by STAFF WRITER
February 17, 2022
CASTRIES, St Lucia, Feb 17, CMC – Visitor arrivals in 2021 surpassed projections by 12 per cent with 199,347 stay-over arrivals recorded, the St. Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) said on Wednesday, as it noted that last year was a progressive year for the sector.
The SLTA said the destination noted several record-breaking months and an increase in air service from key source markets. That culminated with December ending on a high note, as the destination welcomed just about 30,000 visitors, representing more than double the recorded arrival figure in December 2020.
Seventy-six per cent of the visitors who arrived last year were from the United States, where the market arrival figure stood at 152,248. The UK contributed 16 per cent with 32,640 arrivals.
During the last quarter, the Caribbean and Canada reflected an upward trend, contributing 3 per cent and 2 per cent of visitor arrivals, respectively. Targeted efforts also reflect growth in the wider international areas, with the destination welcoming 3,917 visitors from non-traditional markets.
The cruise sector resumed in June 2021, and by December 31, the island received over 80,000 cruise visitors, the SLTA noted. Yachting maintained a positive trajectory for the latter half of the year, and with the recent hosting of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), December received the largest number of arrivals by yacht for the year.
“We celebrate St. Lucia’s resilience which is at the core of the tourism sector. The growth experienced in 2021 is attributed to data-driven, well-performing flights and the reintroduction of services from key markets. The destination was also bestowed four major accolades and ancillary service providers were also awarded. This adds to Saint Lucia’s prominence in the global marketplace and solidifies our mandate of marketing and driving demand for our island,” said Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture, and Information Dr. Ernest Hilaire.
With St. Lucia progressing towards a full recovery from the global pandemic, the SLTA noted that for the year, the total number of stay-over arrivals was up 53 per cent from the same period of 2020.
It added that the inaugural ‘ARC January’, the second leg of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) event, has set the tone for more visitor arrivals in 2022 and it is optimistic about projections for the remainder of the year.
The association also pointed to the return of St. Lucia Carnival in July, and identified the ongoing Expo Dubai as promising, as the island seeks to propel growth from non-traditional markets.
“In addition, St. Lucia is currently represented by a four-member delegation at Routes America. This is a critical platform for stimulating the continued recovery of St. Lucia’s tourism, through a hybrid event that sets a stage for destinations to highlight cost-effective route propositions to airline decision-makers, as they look to rebuild networks and reintroduce market capacity,” the SLTA said.