The latest figures from Tourism Analytics reveal that 748,373 people visited St. Lucia from January to September; that’s an increase of 68% from the number of arrivals for all of 2022 (444,618). U.S. visitors accounted for 56% of stayover arrivals through the first three-quarters of this year.
Paul Collymore, president of the St. Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association. credits part of those rising numbers to the return of events like the St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival and St. Lucia Carnival, both which had been on a three-year pandemic hiatus. Increased airlift to the island also pushed numbers up, he said.
With numbers expected to continue an upward climb in coming years, the island is preparing to add at least 1,000 new hotel rooms by 2025, including 351 from the Secrets Saint Lucia Resort & Spa, slated to open next year, and the Cas en Bas Beach Resort, the first Destination by Hyatt-branded resort and residences in St. Lucia, which is also eyeing a 2024 debut. In addition, a 140-room Courtyard by Marriott-branded hotel at Pointe Seraphine Castries is slated for a 2025 opening.
“We hope this level of business activity continues to come to the island, and all of our businesses, and our 15,000 tourism workers,” said Collymore, who is also CEO of The Landings resort and spa.
The number of B&Bs and vacation rentals on the island is also on the rise, Collymore said. With that in mind, St. Lucia launched its Collection de Pepites program last year to assist travel advisors and visitors with finding small and boutique properties, including villas, bed-and-breakfast accommodations and inns with 35 rooms or fewer that may otherwise go unnoticed. All included properties are accredited by the Ministry of Tourism and the St. Lucia Tourism Authority.
“It’s a growing segment,” Collymore said. “We have also seen an increased level of satisfaction from visitors who come to stay at alternate accommodations. There are some who like the formal hotel accommodation and there are others who are looking for [alternate accommodations].”
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