St Lucia surpassed welcoming 400,000 stayover tourists in 2019, the first time in the Caribbean island’s 40-year independent history.
For the period January to December 2019, Saint Lucia reported 423,736 stay-over visitors, a release stated. The record figure represents a 38 per cent increase over nine years for the destination.
“We are extremely proud of this achievement as it clearly is the result of strong industry leadership, coupled with well thought out and targeted marketing policies and programmes, that result in employment generation for thousands of St Lucians either on the front lines of the hospitality industry or indirectly via related industries. Surpassing the 400,000 visitor-arrival threshold truly is a fitting way to conclude the island’s recognition of its 40th year of independence,” Minister of Tourism Dominic Fedee said.
An increase in airlift from the US market has contributed to much of the growth. Airlift from the US accounted for 45 per cent of total stayover arrivals or roughly 191,000 visitors.
The Caribbean followed as the island’s second-largest market with 20 per cent of total stay-over arrivals. At third was the UK market with 19 per cent, then Canada with 10 per cent.
“Surpassing the 400,000 visitor-arrival threshold truly is a fitting way to conclude the island’s recognition of its 40th year of independence.”— St Lucia’s Minister of Tourism Dominic Fedee
In total, stayover arrivals grew seven per cent over the previous year, which was also a record-breaking year, and resulted in greater economic activity in St Lucia.
This led to more people paying for accommodation, requesting taxi services, visiting natural sites and attractions, and tasting local cuisine the island had to offer.
“We are not simply interested in increasing numbers but more importantly ensuring that the growth trajectory of the industry is sustainable and that it touches every facet of economic development leading to employment creation and income generation for our people,” the tourism minister commented.
“External reports also indicate that although Saint Lucia has one of the highest average daily rates (ADR) in the region, we continue to be in high demand, which only augurs well for the revenue-generation capability of the destination,” he added.
St Lucia first surpassed the 300,000 mark in 2010 when the island recorded 305,937 stayover arrivals.