NEW YORK CITY – By now, most Caribbean specialists are aware of the immediate impact St. Lucia's featured appearance on this past season of “The Bachelor” had on tourism to the island, but the impact it will have on the future is just as impressive and perhaps not as well known.
As part of our coverage of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Annual Caribbean Week event, Travel Agent sat down with Sen. Allen Chastanet, St. Lucia’s minister of tourism, and learned that the show has contributed to a massive amount of honeymoons and weddings booked in St. Lucia this year as well as throughout 2011 and beyond.
In fact, Chastanet says the four hotels that were featured on the show, including the luxurious Jade Mountain and Cap Maison, have been 100 percent full ever since the show aired a few months ago. Also, Chastanet says the tourism board's web site went from 5,000 to 68,000 total hits since the show first aired.
“We knew the impact would be great, but we never expected anything like this,” Chastanet told us.
The publicity from the show, as well as increased flights to the island, are both contributing factors to the island’s 30 percent spike in U.S. arrivals from this time last year. St. Lucia saw only a 5 percent drop in total arrivals last year, which isn't bad at all considering many of the other islands have reported between 20-25 percent drops.
“The future is uncertain and will be uncertain for the rest of this year, 2011 and perhaps beyond,” Chastanet says. “So, we can't just sit back on these numbers. We need to sustain these numbers.”