St Lucia records increase in stay over tourist arrivals
CASTRIES, St.Lucia, Jan 18, CMC -The Ministry of Tourism in St. Lucia, recorded a six percent increase in arrivals in 2014 when compared to figures for 2013.
According to the St Lucia Tourist Board, total stay over visitor arrivals are estimated at 338,158.
It said figures recorded for seven months in 2014 - February, March, April, June, October, November and December - were the highest ever reached for these specific months.
At a recent news conference called to review the industry’s performance, Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilius reaffirmed the buoyancy of the US market as the island’s main geographic market.
“The US is by far the island’s largest source market, commanding just under half (42%) of total arrivals. Further, arrivals from this market due to targeted marketing strategies grew 11% over last year’s figures,” Theophilius noted.
The UK maintained its position as the second largest source market with a 22% share of arrivals.
However, the minister said the Caribbean market shrunk by 8% in 2014, acquiring 16% of market share.
He, however, announced strategies to be pursued by the government in an attempt to return the Caribbean market to profitability in the long run.
This involves exploring opportunities with regional carrier, LAIT, for a reduction in airfares to St.Lucia especially during specific times of the year.
According to the SLTB, Canada trails as the fourth largest market, despite a 15% increase in arrivals. France and Germany are steadily gaining market share, both recording increases in 2014.
"Total airlift to the island increased 5% in 2014. Airlift from the US increased 10%, thanks mainly to additional service on US Airways from Charlotte, on United Airlines from Newark; Jet Blue from JFK and Boston; and Delta from Atlanta and JFK.
"Airlift from the UK increased 14% following the year round service from Thomas Cook as well as the additional frequency on Virgin Atlantic," it said.
Airlift from Canada grew 18% with the additional service from Air Canada out of Montreal as well as the new service introduced by Sunwing from Toronto.
The board stated that total expenditure increased 14% for the period January-December 2014. The US and UK markets recorded the greatest real growth in expenditure due to increases in both average daily expenditure and total arrivals.
Impressive gains are also expected within the yachting sector which recorded a 17% increase in arrivals up until November 2014.
Growth in that sector was attributed to direct successes in governmental yachting legislation and St Lucia’s ability to attract mega yachting initiatives like the Russian regatta, the Mercury sailing event and the ARC and its affiliated events.
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