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Government Puts Focus on Economic Development in Vieux Fort

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Monday, February 26, 2007 – Government is presently working on a master plan for further economic development in the town of Vieux Fort. A major part of that plan includes a vision for tourism advancement for the southern town.

This was disclosed by Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Senator the Honourable Allen Chastanet, when he addressed a gathering of tourism business operators on Tuesday 20th February at the Skyway Inn.

Mr. Chastanet, while speaking on the town's enormous potential for development, hastened to add that it would be economic suicide if that obvious potential is ignored. He says while government works towards resolving issues of airlift to the island, Vieux Fort will require more rooms if it is to benefit from that airlift.

“I know the Prime Minister is very anxious to announce his plans for Castries, and Castries would probably get going immediately and probably in the next two to three years massive development will come to Vieux Fort. Clearly, Government is very anxious for the Ridge Carlton Project to get off the ground and we are also trying to see if we can get Coconut Bay to expand their rooms. There is a smaller area where we would like to get a village type concept tourism going, so people can begin to see activity happening,” said the tourism minister.

Mr. Chastanet also spoke to the gathering on the importance of their representation on a National Tourism Council. He said government decided to embrace a Tourism Council of the Hotel and Tourism Association as a national body. The council will be the main advisory body for the Ministry of Tourism, while the St. Lucia Tourist Board will focus mainly on marketing the island.

“The rationale for developing the Tourism Council is for everyone to understand that tourism is not just hotels. Tourism encompasses a lot of different people, and every single person has to benefit. We are now going to include taxi drivers, vendors, and the entertainment industry on that council. In addition to that, there will be private sector people sitting on that council. We are also going to invite several ministries,” he said.

The council, Senator Chastanet said, will meet four times yearly to talk about what's working in the industry and what isn't, as well as to come up with policies that are needed to enhance the island's tourism product.

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