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Saint Lucia Records over 1.2 Million Visitors In 2018

Castries, January 17, 2019 — Saint Lucia has recorded its best performance ever in visitor arrivals, as it welcomed 1,218,294 visitors in 2018. That number represents a 10.2% increase over 2017, which was also a record-setting year for the island.

Industry figures are up across the board led by the yachting sector with a 25.9% increase over last year’s numbers. Cruising is up by 13.6%; and stay-over arrivals have increased by 2.2%.

Type of Visitor YTD Dec 2016 YTD Dec 2017 YTD Dec 2018 Actual Change Percent Change
Cruise 587,749 669,217 760,306 91,089 13.6%
Yacht 56,268 50,197 63,596 13,399 26.7%
Stay-Over 347,872 386,127 394,780 8,653 2.2%
Total 991,889 1,105,541 1,218,682 113,141 10.2%

 

At a news conference to announce the latest figures, Tourism Minister, Honourable Dominic Fedee highlighted some of the steps that have been taken to reposition Saint Lucia’s tourism product to compete among the leading destinations in the world.

“We have a very small tourism marketing budget – around US$13 million – so we have to ensure that our efforts are targeted,” Hon. Fedee said. “We use a scientific approach to select the areas where we can reach the most visitors with the highest net-worth in our marketing campaigns. For us, these areas are, predominantly, in the north-eastern USA (the Tri-state and Boston), the south-east UK region of London and its surrounding suburbs and the Greater Toronto area in Canada.

The island continues to record strong numbers in its major generating markets of the United States and the UK, realizing growths of 4.1% and 4.9% respectively. Stayover arrivals from Canada dipped slightly (5.6%) due, in part, to the absence of service from Transat Tours and a reduction in frequency of WestJet flights.

The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) also focused on the Martinique market, which is the highest yielding in the Caribbean, and launched “Caribcation” in the summer of 2018 as a platform for Caribbean travelers, whose numbers grew by 1.6% over 2017.

Type of Visitor YTD Dec 2016 YTD Dec 2017 YTD Dec 2018 Actual Change Percent Change
USA 157,576 168,223 175,073 6,850 4.1%
UK 64,514 72,580 76,142 3,562 4.9%
Canada 37,772 42,578 40,213 (2,365) -5.6%
France 4,440 7,012 8,224 1,212 17.3%
Germany 2,272 2,848 2,132 (716) -25.1%
Martinique 27,654 30,302 28,805 (1,497) -4.9%
Trinidad 14,945 16,923 17,124 201 1.2%
Barbados 6,504 7,862 8,255 393 5%
Other 32,195 37,799 38,812 1,013 3%
Total 347,872 386,127 394,780 8,653 2.2%

 

A record, 760,306 cruise passengers visited the island during the period owing to an expansion of Berth #1 at Pointe Seraphine, which allowed Port Castries to accommodate Vista, Quantum and Freedom Class vessels.

Projections for 2019 look good, with British Airways pacing at 17% and Virgin Holidays at 27.9% over 2018. Condor has started an inter-airline agreement with LIAT on service from Frankfurt, Germany to Antigua and onto Saint Lucia from January 7 – March 31, 2019 and a number of other major airlines have expanded their service to the destination.

The SLTA is angling for greater growth in 2019, and will continue with its aggressive, targeted marketing campaigns to attract even more visitors to the destination.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Grenada Achieves Historic Milestone with Over 500,000 Visitor Arrivals in 2018

St. George’s, Grenada – 10th January, 2019 – Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean achieved a historic milestone in 2018 welcoming more than half a million visitors to the destination’s shores. Spread across key niche markets, the combined cruise, yachting and stay over arrivals for 2018 was 528,077 representing a 12.90% increase over 2017.

A strong performance was recorded in stay over arrivals with an increase of 9.97%, moving from 146,375 to 160,970 visitors with special mention given to the bumper Christmas season in which a growth of 17% was recorded.

Canada recorded the highest growth rate in 2018 with a 19.05% increase (14,586-17,364), followed by the USA at 12.38% (67,252-75,577) and the Caribbean at 6.87% (27,127-28,990). Significant growth was also recorded in non-traditional markets that included Latin America at 13.28% (1,265-1,433) and the category representing all other parts of the world at 18.27% (2,934-3, 470). The USA maintains the top spot in market share for arrivals to the destination at 46.93% followed by the United Kingdom.

The yachting sector recorded double-digit growth of 10.82%, with visitor arrivals moving from 21,911 to 24,281, a direct result of 428 more yacht calls. As it relates to cruise arrivals, the sector grew by 14.49% (299,449-342,826) due to larger cruise ship calls.

Speaking about Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique’s performance, Grenada Tourism Authority’s (GTA) Chief Executive Officer Patricia Maher said, “ We are delighted to surpass the historic 500,000 mark. It is a result of our hard work in lobbying airlines for more flights and the engagement of top cruise brand executives for more ship calls. I would like to thank our stakeholders for their support in ensuring our visitors continue to have wonderful experiences in the destination.”

Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Clarice Modeste Curwen also expressed her delight with the destination’s performance. She noted, “Achieving 500,000 arrivals has been a landmark goal for the destination of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. It is a testament to the growing island’s influence in the marketplace and industry growth.  But we will not stop there as we want to grow the pie so that everyone gets a bigger slice. To do that, we must continue to keep our islands pure, share our warmth and hospitality with visitors, as well as deliver high quality professional service.”

Additionally, the GTA launched a destination shopping video, which highlighted the destination’s diverse offerings. All levels of shopping experiences were displayed including art, craft, glass products, clothing, spices and batik. GTA Product Development Manager Kirl Hoschtialek, says, “The shopping video is one of our strategies in improving the destination’s profile as it relates to shopping experiences which were highlighted in visitor surveys as needing improvement.” The video will be shared locally, regionally and internationally especially at the St. George’s Cruise Terminal.

The GTA is optimistic about 2019 and anticipates deeper collaboration with stakeholders to strive for Pure Grenada’s global brand recognition as a premier tourist destination.

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Antigua and Barbuda Ready to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Adventurous Team Antigua Island Girls

St. John’s, Antigua (January 16, 2018) – Antigua and Barbuda, with its strong heritage of yacht racing and moniker as the Sailing Capital of the Caribbean, is always keen for a good nautical adventure.  And with history about to be made, the destination is more than ready to roll out the red carpet to welcome adventurous Atlantic rowers “Team Antigua Island Girls”, when they row into the historic Nelson’s Dockyard and into the record books as the first all-black female team in the world to row across the Atlantic Ocean, completing the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge this Jan/Feb.

Dubbed the world’s toughest row, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is a premier ocean rowing experience that begins in La Gomera in the Canary Islands.  On December 12 2018, the teams, twenty-eight in total, set off on their journey braving the Atlantic Ocean, crossing 3000 miles with over 1.5 million oar strokes and little sleep, to get to their destination in Antigua.  The first team to finish the Challenge, ‘Dutch Atlantic Four’ was welcomed into Antigua, with much fanfare on the evening of January 15, having spent 34 days out at sea.

The Team Antigua Island Girls rowers: Elvira Bell, Christal Clashing, Samara Emanuel and Captain Kevinia Francis are expected to arrive later this month, where family, friends and mammoth crowds of well-wishers will gather at the Nelson’s Dockyard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site to cheer them on as they row in and celebrate the successful end of their journey.  Junella King, the alternate and fifth member of Team Antigua Island Girls, will meet her teammates in Antigua.

“Antigua and Barbuda’s rich nautical heritage, and the unrivalled setting that competitors rowing into the Dockyard will encounter, makes Antigua and Barbuda the ideal location for this event. We are excited to welcome all the rowers, their families and friends to Antigua and Barbuda for this experience,” said Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism, The Honourable Charles Fernandez.

“While this is the third time a team from Antigua and Barbuda has entered the Challenge, we are truly proud that the first all-black female team to row the Atlantic is comprised of four courageous Antiguan women. The entire nation is rooting for our girls and we are really looking forward to welcoming them home and celebrating the strength of women.  This is history in the making, and it will truly be a momentous occasion for Antigua and Barbuda.”

Team Antigua Island Girls have identified local charity, Cottage of Hope as one of the main reasons for their row. Cottage of Hope is a non-profit organization founded in 2009 that houses and/or serves girls who have been abused, neglected or orphaned. Cottage of Hope with the aid of funds raised by Team Antigua Island Girls will offer expanded services to young women who have come of age who are transitioning from a group home setting to living on their own. To donate to the charity and for more information about Team Antigua Island Girls go to: https://www.antiguabarbudaislandgirls.com/donate/=

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Saint Lucia Moving Forward with International Airport Development

The redevelopment of Saint Lucia’s international airport will get underway very soon. On Tuesday, December 11, 2018, the Parliament of Saint Lucia voted to borrow US$100 million for the Hewanorra International Airport redevelopment project.

The plan, which is expected to be unveiled in the coming days, will include the construction of a new terminal building equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, restaurants, shops and executive lounges, and the conversion of the old terminal to accommodate fixed-based operators (FBOs).

The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) is excited about this development as it will provide an added incentive for airlines to open up new routes to the destination.

Saint Lucia’s Tourism Minister, Honourable Dominic Fedee noted, “We have exhausted the current capacity of the Hewanorra International Airport, and the redevelopment project is part of our government’s broader plan to expand the island’s room stock by 50 percent in the next eight years.”

Currently, Saint Lucia has a room stock of just over 5,000 rooms spread across large and small hotels, villas, guest houses and apartments.

Acting CEO of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Mrs. Tiffany Howard says, “This is a welcome development and great news for the tourism industry. The SLTA continues to negotiate for more airlift into the island and having a new, modern airport to leverage with airline partners is a huge asset.”

At present, Saint Lucia welcomes close to 400,000 stayover visitors every year, with the largest number coming from the US market (45%), followed by the Caribbean (20%), the UK (18.5%) and Canada (10.5%). Tourism accounts for 65 per cent of the island’s economic activity.

Last year the government instituted a US $35 airport development charge (ADC) on each arrival to finance the US $100 million loan from the Taiwanese government. The Taiwanese are also providing much needed technical support on the project.

Construction of the new airport is slated to begin early in 2019 with the goal of having the facility fully operational by the end of 2020.

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1-800-456-3984, or 1-888 4STLUCIA or visit http://stlucia.org/.

About Saint Lucia

One of the Windward Islands of the West Indies’ Lesser Antilles, Saint Lucia (pronounced Saint LOO-sha) is nestled halfway down the Eastern Caribbean archipelago. The “Helen of the West Indies,” Saint Lucia is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a tropical rainforest and one of the world’s few drive-in volcanoes.

Culturally rich offerings include the bustling marketplace in the capital of Castries, quaint fishing villages along the coastline, and the annual Soleil Saint Lucia Summer Festival. Saint Lucia’s wide range of accommodations includes world-class five-star resorts, all-inclusive resorts, intimate inns and value-oriented properties. Saint Lucia is also home to world class cruise and yachting facilities. The island is continually recognized as one of the leading Wedding and Honeymoon destinations worldwide.

 

 

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Buju Banton to Perform at St. Kitts Music Festival 2019

Continuing to add to the already star-studded line-up, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism announced that Buju Banton will be performing at the 23rd Annual St. Kitts Music Festival, which will take place on June 26-30, 2019. He joins previously announced popular artists Smokey Robinson, French Montana, Popcaan, and Davido.

“It is very exciting to have Buju Banton join the roster for the 2019 St. Kitts Music Festival,” said Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant. “Having such a renowned dancehall artist only enhances the mix of top international acts, local performers and regional talent across a broad range of musical styles that helps the event appeal to a diverse audience.”

Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, added, “Our annual Music Festival has become a verified driver for travel to St. Kitts specifically to attend the event, boosting arrivals from key source markets during our off-peak season. The addition of Buju Banton to the roster this year will only increase the Festival’s already strong appeal.”

For many years, the name Buju Banton (a.k.a. Gargamel) has become synonymous with modern reggae. Having metamorphosed from a brash teenage phenomenon into a self-assured deejay and singer, Buju’s fusion of traditional roots rock, contemporary R&B and dancehall DJ’ing have earned him a prophet-like status in his Jamaican homeland. Having hit the charts there suddenly in 1992 with a string of hits including “Bogle,” “Love Me Browning” and “Love Black Woman,” Banton soon thereafter released one of the more controversial songs in his musical catalogue, “Boom Boom Bye Bye.” His 2010 album, Before the Dawn, won Best Reggae Album of the year at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards.

Now entering its 23rd year, the St. Kitts Music Festival attracts both locals and visitors alike. It features a wide range of musical styles on the popular market, including R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Gospel and Contemporary music. Past artists have included such prominent acts as John Legend, The Goo Goo Dolls, Lionel Richie, Jason Derulo, Trey Songz, Patti LaBelle, Michael Bolton, R. City, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Wyclef Jean, Ne-Yo, Air Supply, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Shaggy, Kelly Rowland, Tarrus Riley, Jah Cure, Tessanne Chin, Toni Braxton, Sean Paul, Boyz II Men, King Konris, Stephen Marley, Maxi Priest, Beres Hammond, and Biggie Irie. For more information about the St. Kitts Music Festival, visit www.stkittsmusicfestival.com.

About St. Kitts:

Intoxicating natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters, and sandy beaches combine to make St. Kitts one of the most seductive spots in the Caribbean. Located in the northern Leeward Islands, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are watersports including catamaran cruises, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on the beach.  For more information about St. Kitts, visit www.stkittstourism.kn.

 

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Cayman Islands on Track to Surpass 2017 Stayover Visitation

The Cayman Islands welcomed a total of 410,984 stayover visitors in the first eleven months of 2018. This represents an 11.26 percent increase over the first eleven months of 2017 and is the highest number of stayover visitors in recorded history. Total visitation for the year 2017 was 418,403. 

“The incredible growth in arrivals we have seen in 2018 is a testament to the resilience of the Cayman Islands through strong stakeholder partnerships, high investor confidence and a national commitment to the development of our infrastructure,” commented Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism, the Honourable Moses Kirkconnell. “The strategic efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and Department of Tourism must be continued, to ensure our islands take a holistic approach at addressing the needs of every visitor that graces our shore. I look forward to ending the year with record-breaking arrivals and continuing this momentum through 2019.”

November air arrivals into the Cayman Islands were the best November in record history with a total of 38,172 visitors, a 9.07 percent increase over 2017. Visitation from the United States increased by 10.43 percent. Of significant note is the Southeast region which recorded a 19.44 percent increase over 2017. These figures were aided by the addition of JetBlue’s daily service from Fort Lauderdale in October. The Northeast region increased by 6.42 percent and was complemented by an increase in flight capacity from JetBlue and our national airline, Cayman Airways. The Southwest region recorded a 16.3 percent increase over 2017; while the West Coast and Midwest region recorded a 15.97 and 4.55 percent respectively. Canadian arrivals showed strong performance as well, with increased visitation at 13.27 percent growth over November 2017. Continued efforts to grow the Latin American market are fruitful as visitation grew by 10.3 percent.

Sustained growth is expected in the first quarter of 2019 with several key events happening in the destination. The 11th annual Cayman Cookout, which unites award-winning chefs and winemakers with worldwide purveyors of gourmet food, returns to the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean January 16 – 20, 2019. Taste of Cayman, a celebration of the Cayman Islands’ culinary heritage, returns to the Festival Green, Camana Bay January 26, 2019. To top it all off, the Cayman Islands is proud to be the host destination for KAABOO Cayman, set for February 15 – 16, 2019. The event will welcome a wide spectrum of internationally renowned musicians such as The Chainsmokers, Duran Duran, ZEDD, Jason Derulo; comedians such as Wanda Sykes, David Spade, Jenny Slate, Darrell Hammond and chefs such as Michael Mina, Richard Blais, Michell Bernstein and Nina Compton.

 

To learn more about Cayman Cookout, please visit www.caymancookout.com.

To learn more about Taste of Cayman, please visit www.tasteofcayman.org.

To learn more about KAABOO Cayman, please visit www.kaaboocayman.com.

For more information and detailed arrival statistics, please visit www.caymanislands.ky/statistics.

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