The St. Lucia Government welcomed the news of Caribbean Airlines' expanding commitment to serve the intra-regional travel market.
Responding to plans by the Trinidad and Tobago airline to start a regional commuter service using newly delivered ATR aircraft, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Senator Allen Chastanet, said St. Lucia and its neighbors could benefit greatly from this new development.
"For the last three years, we have invested significant marketing resources into all of our major markets, but the intra-Caribbean market has not kept pace with the record growth we have experienced in the U.S. and Canada for example," Chastanet explained in a written release, attributing the deep declines in regional business to high airfares, limited seat capacity and unpredictable schedule changes.
St. Lucia, which registered record stay-over tourism arrivals and revenue last year, is establishing Hewanorra International Airport in the south of the island as a major Caribbean hub to provide connections to and from its sister islands of Grenada, St. Vincent, Martinique and Dominica, given the strength of scheduled nonstop services to the island from New York, Miami, Atlanta, Toronto, London, and most recently Paris and Frankfurt.
The Government has also improved transit policies to allow anyone transiting St. Lucia within 24 hours to do so without paying departure taxes or in-transit fees.
The Senator disclosed that in addition to Caribbean Airlines and CARICOM Airways, the Government is in negotiation with American Eagle to commence services between Barbados and St. Lucia.