Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic Airways Steve Ridgway says St. Lucia had rebounded well in the aftermath of Hurricane Tomas and his company was pleased to return to the market on November 14 with a full load of passengers.
Ridgway arrived here on board Virgin Atlantic's second flight into St. Lucia since the October 30 storm and met with Prime Minister Stephenson King and key tourism industry stakeholders as he evaluated first hand the resilience of Saint Lucia's tourism infrastructure and its people.
"We came in with a full load Sunday and it is clear that travel is getting back to what it was prior to the storm," he told journalists at a press reception held at The Landings St. Lucia which was also attended by members of the St. Lucia Tourist Board, the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) and the Rotary Club.
"I spoke with lots of passengers and they were all eagerly looking forward to their holiday, and were not daunted at all by what they have been hearing or reading," he pointed out.
Ridgway said that he was pleased with efforts to restore the island's road network and water production and gleaned from his talks with Prime Minister King there was a very clear intent on the part of government to convey that the country is open for business and the tourism product had not been adversely impacted by the storm.
Virgin Atlantic Airways, which has been serving Saint Lucia for the past 12 years, quickly put together a team of both British and Caribbean staff to assist passengers on the island who had been affected by the hurricane, as well as communities that were in need of relief.
Emergency supplies, including 115 aqua boxes and 80 shelter boxes, were transported to assist the Rotary Club of Saint Lucia. More than 3,000 liters of bottled water were also flown in and distributed by Virgin's ground staff.