Chastanet says that St Lucia holidays' hotel industry is operational
After a quick recovery following the passing of Hurricane Tomas, St Lucia holidays are still working on regaining their tip top form to offer the idyllic and pristine St Lucia holidays, the island is famous for.
As it is widely known, the industry of St Lucia holidays are an essential economic service for the island and its citizens. "If the hotel industry is shut down, the economic impact and grief that it is going to create in this country, particularly in a time like this, where I know the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs are doing everything that is possible to reach out to international agencies, but the reality is, when you look at what took place in Haiti, and there are still Haitians waiting for help how many months later. And when you hear comments like the ones that are made by the government of Trinidad, where they’re going to have to evaluate the level of aid they are going to give us on the basis of what Trinidad would get in return, tells you the level of the task that lies ahead of the Prime Minister,” said Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Allen Chastanet at a press briefing on Tuesday morning.
The minister together with the St Lucia Tourist Board and the St Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association met with the press to keep them abreast of the assessment of the island’s vital tourism sector, in order to keep pushing St Lucia holidays as one of the most pristine Caribbean holiday destinations. Chastanet commended the Castries City Council for it arduous work in getting the city back to a state of normality. “From what I’ve seen, the cleanup efforts in Castries, it has been improving hour by hour,” said Chastanet.
Speaking to the press, Chastanet noted the Prime Minister’s quote of $100m in damages is a conservative number and will be amended as time goes by. Further to that, he expressed confidence in the efforts of his cabinet colleague Guy Joseph and the Ministry of Communications, Works and Public Utilities. His main concern is the survival of the island’s fragile tourism industry.
Said Chastanet, “We have tremendous support from the airlines. LIAT commenced services on Monday to George Charles Airport. We are in discussions right now finalizing for LIAT and American Eagle to base a plane in St Lucia to act as a shuttle between here and Hewanorra at least for the next couple of days. Those planes will be charging US$50 per passenger one way. Virgin, British Airways and American Airlines are already servicing St Lucia. American Eagle has put on additional flights to St Lucia. They’ve also put on additional flights out of San Juan Puerto Rico so those people arriving in San Juan without reservations will be given priorities on those particular flights”
Chastanet reports that guests have been removed from the Soufriere area because of the uncertainty of conditions and have been accommodated at hotel in the north. The majority of hotels are operational right now and because some hotels have their own water reserves, Chastanet assured they will not be a burden on public water at this time.
Chastanet believes the dedication of hoteliers, their staff, tour operators and airlines will prove to be the driving force that keeps the industry afloat. Director of Tourism, Louis Lewis, left the island today to head to London for one of the world’s biggest tourism expos. Lewis believes the damage to the island is surmountable and there will be a lull in visitor arrivals before the island is returned to its peak.
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