Saint Lucia’s main engine of economic development – the vital tourism industry – continues its impressive growth trajectory with further gains for the opening month of 2015.

Following a record-breaking 2014, tourism officials are further basking in news of double digit growth in the island’s stay-over arrivals. For the month of January, visitor arrivals grew by 14 percent to reach a total of 31,541, the largest number of arrivals ever recorded for that month, beating the 28,220 arrivals recorded back in 2005.

The island’s main source markets, the United States and Canada, contributed the largest share of growth for January. Arrivals from the US increased 32 percent from last year’s figure, whilst arrivals from Canada grew by 24 percent, an upsurge officials at the Saint Lucia Tourist Board attribute to robust marketing campaigns and targeted promotional activities.

Another contributing factor to the growth in arrivals was the 11 percent overall increase in airlift to Saint Lucia. The US market alone saw a 38 percent increase in seats, whilst there was a 44 percent increase in seats from Canada.

Tourism Director Louis Lewis says as encouraging as the figures are, the SLTB is aggressively executing additional marketing strategies designed to further spur growth in the vital North American market. “We are further reaching out to the north American market via our innovative summer campaign ‘Saint Lucia Rocks this Summer,’ which offers exciting deals from scores of industry partners,” notes Lewis.

Visitors choosing Saint Lucia as their destination of choice during the summer months not only benefit from exceptional hotel offers, but also get the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Saint Lucia’s rich culture, heritage and historical legacy through its famed and colorful carnival celebrations that run from June to July.

According to Lewis, Saint Lucians in the US and other major metropolitan destinations like Canada, the UK and wider Europe are also being targeted to return home through the ‘Diaspora’ initiative. “Through this campaign our native sons and daughters can again reacquaint themselves with their ‘Simply Beautiful’ homeland and all that it has to offer.”

The encouraging growth figures are however tempered by a slowdown in the UK
market which declined by nine percent and the Caribbean market which grew by only four percent.

The SLTB will soon announce major campaigns specifically targeted at these markets which aim to excite the travel trade and thereby stimulate travel.

Saint Lucia ended 2014 on a record high with stay over visitor arrivals estimated at 338,158, an impressive six % increase over the previous year. The figures recorded for seven months of 2014, namely February, March, April, June, October, November and December were the highest numbers ever reached for these specific months.

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