Tourism officials in Saint Lucia remain optimistic over robust signs of a continued growth trajectory for the vital tourism industry.
Figures for the halfway point of 2019 continue to show strong demand for Saint Lucia as the important sector again recorded significant growth.
Stay-over arrivals for June 2019 peaked at 34,040, up nine per cent from June of last year. This means year to date (YTD) growth has increased 6.5 per cent; up from 6.1 per cent last month. This figure also marked the fifth record breaking month for the year.
Visitation numbers up
Contributing to that growth were increases in the island’s main source market the United States, which saw a 17 per cent increase, Germany at 31 per cent, the rest of Europe at nine per cent, the Caribbean at seven per cent, and Canada with an increase of 20 per cent.
Commenting on the increases, Beverly Nicholson-Doty, CEO of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) says the growth can be attributed to multiple factors, among them is increased airlift from the U.S., directly attributed to a second American Airlines flight out of Miami that brought on 5,264 additional seats.
Additional seats were also added on by JetBlue from JFK and Boston.
Airlift out of the Canadian market increased with an additional 256 seats from WestJet and Air Canada combined.
Other factors contributing to the increases were the hosting of a series of events which attracted regional travellers, namely football competitions and a music concert featuring Jamaican reggae musician Sizzla Kalonji. The SLTA also worked with Caribbean Airlines and British Airways to offer lower airfares from Trinidad. Decreases in visitor arrivals were, however, recorded from the U.K. – 15 per cent and 21 per cent from the rest of world.
Nicholson-Doty says given that there’s still a slew of exciting destination marketing initiatives to be rolled out for 2019 along with the ensuing winter season, Saint Lucia looks well poised to meet and indeed surpass the record 1.2 million visitors it welcomed in 2018.
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