Like most Caribbean islands, St. Lucia has taken it on the chin for most of 2009. But new flights and aggressive marketing strategies are just some of the reasons why the island is looking at a rebound just before and after the year ends.
The St. Lucia Tourist Board has been conducting road shows throughout the U.S. and Canada. From now until mid-November, it will have completed 27 shows with the goal of reaching 2,700 agents.
The shows specifically target the travel trade and provide updated information on St. Lucia—how to get there, where to stay, events, etc.
Major metropolitan areas being visited include the following air gateways:
New York; Washington, DC; Chicago; Cincinnati; Atlanta; Charlotte, NC; Houston; Dallas; Toronto; and Montreal.
The road shows will reveal the new ad campaign by the St. Lucia Tourist Board, titled “Legend Has It,” which will focus on the legacy of an unspoiled island destination. It will be launched through radio, print, online and billboards later this year.
New Properties and Renovations
With close to 50,000 visitors expected to grace St. Lucia this fall, the island is preparing for peak season with new property openings, resort renovations and the introduction of JetBlue flights.
Set above Smuggler’s Cove beach in St. Lucia’s Cap Estate, Cap Maison is a former sugar plantation turned 1,500-acre rolling-hills resort. With the waters of the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the property provides a one-of-a-kind ambiance. The refinements to the private villas, which started on September 1, were to be completed by October 10. For reservations and information, agents should contact U.S. Sales Manager Karen Bull at [email protected].
Discovery at Marigot Bay Hotel & Spa is changing its name to Marigot Bay Hotel with its reopening November 1. The resort closed for renovations on September 1 and has imported 800 tons of white sand from the island of Barbuda to upgrade its existing beach, and will add a new beach club and two additional restaurants. Call 758-458-5300 or e-mail [email protected].
In other resort news, Rendezvous, a couples-only resort, will complete its $12 million renovation by the end of the month. Meanwhile, The Landings St. Lucia, a RockResort, is completing phase three of its four-phase apartments by 2010. Sixty-five new self-contained apartments will make up this new phase and form part of the 66 suites already available for sale and rent. For more information, agents should contact Reservations Supervisor Gertrude Auguste at [email protected] or 758-458-7300.
In February 2010, St. Lucia will see the opening of Hotel Chocolat on Rabot Estate on its east coast. As its name may suggest, the property is committed to authentic chocolate and giving guests a behind-the-scenes look at the chocolate-making process. Guests will tour the cocoa plantation and will enjoy bird-watching, hiking to the top of Rabot Ridge and guided Fruit Safari Tours.
Windjammer Landing Offers
In an effort to improve the resort’s relationship with agents and tour operators, Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort & Spa has come up with some notable incentives. The resort will give agents a 15 percent commission now through the end of 2010. Agents should contact Beverly Herman, reservations manager at [email protected] or 1-800-958-7376.
Also, for the first time, the resort is allowing operators to use Sun Dollars, which is basically resort credit for anything from food to spa treatments, ranging from roughly $50 to $150 a night depending on the suite or villa category. These are now up for grabs through the end of 2010.
Bay Gardens Resorts’ Fall Savings
Bay Gardens Resorts (758-457-8006) has an outstanding fall sale at its Bay Gardens Hotel and Bay Gardens Inn.
In the heart of St. Lucia’s entertainment and recreation center, Bay Gardens Hotel will sell luxury accommodations at a fraction of their usual cost. Fall rates start at $50 for a standard room and 35 percent will be off published rates on all room categories higher than standard for travel now through December 15. The standard rooms in the affordable and family-friendly Bay Gardens Inn in the popular Rodney Bay Village will be available for $50 and all higher-category rooms will be sold for 25 percent less than the published rates. These offers are valid now through December 15. All travel must be booked by December 1.
Recession-Proof Coconut Bay Beach Resort
Coconut Bay Beach Resort has consistently achieved the highest occupancy levels in St. Lucia, reaching nearly 99 percent at times. The resort team attributes this in part to creative value-added promotions, laser-beam pricing strategies and incentive programs for travel agents, who should call 758-456-9999 for more information.
JetBlue and American Airlines’ new service to St. Lucia makes it more convenient and cost-effective for travelers, as JetBlue will launch direct service from New York while American will introduce lower rates, starting at $150 each way. JetBlue will have three daily flights from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. In the past year, American has also increased the number of flights to the island.
For more information about St. Lucia, call the tourist board at 800-456-3984, or visit www.stlucia.org.
The "Legend Has It" ad campaign of the St. Lucia Tourist Board will focus on the legacy of an unspoiled island destination