The island of Saint Lucia has reported experiencing a surge of U.S. visitors recently, especially travelers from the Midwest.
The Saint Lucia Tourist Board attributes some of the growth to United Airlines' December launch of its non-stop service from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Saint Lucia’s Hewanorra International Airport (UVF).
Visitor arrivals from the Midwest region increased by 15 percent between January and April of 2016. According to the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, overall travel from the United States experienced a 4.9 percent increase January through April, welcoming more than 56,000 visitors. The month of April also marked the first four months of the year with a nearly 9 percent increase in American tourist arrivals compared to 2015.
Also expected to boost Saint Lucia's tourism industry, several hoteliers have begun a series of development and renovation projects across the island including Rex Resorts, Royalton Luxury Resorts, and the Harbor Club on the Rodney Bay Marina, which will result in the addition of more than 700 new rooms by the end of this year.
The Saint Lucia Tourist Board has also developed specialized campaigns designed to grow niche markets including the “Saint Lucia Rocks This Summer” program for families and the "Chocolate Heritage Month" in August, designed to highlight the region’s cocoa history and culinary heritage.