Saint Lucia upbeat at 2011 CHTA Caribbean Marketplace


MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Saint Lucia’s tourism leaders reported success at the 2011 CHTA Caribbean Marketplace in Jamaica last week and are optimistic about future developments.

Saint Lucia’s Tourism Minister, Senator Allen Chastanet told reporters from the trade floor of the huge travel and tourism meeting at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, that after a successful 2010 when the island welcomed more than 305,000 stay-over visitors and increased revenue by 30 percent, 2011 is shaping up to be another bumper year.

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“I think people are optimistic about their numbers for 2011 with some reporting higher forecasts than last year,” said Senator Chastanet. “The industry is on the rebound despite the rising price of oil and the return of higher air fares,” he added. The Minister expected “our tacticals and the commitment to our brand will be important this year.”

Saint Lucia tourism officials, who promoted the island with detailed presentations throughout the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association-produced event, assert they were successful at heightening the interest in the creole destination following business networking and deal making with global tour operators.

Louis Lewis, Saint Lucia’s Director of Tourism, was upbeat about 2011, in particular the 20th anniversary of Saint Lucia Jazz, to be held from April 30 through May 8.

“Plans are well advanced for the 20th edition of Saint Lucia Jazz when we welcome visitors for musical memories in paradise,” said Lewis, who announced the line-up for the festival at a spirited Saint Lucia celebration at Blue Beat jazz lounge on Montego Bay’s “Hip Strip.”

The Jazz festival is headlined by six-time Grammy winner John Legend and includes marquis acts like R&B singer Trey Songz; Jazz quartet Yellowjackets; violinist Regina Carter; saxophonist Maceo Parker; Haitian kompa band Carimi; African vocalist Angelique Kidjo, Jamaican reggae group Morgan Heritage; and a number of top Saint Lucian musicians.