On Tuesday the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) hosted a meeting at St. James Club Morgan Bay with the local cruise sector representatives. During the engagement a number of topics were addressed including trends within the cruise sector, safety and security, improving the cruise destination for visitors as well as a discussion on Saint Lucia’s tourism product.
“Our meeting was very successful in that we received a lot of good information, in terms of how the destination is performing, from FCCA,” Minister of Tourism, Dominic Fedee said, adding, “We now have a better opportunity to go back to the drawing board.” The Minister of Tourism noted that the cruise sub-sector still needs to play a significant role in the development of
Saint Lucia’s economy as the cruise industry generates thousands of jobs with a number of businesses in the tourist sub-sector relying on that industry.
Minister Fedee affirmed the meeting was proactive in ways of addressing some of the issues that “have stymied that competitiveness so badly, to create that dominance and to maintain the Caribbean as one of the leading cruise destinations in the world”.
CEO of the FCCA, Michelle Paige, and representatives of ninety member cruise lines of the FCCA mentioned the most important thing discussed was “You’re Saint Lucian”.
“What sets Saint Lucia apart? This is part of the message that we encourage every single stakeholder that meets and greets any cruise passenger, cruise member, any visitor to Saint Lucia to know,” she said. “To be able to impact everything that sets Saint Lucia apart, whether it’s seeing attractions, the beauty of the beaches, the wonderful cuisine, the hotels, the people . . . every single thing that makes Saint Lucia tick.”
She added: “What you’re selling is team Saint Lucia,” reiterating the importance of competitiveness in the industry, and taking advantage of the aspects that make Saint Lucia stand out. “When that happens, you’re in demand, you’re not just sand and sea; you’re a demand destination.”
When he spoke again on the occasion, the tourism minister was happy to announce that the Saint Lucian government was at an advanced stage of establishing a national tourism council. The purpose of the council would be to ensure all relevant partners were on board at a high level to make vital decisions to move the industry forward.
Additionally, the minister used the opportunity to discuss the establishment of village tourism. “For example, the man living in Laborie must understand the pottery he is doing plays a significant role in the development of the product that is Saint Lucia. Or the man who is making bread in Dennery is very unique and must understand that it carries a potential for the development of tourism.”
Further, Fedee noted there would be a dedicated institution dealing with some of the arising issues of culture and heritage, some of which he felt were taken for granted, and that significant effort would be put into the development of tourism in the coming months.