CASTRIES, Saint Lucia — The Saint Lucia Tourist Board, in its continuing thrust to ensure that arrivals to the island grow from year to year, has just wrapped up a ‘Grand Fam’ involving scores of US-based travel partners.
On island from May 31 to June 4, 70 travel agents had the opportunity to visit the island’s many resorts and attractions to get a firsthand experience of what Saint Lucia has to offer.
The US is the island’s largest source market, accounting for 40 percent of arrivals. Preliminary tourist arrival figures from that market are up 9 percent for the first quarter of this year over the same period last year, increasing from 32,014 in 2011 to 35,007 in 2012.
Tourism director Louis Lewis said the strong arrival figures from the US market are a result of the commitment from travel partners who continue to sell the destination. It also emphasizes the importance of the travel agent community.
According to Lewis, “We endeavour to do all possible to nurture and sustain this symbiotic relationship with travel agents, who despite technological advancements remain a very important sales and distribution channel for us. With increasing competition, it is critical that we remember to show our appreciation and to do all we can to ensure the island remains in the fore front of these travel influencers.”
Familiarization trips provide a unique opportunity for travel agents to visit a cross section of properties around the island; acquaint themselves with any new developments; engage in one-on-one dialogue with property owners and managers and participate first hand in some of the attractions.