Carnival Corporation plc and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd last week signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Government of St Lucia to create a joint venture that will manage the existing cruise pier and terminal facilities in Saint Lucia, as well as design, construct and operate a new cruise port on the island.
According to the MOU, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean, along with the Government of Saint Lucia, will curate a long-term concession agreement that will formalise the terms and responsibilities for the joint venture, which will manage and operate the current cruise pier and terminal facilities at the Port of Castries.
In addition, the joint venture will design, finance, construct, and operate a new cruise port in Vieux Fort, which is to the south of St Lucia, that will be able to accommodate the latest and most innovative ships in the cruise industry.
Prime Minister of St Lucia Allen Chastanet, who called the signing of the MOU “historic” and “a major step towards enhancing Saint Lucia’s tourism product”, expressed appreciation to the cruise liners for their confidence in the island as a destination.
“Saint Lucia has had record-breaking cruise arrivals over the past few years and we thank our partners Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean for their continued confidence in our amazing destination.”
He added: “It is essential that we continue to diversify what we have to offer, grow our brand, and ensure that different sectors in our island’s economy benefit from the growth in cruise tourism and that Saint Lucians can benefit from the opportunities which arise from the increased numbers; which means we have to improve our capacity.”
As a result, the construction and operation of the new pier will translate into “employment at several phases of the project, the expansion of existing businesses, and the formation of new enterprises”, the prime minister explained.
“With the new development project, Saint Lucia will be very well positioned for jobs and significant economic impact for years to come”— Giora Israel, senior vice-president of global port and destination development, Carnival Corporation
Further, under the new agreement, in addition to developing new cruise infrastructure to support the industry’s latest ships and promote the growth of cruise tourism on the island, the joint venture would optimise the experience for guests visiting Saint Lucia.
“This is an exciting day for our guests who already love the beauty and deep culture of Saint Lucia and an important step in sustaining cruise tourism growth for the island,” said Giora Israel, senior vice-president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation.
“We look forward to working closely with our JV partners to give cruise passengers great experiences when visiting the island. With the new development project, Saint Lucia will be very well positioned for jobs and significant economic impact for years to come,” he continued.
Together, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd currently account for 75 per cent of all cruise ship deployment to Saint Lucia.
“The cruise market is the fastest-growing sector of tourism and in the next decade cruising in the Caribbean region is anticipated to increase by 40 per cent,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean.
“We are excited to partner with the Government of Saint Lucia to ensure that the destination directly benefits from that growth, while giving more guests the opportunity to visit this unique gem in the Caribbean.”