Saint Lucia hosted the 32nd crossing of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers from December 4th to 19th 2021, and hosted the inaugural ARC January just six weeks later. This new race was introduced to give participants an opportunity for smoother sailing, thanks to the constant trade winds with few calms at that time of year.
To ascertain the economic impact and participants’ perception of the races and the on-island activities, services, and facilities, a survey was conducted by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority among participants berthed at the marina.
Responses were collected from December 14th to 21st amongst the 886 participants of ARC 2021, and from January 31st to February 7th amongst the 214 participants of ARC January. Data reveals that spending during the events amounted to approximately $5,226,028.20
General Manager at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina, Sean Devaux remarked “The economic impact for Saint Lucia is tremendous and we are forever grateful. There is no vertical integration with the impact, it is spent at the grassroots level. Just to know that we can successfully bring this event here to Saint Lucia, year after year with such an economic impact is remarkable and we continue to develop more products with World Cruising Club, which Saint Lucia benefits from.”
Safety protocols and requirements to enter Saint Lucia were well received, as indicated by 96% of the respondents. 78% of all respondents described the experience as either excellent or good and 93% indicated that they would recommend the event to others.
After braving 2700 nautical miles across the Atlantic to Saint Lucia, a warm welcome was hosted by the Events Company of Saint Lucia. Ranking high on the list are the cooking demonstrations and Farmers Market. The berthing facilities and security levels were the highest commended attributes. Patrons also noted that the Friday Night DJ was the most liked activity, followed by the IGY Welcome Party, whilst the most attended events were the IGY and ARC Welcome parties.
“Most participants are on holiday during these events, and they take that opportunity to explore the island. It’s not just about the boats but they take that time to go visiting whether that’s down to Soufriere, climbing the Pitons, enjoying the Mud Baths, or ziplining, the myriad of things that are available in Saint Lucia they all love and enjoy”; Remarked Andrew Pickersgill, Event Manager- World Cruising Club
The largest share of expenditure was spent on food and beverage, with slightly smaller amounts being spent on hotel accommodation, boat repairs, and berthing fees. Destination tours, taxis, and entertainment during both events account for a significant amount of expenditure.
The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, World Cruising Club, IGY Rodney Bay Marina and the Events Company of Saint Lucia will continue to work together to provide the best visitor experience, noting areas for improvement in tailoring the visitor experience.