News, Top Story

Tourism Minister Hilaire Speaks on Plan to Upgrade Local Tourism Industry

By Reginald Andrew
ARC participants excited on arrival on Saint Lucian shores
ARC participants excited on arrival on Saint Lucian shores

WITH more sporting and entertainment activities taking place along the island’s beaches the tourism authorities are planning to upgrade the general façade and appearance of these locations.

Through the Community Tourism Initiative, government has been putting a lot of communities into the limelight, so that  they could get a slice of the ‘tourism pie’ and generate income.

Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire noted that activities for this year’s Atlantic Rally for Cruisers [ARC] have been “broadened” as more activities were added to the annual event which Saint Lucia has been hosting for more than 30 years.

Approximately 250 yachters were treated to a Sunset Cruise to Anse La Raye, on Sunday, as part of the hospitality extended to them by the local tourism authorities. And sometime, this month, as part of the ARC, Export Saint Lucia will stage a ‘Saint Lucia Market Place”.

“We are really doing that to add more life and more character to the ARC,” Dr. Hilaire told reporters, at a media briefing, this week.

He noted that after the Covid-19 pandemic, the ARC needed a boost and so, “we are presently discussing  (within the government ) on a very aggressive and very comprehensive plan to upgrade all  the communities and what they (have to) offer.”

The Creative Industries minister also said that more information will be forthcoming on this issue.

“You will see a number of communities getting vital infrastructure that can help create livelihoods,” he declared.

Hilaire also spoke about the hosting of this week’s Tourism Insights Conference, in Saint Lucia. The exercise is regarded as an annual marketing review and planning fixture that involves key stakeholders both local and international. This conference will be held in collaboration  with the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority [SLTA] to discuss “how we are going to present Saint Lucia for the next year, within a broader plan”.

The minister indicated that early next year, legislators will be going to parliament to debate the new Tourism Development Bill.

“That bill is designed to restructure the tourism industry,” he explained. “And for us, a key part of the tourism industry is putting our people first and creating a balance between ensuring that we have the community development and also place emphasis on conserving our environment and those other issues.”

He said, the bill will focus on building a “sustainable tourism industry, but the communities are central to it so we have to provide communities with the infrastructure and the resources.”

He noted that government is currently proving resources through the CTA – Community Tourism Agency, and now “government will have to invest in infrastructural developments in the various communities”.

Added Hilaire – the government will make bigger plans to assist communities  to find ways and means to  contribute to the tourism industry and find a livelihood for themselves.

On Sunday, visiting sailors and other invited guests made the evening trip to the Anse La Raye waterfront, where they  were entertained, with the likes of Papa Vader and Herb Black belting out some of their more popular hits to a merry crowd.

After consuming a  choice of drinks  the visitors enjoyed the sumptuous fish meals, on the menu, ( famous in Anse La Raye ) to the lively entertainment on the streets.

A couple of young sailors, Alexander and Demetrius of Greek and German origin aboard one of the ARC boats told a reporter that  they were grateful to be in Saint Lucia, and to experience such a treat on their first day on the island.

The sailors among others, plan to stay over for the Yuletide season to take in some of the sights and thrills, and then head out to visit other Caribbean territories over the next three months or so.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend