Prime Minister speaks on tourism industry upgrades


St. Lucia Prime Minister Hon. Allen Chastanet has announced major plans for the expansion of port facilities in the south of the island.

One of the components of the port facilities expansion project is the construction of a home porting facility in the town of Vieux Fort which is expected to attract large cruise vessels.

“The Hon. Stephenson King, two other ministers, and myself will later this month travel to Miami to meet with some of the cruise ship companies to hopefully finalize their commitments to the expansion of the cruise facilities in the south,” Prime Minister Chastanet said. “Already we have been in advanced discussions with Carnival Cruise Lines, so the goal is to move pretty quickly with the idea of trying to get this done by 2020 for the earliest, but with the possibility of 2021.”

Meantime, the prime minister has described 2017 as an amazing year for Saint Lucia in terms of its tourism performance. He said plans are afoot to increase the room base by 50 percent over the next three years.

“We saw a 10.5 percent increase in our stay over arrivals, and a 14 percent increase in our cruise ship arrivals. We have a new hotel that has been opened called Harbour Club with 170 rooms; Coconut Bay in the south has added 37 suites; Windjammer has added another 30 rooms; Beljour has just recently opened, and we have also seen major upgrades at a lot of the hotels.

“I am eagerly awaiting the announcement of the Rex Property; we have been in advanced discussions with the possibility of getting a Hyatt Hotel at Choc; and we have already gotten commitments and plans are going into the DCA for a new Fairmont Hotel, a new Ritz Carlton Hotel, and also Dreams and Secrets.

“I just want to ensure all Saint Lucians and I also want to ensure our international partners that this is just the beginning of much, much more to take place in Saint Lucia over the next three years.”