THE Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association is looking forward to an exciting 2021 win-ter season as countries around the world gradually reopen their borders and lift covid-19 restrictions. There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic halted the travel industry last year but this year, SLHTA is projecting that visitor arrivals will increase for the coming season. This expected increase, the SLHTA believes, will auger well for the livelihoods of St Lu-cians across the board.
Newly appointed Minister of Tourism Hon. Dr. Ernest Hilaire publicly expressed his enthusi-asm about the prospects for the tourism arrivals this winter especially with the reintroduc-tion of Virgin Atlantic Airlines, which services one of the island’s primary source markets. “I am very excited about the promise of increased visitor arrivals from our key source markets this winter. Coupled with the return of Virgin Airlines, the prospects for increased employment, improved trade with local producers and opportunities for entrepreneurship will greatly improve,” Hilaire said.
The Minister also stressed that the Government was committed to ensuring collaboration with all stakeholders to ensure that Saint Lucia is safe for every Saint Lucian and visitor alike.
In echoing his statements, Chief Executive Officer of the SLHTA Noorani Azeez said the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic could not be ignored and reaffirmed his association’s com-mitment to working closely with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Tourism to en-sure safe and fun travels for all to the Helen of the Caribbean.
Azeez added the SLHTA was also encouraged by the engagements with the Ministry of Tourism over the past few weeks. “We trust that this commitment to ensure ‘consultation be-fore decisions are taken’ will ensure decisions are made in the best interest of our island.”
Likewise, Paul Collymore, President of SLHTA is also optimistic of the upcoming fourth quarter. “The pace of business for our accommodation sector is encouraging and showing positive trend over 2018 – 2020. This forecasted level of business activity will redound to the benefit of all Saint Lucians,” he said.