) short-term, you’re going to see a lot of diversion into these destinations which provide opportunities for long-term tourism, both in the hotel sector and the cruise ship.”
He continued: “We have to naturally seize these opportunities and to make sure that the level of service of experience that we provide to the guests is one of such that they’re going to come long-term. So there are opportunities there.”
Anderson said the way the Caribbean is viewed on a whole by the outside world makes situations like devastating hurricanes create even more competition than there was before.
This is why, he said, St. Lucia’s tourism industry needs to step up to get ahead.
He said: “Sometimes the Caribbean is grouped as one and so when something affects a section of the Caribbean, in a wider market, it is seen as the Caribbean. And so, we have to ensure that we step up our marketing campaign. We have to ensure that we step up our social media campaign so that people know that St. Lucia is great, the beaches are great, the people are great and that the island was not affected. So it’s very important that we do that.”