CASTRIES, St Lucia -- Following the posting of a record year in 2013 and perhaps the best performance on record to date for the tourism industry, the Saint Lucia Tourist Board is again basking in news of increases in visitor arrivals for the first month of 2014.
The year opens with the month of January recording a 7% increase in stay-over arrivals by air and ferry over the same period in 2013. Statistical data reveal that a total of 27,643 stay-over visitors set foot on Saint Lucian soil for the month of January 2014.
Arrivals from the island’s largest source market, the US, were up a whopping 11% over January 2013, as the island recorded a total of 9,272 stay over arrivals in January.
The Canadian market also performed commendably this January, with a 15% increase in stay-over arrivals over the same period in 2013. The arrivals from the Canadian market increased from 5,137 in 2013 to 5,913 in 2014.
The Caribbean market captured the fourth largest (9%) share of stay-over arrivals in January with a total of 2,580 visitors; the only one out of the four main source markets to record a decrease in arrivals this month; figures dropped from 3,204 in 2013 to 2,580 in 2014, largely due to the hosting of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in Saint Lucia in 2013, which caused and abnormal spike in arrivals.
The important United Kingdom market recorded a total of 6,704 arrivals; 292 more visitors from the previous year representing a 5% increase from the previous year.
Deputy director of tourism and head of the SLTB’s marketing division Tracey Warner-Arnold attributes the impressive growth to enhanced strategic marketing programmes that effectively target source markets and deliver strong return on investment.
Some of those strategies she noted, “included an enhanced online & social media strategy; the hosting of the Wedding Symposium, a more proactive push to redefine small properties on the island, and consistent advertising in key media outlets throughout the year, in primary source markets.”
There was also good news for the cruise sector, with arrivals for the month of January jumping to102, 901; a 7% increase from last January. The number of calls also increased from 61 to 64 over the same period.
The total number of yacht arrivals in January for both Marigot Bay Marina and Rodney Bay Marina totaled 4,797 arrivals -- a 20% increase from the same period last year. The 1,076 calls also mark a 28% increase in the number of vessels to visit the island in January 2014.