St. Lucia to invest millions in OECS Competitive Tourism project

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CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Nov 29, CMC – The St. Lucia government is to invest US$5 million into the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Competitive Tourism Project, Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee has announced.
The World Bank announced earlier this year that it had approved US$26 million for the project, whose objective is to facilitate access and movement of travellers through a pilot ferry service, rehabilitate select tourism sites such as Fort George in Grenada, Fort Charlotte in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Castries in St.Lucia, and help position these countries as one multi-island travel destination
Fedee said he was pleased the Allen Chastanet government had agreed to invest US$15 million into the project noting “one of the biggest components is to increase and improve the façade of the marketplace. “That will help significantly, and provide training for our vendors in merchandizing, sales strategy, customer service, marketing, in all of the other revenue-making opportunities. The other thing is the entire rehabilitation of the market, so that it is more of an enjoyable experience,” he added.
Fedee said that at a recent Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) meeting, one cruise line suggested that while 95 per cent of its passengers de-board, they spent only 20 per cent of their time on shore.
“That says we have piqued their curiosity, but we have not been able to sustain that curiosity. So a national and collective strategy is needed to ensure that we are all on the same page, and that we are working in cohesion to ensure that there are not just arrivals, but revenue penetration and revenue spinoffs..”
He told reporters during the the 2017 ARC celebratory flotilla that there was a need for all stakeholders to play their part in ensuring the viability of the tourism industry here.
Fedee said that the St. Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) was playing its part in marketing the destination, which has resulted in a 10 per cent increase in visitor arrivals.
“The arrivals are not my numbers, the CTO (Caribbean Tourism Organization) has suggested that St. Lucia is the second fastest growing tourist destination as of September, and those really are the facts.
“But we all have to do our part. We have to make sure that as a country, private sector, and business people, that we see tourism as an extra market. So when people come to our country, we need to ask ourselves how we tap into the resource that has been brought to us. There needs to be a complete change in philosophy, in approach, and in how we do business,” he added.

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