At an event in New York City for media, Hon. Minister of Tourism Dominic Fedee spoke about Saint Lucia’s record-setting 2019 numbers and what the island is doing to build upon that in 2020 and beyond.
First, the numbers: Saint Lucia welcomed over 400,000 stayover arrivals in 2019—the first time the island has hit this plateau. In total, including cruise, yacht and other arrivals, Saint Lucia recorded 1.2 million visitors last year, a 5 percent increase over 2018. The United States was one of the markets that helped the destination reach these numbers: Hon. Minister Fedee said that American stayovers grew by 9.5 percent and accounted for 45 percent of the global market of visitors.
In order to build on these numbers, Saint Lucia will see the debut of several global brands in the coming years. Hon. Minister Fedee flew back to Saint Lucia in order to attend the groundbreaking of Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts and Dreams Resorts & Spas. The two resorts are AMResorts’ first foray into the Caribbean island; in total, they represent a $200 million investment and are expected to open in two years. Later in the year, the groundbreaking for a 780-room Hyatt will occur.
Hon. Minister Fedee also spoke about Cabot, a Canadian luxury golf resort and residential community developer, which is creating a resort community on Saint Lucia. Located in Point Hardy, a peninsula at the northern tip of Saint Lucia, Cabot Saint Lucia will include a golf club, residential community and resort.
The resorts will be located in the island’s south, and Hon. Minister Fedee notes that this helps decentralize the island’s tourism offerings, many of which are currently located in the north. He estimates that Saint Lucia could see the addition of 3,000 rooms in the next seven to 10 years.
Also in the south will be a new cruise terminal built in partnership with Carnival and Royal Caribbean. It will become the second-largest port on the island, but due to its proximity to the airport, it will facilitate cruise vacations to and from the island.
And then there are the festivals, the main event being the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival Produced in Collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center. The event will be held May 7 – 9 and headliners include Chick Corea, Alphonso Horne, Ruben Fox and Maher Beauroy. The year of festivals continues with the Saint Lucia Carnival in June and July, Creole Heritage Month in October and Saint Lucia Roots & Soul, although the date is still TBD.