THE opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) spokesman on Tourism and Investment, Ernest Hilaire, has described as ‘a major disappointment’, reports that the Mercury Beach event is moving back to Martinique.
The event dates back on July 2013, when it was held in Martinique and four subsequent ones were held in Saint Lucia.
It was first held on the beach of Pigeon Island National Park.
Ernest Hilaire told St Lucia Times that “The government of this country and Tourism Minister, Dominic Fedee, owe the people of Saint Lucia an explanation.”
He noted that Mercury Beach brought thousands of French visitors to this country, injecting considerable sums of money into the local economy.
“Car rentals, the malls and even Gros Islet Friday night, you could not get anything to eat or drink on that particular weekend,” the Castries South MP observed.
“I think we should express concern and seek answers as to why the government is not supporting the hosting of the event in Saint Lucia.
“We need details and it is time that the Minister of Tourism and the Tourism Authority provide a very clear account to Saint Lucians as to why an event that was seen as hugely successful and a contributor to our local economy, is no longer being hosted in Saint Lucia,” Hilaire told St Lucia Times.
Mercury Beach, when it was hosted here, was billed as an upmarket event with the primary objective of providing a unique beach experience to Saint Lucians and visitors.
The target markets for organisers included French territories like Martinique, Guadeloupe and Saint Maarten.
The event included gourmet cuisine, premium drinks and entertainment.
According to news reports, the event attracted 7,000 visitors and over 600 vessels in 2016, with a direct economic impact estimated at at EC $12.1 million.