St Lucia reports record visitor numbers
The Caribbean island of St Lucia has reported its highest ever visitor numbers in the first half of this year. Official figures reveal a 6.4% increase over the same period in 2014, slightly more than the Caribbean's regional average.
St Lucia has received a record-breaking number of visitors in the first half of this year, according to official figures. Compared to last year, there was more than a 6% increase in travellers staying on the island, slightly higher than the growth in visitor numbers to the Caribbean region as a whole.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) announced that visitor arrivals to the region were up 6% at the end of the first quarter of 2015, while St Lucia alone recorded 6.4% growth on the same period last year.
This growth has continued past the first quarter for Saint Lucia however, with a 1.4% and 7.2% increase recorded in April and May respectively. At the end of the first five months of the year, total stay-over arrivals to the island numbered 159,077 – up 5.5% from the same period in 2014.
The figures recorded in the first four consecutive months were the highest for January to April ever recorded in the island’s history. But in May, St Lucia only achieved a five-year high in visitor numbers, with 29,658 people coming to the island. Cruise tourism is also on the rise, with a 9% increase in arrivals between January and April, following a 4% increase in cruise calls.
The St Lucia Tourism Board has attributed the rise in travellers to St Lucia to an increase in airlift from the US and Canada, and strategic marketing. But the largest chunk of overseas visitors to the island came from the Caribbean region itself, which stood at 22,142 arrivals at the end of May – a 21% increase from the same period last year. Improved data collection, such as recording boat arrivals from Martinique, may account for some of the increase in data for regional visits.
The latest statistics show that the European share of the market has decreased, with less travellers coming from the UK and Germany, along with other European countries. Targeted promotions and marketing campaigns planned for later this year should result in increased arrivals from Europe before the year of 2015, according to St Lucia’s tourist board.
St Lucia’s tourism minister, Lorne Theophilus, told a news conference that “as impressive as the growth performance figures were, there will be no letup in St Lucia’s push toward reenergizing and invigorating the international marketplace via well-orchestrated strategies in key source markets.”
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