Friday 20 September, 2019

St Lucia to embark on new cruise ship strategy

The Ministry of Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, Culture and Creative Industries, along with other stakeholders in the tourism industry have set sights on the cruise sector.

A Cruise Conversion Project, soon to be implemented, is geared toward generating revenue from the cruise sector.

Minister for Tourism, Hon. Dominic Fedee, explained that the cruise sector has recorded 1 percent growth to date. He noted that while the number of ships visiting Saint Lucia has declined, the sizes of the ships have increased.

The minister explained the project.

“The plan is to increase revenue from the cruise sector,” he said. “Some of the simple initiatives includes SLTA plans to establish this winter a cruise conversion programme. We’ve already been in discussions with the SLHTA to create a revenue center at Pointe Seraphine where we provide cruise passengers with the opportunity to come back for longer stays. This is a big initiative and it is a big revenue-generating endeavor by the SLTA.”

The minister added that efforts are being channeled toward ensuring that cruise passengers disembark the ships and immerse themselves in what Saint Lucia has to offer. He noted that several initiatives, including the training of vendors, are underway to help attract the high volume of cruise visitors to Saint Lucia’s shores. The aim, according to the minister is toward improving the country’s attractions and stimulating the interest of cruise passengers in Saint Lucia.

“We’ve trained 200 vendors to improve upon their product to ensure that their sales techniques are better, and their product offering is better. We’re about to work with Choiseul Craft Makers to help have more authenticity in the types of products that we provide through the OECS Tourism Competitive Project, so that in that vein we will see more desirable products coming into the craft sector for tourists coming to our destination. The numbers by the bureau of studies suggest that Saint Lucia is above average. The average in the Caribbean is about $78 dollars per passenger we’re just about $85. The disembarkation rate of the cruise passengers continues to be incredibly strong at about a 95 percent. The cruise passengers however are spending about a third of their time on shore. It means therefore that we have to work collectively as a country, to ensure that we have them to spend a longer time when the boat is at port.”

The Cruise Conversion Project is expected to come on stream by the end of November.

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