Castries, St Lucia — Saint Lucia joins the rest of the Caribbean in celebrating increases in visitor arrivals in 2015. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) announced that visitor arrivals to the region were up 6% at the end of the first quarter, whilst Saint Lucia alone recorded a 6.4% growth over the same period last year.
This growth has continued past the first quarter for Saint Lucia however, with a 1.4% and 7.2% increase recorded in April and May respectively. At the end of the first five months of the year, total stay-over arrivals to the island was 159,077; up 5.5% from the same period in 2014.
Furthermore, the figures recorded in the first four consecutive months were the highest figures for these months ever recorded in the island’s history. The 29,658 arrivals recorded in May this year was, however, the highest figure for that month in the last five years.
The North American market has been extremely buoyant this year, with Canada recording a 10% increase in arrivals year-to-date (YTD) and the US 9%, stemming largely from the increase in airlift and strategic marketing approach within the respective markets. The greatest percentage increase however, was noted from the Caribbean, which stood at 22,142 arrivals at the end of May – a 21% increase from the same period last year. Improvement in the data collection method, particularly in capturing arrivals from Martinique by boat, has been attributed to this increase.
Tourism minister Lorne Theophilus told a news conference on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, that “as impressive as the growth performance figures were, there will be no letup in Saint Lucia’s push toward reenergizing and invigorating the international marketplace via well-orchestrated strategies in key source markets.”
Europe, however, has not fared as well as other source markets, with marked declines in arrivals from the UK and Germany along with other European countries being recorded several months this year.
Targeted promotions and marketing campaigns planned for later this year should result in increased arrivals from these markets before the year of 2015.
In other performance areas, cruise tourism is also on the rise, with a 9% increase in arrivals being recorded between January and April, following a 4% increase in cruise calls. In yachting, a 1.5% decrease in arrivals was noted, despite there being a 14% decrease in calls.