By Vina Frederick
CASTRIES, St Lucia (GIS) -- Saint Lucia is getting set to host what tourism officials believe will be the next big annual calendar event hosted on island.
According to yachting consultant in the ministry of tourism heritage and creative industries, Cuthbert Didier, the Russian Regatta scheduled for March 23 to 28, 2014, provides an excellent opportunity for Saint Lucia to nurture relationships with top tier Russian businessmen.
Didier said the idea is to nurture the event to host it successfully over the next few years
"For the island it is really a new frontier. I think we all know Russia is a big player in terms of geopolitics and it's repositioning the island's yachting product. It has already benefited us because all of the details of the regatta are on their website in Russia,” he said.
According to Didier, the highly anticipated five-day regatta is expected to provide a solid platform for the Russian guests to explore investment opportunities.
"The intention is to nurture this event; make sure it is successful. Hopefully, we should be able to host it for the next three, four years. That's the idea. So, I think this round is to nurture relationships; to introduce them to Saint Lucia; to see what we have to offer especially through the efficient office of Invest Saint Lucia because there are many project proposals on the table,” he explained.
The Russian Regatta, said Didier, has the potential to be one of Saint Lucia's major calendar events.
In earlier media reports on the regatta, minister for tourism, heritage and creative industries, Lorne Theophilus indicated that government's intention to expand the island's yachting industry has been a major priority for some time.
"One of these pronouncements was the fact that we intended to embark on a major yachting regatta which would be hosted in Saint Lucia. So, for over a year now, we have actually been working on trying to ensure, that we manage to cement this arrangement and ensure that Saint Lucia could actually be the venue for this regatta," said Theophilus.
The regatta reportedly comes at no cost to the government and people of Saint Lucia, except for an official reception to be held at the prime minister's residence to which an EC$30,000 contribution will be made.