Saint Lucia improved on its 2017 performance, itself a record-setting year, by 10.2 percent, attracting over 113,000 more visitors for a total of 1.2 million arrivals. Figures are up across the board, with the yachting sector measuring 25.9 percent more arrivals, with cruising and stay-over visits behind at 13.6 percent and 2.2 percent.
Cruise visitors account for the largest proportion of arrivals, by far. Nearly twice the number of say-over visitors, this segment recorded 760,306 arrivals, 91,089 more than 2017. The expansion of Berth #1 at Pointe Seraphine likely assisted with this growth as it allowed Port Castries to accommodate Vista, Quantum and Freedom Class vessels.
Stay-over visitors rose by just 8,653 people for a total of 394,780. The United States, United Kingdom and France led this category, rising by 4.1, 4.9 and 17.3 percent respectively. Saint Lucia’s tourism minister, Dominic Fedee, attributed the increase to specific marketing efforts that targeted high net-worth areas in the northeastern United States and southeastern United Kingdom.
These marketing campaigns also focused in the greater Toronto area in Canada. Despite this, visits from the country ended up decreasing by 5.6 percent to 40,213 arrivals. This could be attributed to an absence of service from Transat Tours and a reduction in frequency of WestJet flights.