, 2022-08-03 16:05:48,
The tourism industry seems to be recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic with arrivals soaring over the past few months according to personnel from the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA).
Officials are hoping that this trend will continue. In 2020, arrivals were noticeably low; the industry, like many others, took a significant hit when the coronavirus emerged.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SLTA Lorine Charles-St. Jules intimated this much at Saint Lucia’s Destination Immersion Experience last week in Canaries, an event recognised under Saint Lucia’s Collection de Pépites programme which features villas, B&Bs, boutique hotels and inns with 35 rooms or fewer.
“As we move to the first quarter of our highlights today it brought new life to the recovery phase. As you know (when) we started in January we had Omicron but our first quarter we recorded the highest performance level since 2021. In April in particular, we surpassed optimistic visitor arrival projections by 30% and welcomed 30, 661 stayover arrivals recording 12 percent more visitors than in April 2019,” Charles-St. Jules said.
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May was another record month, she noted, adding that “as we continued in June 2022, we recorded 30,694 stayover arrivals, only 10 percent less than June 2019. It proved that we were narrowing the gap to achieving normalcy. And I must add (that) Saint Lucia was highlighted as one of the best performing destinations for 2022; the only country in the Eastern Caribbean named in the top five by the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization).”
According to her, the United States accounted for 73 percent of total arrivals, 12 percent more than June 2019. February, April and May were also higher compared to June 2019. The United Kingdom was the largest market for the month of June, accounting for 15 percent of total arrivals.
“We are pleased to report (that) we have almost achieved parity with June 2019 by only 127 visitors down from 2019. June was also the second highest month for the Caribbean. So how did we evolve? What did we do to achieve all those stats? In May 2022 we recorded that over 90 percent of our visitors to Saint Lucia were fully vaccinated so this enabled a very healthy interchange between visitors and the local population,” Charles-St. Jules noted.
Other factors also came into play. The country also waived its COVID-19 protocols which allowed seamless entry into all ports of arrivals and…
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