A diverse contingent of St Lucian manufactures and artisans are set to participate in the Expo 2020 Dubai global event , due to be held from next month.
Export Saint Lucia (ESL) is spearheading the venture that will see St Lucian products on display, over a six-month period in this highly touted exposition. Expo Dubai 2020 is to be hosted under the theme: Connecting Minds, Creating the Future – with three sub-themes; Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.
According to ESL, over the past 170 years, World Expos have provided a platform “to showcase the greatest innovations that have shaped the world we live in today.” Expo 2020 will continue that tradition with the latest technology from around the globe.
Saint Lucia’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai is poised to showcase the island’s accommodating landscape for tourism, investment, and trade to the millions of visitors anticipated to attend the World Expo held from October, 1 to 31 March, 2022.
“Our display will be world-class manufactured products, creativity of St Lucian designers, novelists, poets, musicians and such structures,” declared Commerce Minister Emma Hippolyte, at the media launch, this week.
“The St Lucian pavilion will boast the ubiquitous green that we know to be our own. The majesty of the Pitons … our turquoise waters and our yellow sand,” she added.
Hippolyte explained that the pavilion will feature a retail shop and a range of products, from pepper sauce to paintings. “This we hope will bring some much needed financial relief to our manufacturers who did not fare too well in this pandemic,” she said.
The minister further stated that all earnings from the Dubai Expo will be returned directly to the manufacturers. While some producers such as Baron Foods will travel at their own expense; the display is ultimately, expected to offer other local manufacturers an opportunity to benefit from this showing.
Minister of Tourism and Creative Industries, Dr. Ernest Hilaire noted that St Lucia’s participation will not be solely for the sale of products, but as well, to promote the island as a vacation destination and for CIP investment prospects.
Dr. Hilaire assured that the promotional display will be supported by the SLHTA, Invest St Lucia and the CIP.
“When it comes to CIP, almost half of our promoters are actually located in the region…Middle East, and North Africa,” he added. “A significant percentage of all the applicants that we’ve got in St Lucia actually come from that region.”
Dr. Hilaire asserted: “What does that offer us? It offers us an opportunity, right there for six months to have a permanent presence where we can attract, invite and speak to potential applicants …and speak to the people who can promote St Lucia, to bring more applicants to St Lucia.”
The minister disclosed that the ‘participating gateways’ are working on strategies geared to bring more investments to the island and hope to develop more source markets in the eastern region.
“There are so many opportunities that exist in St Lucia that we can reach out to a new set of investors,” he said, while assessing the economic prospects in store for the country.
“Traditionally, we get a lot of investors from Europe and the United States. But there is a lot of investors from that part of the world (Dubai)…and when it comes to ‘private wealth’ this is the richest part of the world,” noted Dr. Hilaire.
While the six-month tour of Dubai will cost the government under $1million, all sourced from CIP funds; the total cost of participation in Dubai estimated at a cost of at least $5 to $6 million is being provided by the organizers in Dubai.
With St Lucia down to participate under the Opportunity category, CEO- Export Saint Lucia, Sunita Daniel asserted that the event will afford the island a greater level of exposure on the world stage.
“Preparations have been a monumental task , and the formidable team from the ministries and statutory agencies …have worked tirelessly to express through our manufacturers , and business communities the excellence that is St Lucia,” said Daniel.
The CEO added, “Expo Dubai 2020 will afford St Lucia great visibility and opportunity. The Expo expects millions of visitors from all over the globe and thus, the networking possibilities will be astronomical.”