The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) hosted its 11th annual Showcase, 11-15 September 2023, for more than 300 UK travel industry specialists.
The Saint Lucia Showcase saw a series of networking meetings and events taking place, covering Saint Lucia’s news, tourism developments and new information on accommodation and excursions.
Key elements included a media lunch, an Appreciation Dinner for senior UK travel executives and two training evenings for travel agents.
During the showcase, the SLTA revealed that post-Covid tourism is bouncing back, with 234,424 visitors as of the end of July 2023. The U.S. is the island’s top performer, with 130,986 travellers per year. This figure makes up approximately 55% of Saint Lucia’s total visitor numbers.
Although the UK had a strong start to the year, summer saw a dip in visitor numbers compared to 2022 with a 6.4% drop.
Dr Ernest Hilaire, Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information, who led the island’s delegation and commended the UK travel trade on their support of the destination, noted the destination’s ‘tourism resilience’.
“Saint Lucia is fully open and has rebounded from Covid. Last year was our recovery year, and now we’re building resilience. There is a priority on sustainability, community tourism and the culture of Saint Lucia as a prime selling point,” said Dr Ernest Hilaire.
Initiatives such as Shop Local are part of the ongoing drive in promoting sustainability, designed so that many small businesses which are rooted in communities benefit from tourism. The SLTA has created a handy guide to help travellers ‘shop locally’ around Saint Lucia. It highlights the island’s array of independent shops and vendors to encourage visitors to explore the area and meet its locals.
The Three Peaks Challenge is a new adventure experience that invites visitors to climb three of the island’s mountains. The peaks are Gros Piton (2,618.9 ft), Petit Piton (2, 438 ft) and Mount Grimie (3, 117 ft). The first is already a popular hike with visitors and locals alike. Experts and guides from The 758 Adventurers will be on hand to help, too.
New developments on the island include the Dream Hotel Group’s new 96-key Cas en Bas Beach Resort, which is due to open later this year; Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort’s 25 new suites; Sandals Regency La Toc’s 20 Rondoval suites planned for next year; the St James Club Morgan Bay’s rebrand in late 2024 and the Cabot Saint Lucia development’s soft launch of its Coore and Crenshaw golf course.