St Lucia reports tourism increases for first half of 2012 from major source markets

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CASTRIES, Saint Lucia — The Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) has reported well over 150,000 stay-over arrivals on Saint Lucia for the first half of 2012. For the period January to June, visitor arrivals reached 158,244, a half a percentage point drop from the same period last year.

Canada recorded the highest increase in all major source markets for 2012. That market recorded a 10% increase over the same period last year. Arrivals from Canada reached 23,137 coinciding with a 10% increase in seats from that market.

The United Kingdom, the island’s second largest source market, which commands 24% of overall market share, recorded a 6.3% increase from the same period in 2011. From January to June, stay over arrivals from the UK totaled 37,698 arrivals.

Tourism Director Louis Lewis said, “British Airways’ shift to once daily flights has definitely proven to be of tremendous benefit to the island.”

The Caribbean market was next in line with a 1.5% increase from the same period last year. Stay over arrivals numbered 23,995. Growth in that market is attributed to additional airlift, coupled with numerous business meetings and conventions taking place on Saint Lucia.

Meantime the United States, the island’s largest source market, totaled 61,336 arrivals for the first half of the year. Owing largely to a reduction in airlift, the US market recorded a 7% decline from the same period last year.

Lewis said, “All avenues will continue to be explored at generating additional airlift for the island from all major gateways and source markets.”

He said, in addition to targeted marketing initiatives, high level discussions continue with the airlines to increase capacity to the island.

A 6% decline was reported in the cruise sector, with 352,771 passengers arriving for the January to June period of 2012,

According to the figures recorded to-date, arrivals by yachts totaled 22,494 representing a 10% decline from 2011, which was impacted by a corresponding 10% decrease in the number of yacht calls: 4,538 recorded at the two major marinas.

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