“THE numbers are astounding!” Honourable Minister for Tourism Dominic Fedee announced to a gathering of local media at the headquarters of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, earlier this week.
The Tourism minister went through a list of numbers, each demonstrating the improvement the country has seen, in various aspects of the tourism sector.
“This is the best first quarter we’ve ever had at 110 032 visitors, ever in the history of St. Lucia…” Fedee said.
The Minister continued, stating that “It is also the best March we’ve ever had, where some 41 000 visitors would have come to our shores”; before pointing out that this year’s figures have surpassed the previous historic figures from last year.
“So, we are breaking our own records.” Fedee said in regards to that particular feat.
He also expounded on the Cruise Sector, stating that it “continues to show a significant rebound as well.”
“We see that January to March, cruise figures are up 13.5% and if we compare the March of 2017 versus the March of 2018 there’s a 27.3% increase in Cruise passengers coming to our destination.” Fedee said.
The Tourism Minister also spoke about St. Lucia’s capacity to host “quantum-class” cruise ships, pointing out the recent arrival of MS Freedom of the Seas, and that this was “the second time, we have [had] a quantum class vessel; and this follows our historic hosting of the Anthem of the Seas, which came in earlier in the year in January.” Fedee said.
The Anse La Raye/Canaries MP mentioned that the Government’s plans to establish a berthing facility in the South “are well [on] stream”; stating that with its completion, St. Lucia, “will not only have the ability to become a home port destination full fledge, but…will also now have the ability to host the Genesis Class ships, which are the biggest ships that they are building now.”
Fedee went on to mention that “the Cruise Industry is growing rapidly, around 7% annually in the Global Market”; and that “St. Lucia is projected to have about 800 000 cruise passengers this year”; citing his ministry’s “strategic development of the sector; both in terms of the infrastructure and with…marketing promotion…”, as the reason for this positive projection.
One set of numbers the tourism minister did not mention, were the financial ones. He said that to offer numbers that have not yet been finalised would be careless but promised to release those figures as soon as they are made available to him.
“Now I’m sure that you would like to hear about the revenue side of things.” He said to media members present.
Fedee said that all indications, point to an “uptick” in revenue and promised, “we will finalize those figures.”
“The statistics department is ensuring that the preliminary numbers will arrive” he mentioned before stating that he, “ wouldn’t be so careless and share those figures with you now…”.
He went on to assure everyone that at “a subsequent press conference we will be sure that we share the revenues with you.”