SAINT LUCIA (October 10, 2017) – Saint Lucia has recorded strong and steady growth in its tourism sector, so far for 2017. Year to date Saint Lucia has recorded an increase of 94,432 visitor arrivals, representing 14.5% growth over 2016. Stay over arrivals as of August 2017 are up 9% and cruise arrivals are 21% above the previous year. The cruise sector has continued to show very strong growth and this is expected to significantly increase when construction is competed on a new berth at the end of the year. This expansion will allow Saint Lucia to accommodate Quantum class vessels with passenger capacities of above 4900 per port call.
Saint Lucia Open for Business
Having thankfully been spared from the recent hurricanes, our tourism industry continues to operate as normal. Importantly, the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority has partnered with key public and private sector agencies to provide assistance to our sister islands in need. One initiative worthy of note is the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association’s establishment of the Tourism Employee Relief Fund (TERF) for the medium term assistance of displaced tourism workers.
Growing Accommodation Offerings
Saint Lucia’s tourism sector is poised to undergo significant expansion within the next few years. Due to several major hotel projects, the island’s tourism room stock is to increase by 2000 rooms over the next 4 years thereby creating more variety in the accommodation offering. Already for this year, the Royalton Saint Lucia Resort and Spa has opened its doors with 455 rooms in two hotels one catering to families and the other, adults only. Serenity Villas at Coconut Bay Resort, has also unveiled its 36 luxury villas and the Harbour Club is to open in December with 117 waterfront/marina rooms.
Work commenced on the Fairmont Saint Lucia Resort in Sabwisha, Choiseul in September this year. This resort will be a unique space that integrates local nature, a low-rise building complex and a wide range of recreational facilities. The hotel will include 120-five-star hotel rooms, 37 villas, 3 restaurants, a spa, commercial areas for local producers and traders and 3 swimming pools. A special central place within the development will be dedicated for local tradition with several of shops for carvings and paintings.
The Reduit beach will be redeveloped and will become the home of a luxury five-star dual branded hotel called Curio by Hilton. This property will be built where the Rex Resorts was previously located. The Curio by Hilton will feature 500 luxury rooms; 350 rooms assigned to the Hilton and 150 assigned to the Curio by Hilton. Work on this property will begin within the last quarter of 2017.
Work should commence on the Honeymoon Bay Resort in Cannelles very soon. This resort will consist of two hotels; the first is a 250 room 5-star luxury, family all-inclusive hotel and the second is an 80 room, 5-star luxury hotel. This resort will feature an 18-hole golf course and clubhouse and a museum.
The Range Developments signed an agreement with the Government of Saint Lucia to acquire the Black Bay lands and develop Black Bay into an integrated master planned luxury touristic community. The Black Bay Master Development will consist of a Ritz Carlton branded hotel and villas with other amenities set on 180 acres on the southern tip of the island. The hotel is expected to have 180 rooms and will be the central anchor of the Black Bay Master Development. Initial site works are expected to commence in the fourth of quarter of 2017 or the first quarter of 2018 and the hotel is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.
Sandals Resorts International has confirmed plans to add a fourth resort on Saint Lucia. The property will offer 350 rooms and suites inclusive of the exotic Sky Pool Butler Suites, all-butler signature swim-up Rondoval Suites and an infinity-edge sky pool bar. Groundbreaking for the project is set to begin in 2018.
Negotiations are nearing closure with AM Resorts on the development of two of its brands – a 250 room Secrets Resorts and Spa and another 250 room Dreams Resorts and Spa.
In addition to hotel developments, the island will create and capitalize on the concept of village tourism. Eight fishing villages will be transformed into unique tourism villages based on their attributes and strengths. These villages will be uniquely themed and development plans will be established in a participatory manner which address the villages’ infrastructure, culinary assets, architecture and capacity.
Winter is the time to say ‘I Do’
Lauded as the World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination for the ninth time this year, Saint Lucia boasts some of the finest wedding and honeymoon settings imaginable, providing a lifetime of cherished memories including:
· Beautiful Beaches – With over 30 stunning beaches throughout the island. Picture your wedding day set on a palm-fringed beach.
· Cascading Waterfalls – A popular choice for younger couples and the more adventurous types, the backdrop of the waterfall speaks for itself and depicts the uniqueness of the island.
· Historical Parks – The cultural history of Saint Lucia provides a fabulous rustic back drop to any wedding, stunning scenes amongst ruins of naval forts, sugar plantations, and cocoa plantations to name a few.
· Mountain Tops – The Piton Mountains in Soufriere offer a breathtaking backdrop for your wedding.
· Botanical Gardens – Tropical island scents and home to special flora and fauna, Saint Lucia’s botanical gardens are ideal settings for a beautiful wedding.
The island’s wedding coordinators can also recommend one of many private garden locations and hotel properties to provide the perfect setting for a destination wedding.
Soleil Saint Lucia Summer Festival
In 2017, Saint Lucia has launched an ambitious initiative – a Summer of Festivals – aimed at bringing tangible and lasting economic, social and cultural benefits to the country and its people. The Festival builds on Saint Lucia’s outstanding artistic talent and rich cultural heritage and on its experience in designing and hosting unique events and celebrations:
· Food & Rum Festival – a gastronomic event to attract the best chefs, wine connoisseurs, rum fanatics and food critiques from the Caribbean and internationally.
· The Saint Lucia Jazz Festival – Caribbean and international jazz music, an eclectic mix of renown and up and coming talent, with indoor concerts, dinner sets, and outdoor, open air events
· Roots & Soul – A festival dedicated to musicians who are setting new trends in reggae, conscious hip-hop, Afro-punk and R&B.
· Saint Lucia Carnival – Pumping rhythms, sexy costumes and the people dancing under the warm Caribbean sun; welcome to Saint Lucia Carnival.
· Country & Blues – Influenced by African roots, the Blues tells of a rich, powerful history of people and created one of the most influential genres of popular music.
· Arts & Heritage Festival – Building on the celebration of Creole Day, which began in Saint Lucia in 1981, this month-long Festival is a celebration of the richness and diversity of Saint Lucia’s cultural, ethnic and artistic heritage.