An 18-month hiatus in official cruise ship visits to Saint Lucia ended on Tuesday when the Viking Orion made its inaugural voyage into Port Castries.
While this was seen as a slow start to the new cruise season, it was nonetheless a start that brought enthusiasm to tourism officials here.
Needless to say Port Castries came alive that day with excitement and action as the first-time visiting cruise ship berthed at Pointe Seraphine.
The Viking Orion was welcomed by the officials from the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) and other industry partners, namely; Ministry of Tourism, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA), Invest Saint Lucia and the St. Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association (SLHTA).
Agents for the cruise line Platinum Port Agency were keen to get the ceremony on the way and the customary exchange of plaques led by SLASPA and the Ministry of Tourism.
“We are delighted to witness another cruise ship at Port Castries. The restart of cruise in Saint Lucia brings hope to the industry that will re-energize other related sectors and the economy in general. The Authority continues its engagement with local and international industry stakeholders and agencies to increase the annual cruise calls to the island. As a collective, we hope to leverage the destination’s natural beauty and our other emerging and related tourism products to make Saint Lucia a preferred destination for all cruise lines. The cruise schedule will see itself being more populated over the next few months, indicating increasing arrivals,” said Senior Manager for Business Development and Corporate Communications, Mr. Gasper George.
It has been said that the forecasted increase is important considering the challenges faced by several entities depending on tourism for their continued business and development. Further that the hope of cruise returning to its substantial contribution to the national economy is a reason for optimism.