Saint Lucia welcomed 50,000 visitors from the UK in the first seven months of 2022, slightly less than the 51,000 it attracted during the same period in 2019.
Lorine Charles-St Jules, chief executive of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA), added that arrivals to the UK for March, April and July 2022 had exceeded figures for the same months in 2019. The Kingdom United is the second largest market on the island, behind the United States.
Talk to GTT at a Saint Lucia media showcase in London, Charles-St Jules said she was “cautiously optimistic” for 2023. “The first quarter is looking really good, and we’re looking forward to an even bigger year [than 2022],” she added.
Charles-St Jules said the total number of visitors from all tourist markets between January and July was 210,000. This represents 81% of the 262,000 visitors the destination received during the same period in 2019.
She said restaurants across the island, including those in hotels and resorts, also reported their best July this year. “I’m really proud of our culinary sector, which is rebounding, and our restaurants and hotels offer exceptional culinary delights.”
Investment and innovation
Charles-St Jules said the agents were “incredibly important” to Saint Lucia. She added: “We are a solid destination, we have invested in our product and we work with travel agents. If we grow, they grow and we want to strengthen our partnerships with trade. Tourism is our business, and it is what Saint Lucia depends on.
The destination is hosting three familiarization trips this fall, focusing on diving, romance and luxury, each for 10 to 15 agents, with additional trips planned for 2023.
Charles-St Jules also highlighted the “continued investment” in the island with renovations and renovations underway at properties including Cap Maison Resort & Spa, Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa and Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort. . Newcomers include AMResorts’ Secrets Saint Lucia Resort & Spa, which is slated to open in 2023.
In September the island dropped all Covid-related pre-travel requirements for visitors and Charles-St Jules said the SLTA had spent the past three years “building, auditing and augmenting what we do”.
A pub crawl initiative is to be launched, which will be promoted by the DMCs to encourage visitors to explore the bars on the island. “We encourage people to go out for a few hours and experience the culture of Saint Lucia,” explained Charles-St Jules. Next year, the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival will be back, May 5-11.
The Collection de Pepites program was launched in April, promoting more than 400 small properties, all of which offer between 10% and 15% commission to trade.
The island also hosted its carnival from July 10 to 20, attracting 10,000 visitors. “It was the highest number of revelers ever, so if you’re interested in carnivals or festivities, come to Saint Lucia,” added Charles-St Jules.