Director of the St.Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) Louis Lewis, has re-affirmed the government’s commitment to taking the necessary steps to safeguard the tourism industry against crime.
The Tourist Board Director made the statement in the wake of a recent decision by Norwegian Cruise line to remove St.Lucia from its list of destinations for the 2011-2012 cruise ship season following three attacks on cruise ship passengers on the island.
Mr. Lewis said the authorities are determined to eliminate any further threats for the industry but also stated that the support and commitment of all citizens are required, if success is to be achieved in the fight against criminal activity.
“We have not received any notification of any further cruise ships taking action but at the same time I must hasten to add that it is something that we cannot allow to continue,” Lewis said.
He added, “It is about protecting an industry against incidents that could jeopardize the livelihood of thousands of people and as a small island, the implications of crime go way beyond the industry, because it really affects the liability of the State so it is something that we have to pay particular attention to.”
The Tourist Board Director says industry officials will continue to work closely with law enforcement, to clamp down on crime that can inflict a major economic blow to the country.
2010 has been forecasted as a year of recovery and growth for tourism, but industry authorities are leaving no stones unturned to ensure that the upsurge in crime does not offset that positive outlook.
Meanwhile the Vice President of Marketing at the SLTB, Nerdine St.Rose has devised an innovative idea to help deal with the present crime situation on the island .
St. Rose who recently assumed the position as Vice President says a robust public awareness campaign to educate citizens on the importance of tourism will be given priority.
She says the idea is to market tourism particularly to Saint Lucians in marginalized communities and give them opportunities to be a part of the growth and development of the industry.
“While we try to bring tourists to the destination, I also note that it is very important to get the local community involved in the industry. This is a priority for us moving forward because if St.Lucia is not safe then it makes it difficult for us to do our job and sell the destination, ” St. Rose said.
She continued, “Tourism is really our business and we need to protect it. We are hoping that if we can educate residents then they will have a better understanding and hopefully, when they see a visitor they will not think of robbing the individual.”
St.Rose says she hopes to launch the public awareness campaign shortly.