CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Aug 14, CMC – The St. Lucia government has welcomed an increase in visitor arrivals to the island during the first six months of the year, saying that it is a sign that the industry and the economy in slowly recovering.
Figures released by the St. Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) show that for the period January to June this year, visitor arrivals totalled 158,244, a half a percentage point drop from the same period last year.
Canada recorded the highest increase in all major source markets for 2012, recording a 10 per cent increase over the same period last year. Arrivals from Canada totalled 23,137.
The United Kingdom, the island’s second largest source market, recorded a 6.3 per cent increase over the 2011 period and that stay over arrivals totalled 37,698 arrivals.
“It is an indicator that the strategies for marketing our destination are bringing a measure of positive returns,’ Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony said in a statement.
“Despite the challenges, we have managed a 6.3 per cent increase in stay over arrivals from the United Kingdom, a performance which can be markedly improved if we are successful in having the Air Passenger Duty reviewed,” said Anthony, who is also the Finance Minister.
The SLTB said that the increase in arrivals was also due to the island being able to attract corporations to hold business meetings here and Prime Minister Anthony said such a contribution could not be overlooked.
“While delegates would be here on matters of governance, more often than not they would get an opportunity to be introduced to our cuisine, culture and other things that make us unique as a place to do business and a holiday destination. Very often, that signifies the beginning of a relationship with St. Lucia.”
Anthony said he is hopeful that the second half of the year will reflect growth in the United States market, St. Lucia’s largest, which suffered a seven per cent decline from the same period last year.