St Lucia PM optimistic about tourism investment

CASTRIES –The St Lucia government says it is anticipating investments in the tourism industry to surpass EC$320 million as a result of negotiations with various investors during the first eight months of this year.

“Investors are showing a high level of confidence and interest in St Lucia’s economic prospects. This is evident by the level of tourism investments which have been recorded for the period January to August 2022, Prime Minister Phillip J Pierre told the 58th annual general meeting of the St Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA).

He said during that period Cabinet approved 20 projects for tourism incentives “amounting to projected investments of EC$326.6 million”.

Pierre, a former tourism minister, said that the Jamaica-based Sandals group has started renovations on one of its properties here, while another hotel has re-opened under new management. He said another hotel under new management has “major plans for expansion just to name a few”.

Pierre said he welcomed the opportunity to address the meeting because he wants the private sector to play a much more meaningful role in the socio-economic development of the island.

“While your main emphasis may be on greater collaboration within the private sector, your call could be extended to include stronger linkages between the public and private sectors as well,” Pierre said, alluding to the theme of the general meeting “Building Forward Better Together”.

Tourism officials said that visitor expenditure post coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had exceeded EC$560 million last year and hotels and other properties collectively made in excess of EC$303 million.

During his address, Prime Minister Pierre made an appeal for the thousands of workers in the tourism industry to be adequately compensated.

‘This government will assist whenever we can to help you succeed with your business and we continue to encourage you to invest in our country. However, we need you to uphold your corporate responsibility to treat workers fairly, compensate workers adequately so that every participant can enjoy the benefits of the tourism sector and in return they will help us promote and defend our sector,” Pierre said. (CMC)

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