Tourist Numbers to St Lucia holidays Increase After Successful "St Lucia Month"
More than 500 staff from travel agents and tour operators received face-to-face training from the St Lucia Tourist Board after the success of St Lucia Month indicated that St Lucia holidays are on the increase once again.
This year’s St Lucia Month has been hailed a success after recent visitor numbers to the island are indicating that the island’s tourism sector is on the road to recovery.
During St Lucia Month, over 500 staff members from 200 travel agents and 300 frontline tour operators received face-to-face training from the St Lucia Tourist Board to boost their knowledge on this lovely Caribbean holiday destination so they could efficiently promote St Lucia holidays to their customers.
According to recent statistics, the number of UK tourists who went on holidays to St Lucia during February 2011 had increased by 14 per cent. The figures also showed that until October 2010, when Hurricane Tomas hit the Caribbean island causing devastation, visitor arrivals were up by 10 per cent. The island has set a target of a15 per cent increase in tourists taking St Lucia holidays by the end of 2011.
This year’s St Lucia Month involved quizzes and contests for agents across the UK, and 12 winning teams of three will travel to St Lucia in July 2011 for a treasure hunt challenge which is sponsored by British Airways. The winning team will win £5,000 in marketing funds for their agency.
Marketing Director of the St Lucia Tourist Board, Jean-Marc Flambert, said: "We realised that we needed to give extra incentives to the trade and it's been really successful. At many of the quiz events we had to introduce tie-breakers; agents were very knowledgeable and put a lot of effort into this. Overall the month has been very successful.
"There is no point coming to the UK and saying we want people to experience St Lucia - we need to take agents out there."
The number of UK tourists taking holidays in St Lucia has been increasing due to the extra flights available from British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, giving travellers more flexibility and the chance to extend their stay at luxury St Lucia hotels.
Lewis said: "It allows visitors to customise their packages. There are a lot more options and you can conceivably now stay for ten days."
He added that though the rise in Air Passenger Duty (APD) was not impacting the number of UK visitors, it was affecting the spending habits of travellers in St Lucia. "They are spending less when they get to St Lucia, which affects rural communities in terms of sights and attractions. I'd like APD to disappear but realistically I am hopeful it won't go up."
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