Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire is elated with the announcement that Saint Lucia captured the coveted World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination title for the fifteenth-consecutive time at the prestigious World Travel Awards.
The grand ceremony took place in Dubai, UAE on 1st December where Saint Lucia emerged victorious amidst stiff global competition. Prime Minister Philip J Pierre accepted the accolade while attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) also being held in Dubai.
Hilaire said the title award depicts “the quality of the product” that the destination has to offer.
“We are going to continue to work to ensure that Saint Lucia remains one of the premiere romance destinations in the world,” he declared.
“And certainly, there are other areas of our product that we will continue to work on,” the minister added. He recalled that this year, Saint Lucia also won the award for the Caribbean’s Leading Destination in Nature and Adventure.
Towards a long-term developmental plan, Hilaire said, the authorities are looking forward to investing more through the UBEC programme.
The Unleashing the Blue Economy in the Caribbean (UBEC) Project, financed by the World Bank, is designed to strengthen the enabling environment for the blue economy and to enhance resilience of selected coastal infrastructure in and across Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.
The Blue Economy is defined as an approach to promote sustainable and integrated use of marine resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and job generation while preserving the health of ocean ecosystems. It covers a range of interdependent sectors, including fisheries, coastal tourism, and waste management.
“We want to develop more into the diving sector …there are a lot of resources in the diving sector,” the minister added. “Adventure is really taking off in Saint Lucia, (and) we see quite a lot of applications for incentives and concessions for Saint Lucians wanting to start off their own experiences. So, that’s a very good sign.”
He recalled that last week, government signed off on an agreement for the sale of Mt. Pimard lands “for the establishment of a major resort in that area …and it will be a very valuable addition into the Saint Lucian product and will become the largest property in Saint Lucia, as well.”
He continued, “So, it will be a major development.”
Commenting further on the latest global tourism award, Hilaire stated that branding is a “very valuable” component in that aspect towards the development and promotion of the destination.
He said, this shows “that we are out there at the top of the list, so when individuals are looking for destinations for honeymoons and even for weddings, once you enter the system, Saint Lucia comes to the fore”.
Noting the significance of attaining these accolades and accomplishments, Hilaire asserted: “So, keeping Saint Lucia up there is really a vital task. And getting those awards really helps us a long way in being in the forefront of the minds of people, such as wedding planners, and even individuals who are planning to get married and want a honeymoon – Saint Lucia must always be in their minds.”
He added, “It helps us, and it’s of tremendous importance to us to continue those relationships and to receive awards such as these.”