Saint Lucia’s tourism figures for 2017 have topped all records with total visitor arrivals climbing to an all-time high of 1,105,541.
The island also recorded the highest growth in 2017 among the Caribbean Tourism Organisation member countries, registering an 11 per cent increase.
Last year was characterised by sustained growth in the industry, with stayover arrivals at 386,127 and the cruise sector recording a 14 per cent increase, reaching 669,217, an additional 81,264 visitors despite the eight-month closure of the Pointe Seraphine Berth 1.
Commenting on the figures, minister of tourism, Dominic Fedee, said: “The tourism industry continues to be an incredibly important and vital part of the Saint Lucian economy.
“We are happy with the levels of growth witnessed and as we continue our marketing efforts, we are also looking to maximize the impact of tourism on our economy.”
The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority worked closely with the CTO and trade partners to overcome the indirect challenges faced by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, to communicate the ‘open for business’ messaging across the majority of the region that was unaffected.
New legislation passed in Saint Lucia in 2017 saw the transition to the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority allowing for the restructuring of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board to a more business oriented and results driven organisation.
Tourism arrivals in the UK rose by 12.5 per cent.
The SLTA’s customer feedback research revealed that 82 per cent of all visitors felt their trip to the island had ‘exceeded expectations’.
From the UK, the main reasons for travelling were honeymoons and weddings and family holidays.
Together, the top three markets – the US, UK and Caribbean account for the majority (83 per cent) of total stay-over arrivals to Saint Lucia.