Address by The Hon. Philip J. Pierre on the Occasion of the Return of Air Jamaica to Saint Lucia
Home Up Address by The Hon. Philip J. Pierre on the Occasion of the Return of Air Jamaica to Saint Lucia Message from Hon. Philip J. Pierre On the Occasion of World Standards Day October 14th, 2005 Address by Hon Philip J. Pierre at the Official Launch of the Business Opportunities Organization of Saint Lucia Statement on the death of Dame Eugenia Charles Address By The Hon. Philip J. Pierre at The Official Launch of The CARICOM Single Market & Economy (CSME) National Public Education Programme Address By The Hon. Philip J. Pierre, at The Saint Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association 41st Annual General Meeting Ministerial Address To The Nation On The Occasion Of World Tourism Day Address By Hon. Philip J. Pierre At The Opening Of Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEX) Thursday, June 24, 2004 Address by Honourable Philip J. Pierre in Observance of World Consumer Rights Day - March 15, 2003 WORLD STANDARDS DAY - October 14, 2002 Address by Hon. Philip J. Pierre the Meeting of Caribbean Small Business Entrepreneurs, Organizations and Agencies - 3 April 2002 Address by the Hon. Minister to the Tourism Forum held on March 8, 2002 Statement by Hon. Philip J. Pierre at Press Conference - March 7, 2002 Address by Hon. Philip J. Pierre to Chamber of Commerce at 117th AGM Address by Hon. Philip J. Pierre to the Launching Ceremony of Creole Heritage Month "Baron Foods Bouyon Ek Kalalou" at the Folk Research Centre - October 19, 2001 Address by Hon. Philip J. Pierre to the Regional Workshop on the Music Industry in the OECS, Bay Gardens Hotel, St. Lucia on July 26, 2001 Address by Hon. Philip J. Pierre to Seminar On Potable Water Quality Safety And Management Issues


Address by The Hon. Philip J. Pierre

Minister for Commerce, Tourism, Investment & Consumer  Affairs

on the Occasion of the Return of Air Jamaica to Saint Lucia New York

Wednesday 22nd February 2006

To say I am pleased to be in New York in celebration of Air Jamaica’s return to St Lucia is an understatement. That decision by Air Jamaica is testimony of confidence in St Lucia tourism industry at a time when airlines continue to face major challenges. This confidence is not misplaced as St Lucia tourism continues to perform satisfactorily.

St Lucia recorded a 6.5% increase in tourism arrivals at December 2005 bringing for the first time the number of stayover visitors to over 300,000 (317,939. CTO estimates stayover arrivals to the Caribbean region increased by 3.6% and WTO estimates international tourism arrivals increased by 5.5% in 2005. Clearly St Lucia is holding its own and we are thankful to our partners for their support.

Air Jamaica’s return to St Lucia is timely. The airline returns at a time when CARICOM countries are embarking on a path of further integration through a CARICOM Single Market which mandates freedom of the factors of production and right of establishment in each other’s economies. Air Jamaica as a Caribbean airline is a practical example of the benefit of that integration.

We are aware that Air Jamaica has re-focused and is well placed to continue its expansion to destinations in the Caribbean. We believe that this is a positive step since the Caribbean brand is in need of more airlift. A region operating as a single market must emphasize on the uniqueness of its product and the need for airlift is a prime condition for growth.

The USA continues to be the largest source market apart from the Caribbean for St Lucia in 2005 increases of 5.1% were recorded from the USA with double digit increases in certain months. We are striving to continue that trend in the future and Air Jamaica non-stop flights from New York’s JFK will help in that mission.

We are aware that airlift is necessary but not a sufficient condition to sustain a destination. In this regard the St Lucia government through its marketing agency the St Lucia Tourist Board and with the help and agreement of the private sector through the St Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association has designed a new advertising campaign in the electronic and print media. This campaign will focus primarily on the USA market and will be very visible in the New York area.

There will also be other joint marketing initiatives with Air Jamaica and the local private sector to complement that new campaign to ensure the sustainability of the service and a possible increase in flights in the near future.

This service is a welcome addition to our airlift not only because it is the only direct service from JFK to St Lucia but it will serve to fill a void expressed not only by our visitors to St Lucia but by St Lucia nationals living in the USA and wanting to return home an holiday. Air Jamaica is a Caribbean airline and I am sure management understands the needs of the Caribbean clientele. It would be remiss of me if I did not at this ceremony convey a message from and on behalf of the St Lucia passé in New York that Air Jamaica should ease up on the luggage.

These are exciting times in St Lucia’s tourism industry and for our country generally. We are in the middle of preparations for hosting the world’s third largest major sporting event - Cricket World Cup. The island is expanding its playing stadium to increase existing spectator facilities.

An important part of that preparation is the need to house visitors expected to converge on St Lucia from around the world. Government through enabling incentive legislation has created the catalyst for growth and expansion in the hotel plant with the goal of expanding present room stock of 4500 to 7000 by April 2007. In 2005 - 480 new rooms had already been commissioned with the opening of Coco Palm Resort at Rodney Bay and Coconut Bay Hotel in Vieux Fort near the international airport.

These investment incentives include tax breaks for up to twenty years in some cases for new construction, expansion renovations of large and small hotel properties. To maintain St Lucia’s reputation as a destination offering diversity in accommodation we have sought to upgrade bed and breakfast offerings and small hotels through special incentives that will allow them once they satisfy the required standards to offer accommodation to our visitors.

St Lucia’s hotel plant is expanding and investors are demonstrating tremendous confidence in the future of the tourism industry. Commitments in new building expansions, refurbishments or upgrades are now over $500 million USA and many of these developments are either under construction or nearing completion.

These new hotel developments range from intimate small hotels to business five star properties. A brief review of major hotel construction in St Lucia will include the Landings, Plantation Bay, Bay Gardens and Le Sport Villas in the North. Discovery Bay and JJ Villas on the West Coast, Anse Chastanet Infinity Suites and Jalousie Resort in Soufriere (home of the Pitons), Le Paradis with a Westin property on the east coast village of Micoud. Work has already commenced on these sites. There are also many upscale villas and luxury homes being built all over the island.

You will agree that optimism exists on the future of our hotel sector. We are continuing our efforts to continuously improve the brand St Lucia. The road between the international airport and Soufriere, home to the Pitons, has been improved and resurfaced. Work on the east coast road to the international airport has commenced and when completed will provide motorists with a smooth ring-road network around the island. The Gros Islet Castries Highway is also slated for attention. Improvements on the regularity of our water supply are ongoing.

Diversification of our product continues. Government has granted the first gaming license to an American Company Treasure Bay Limited for the construction of a casino in the north of the island. These was also an announcement last week that a Jack Niclaus signature golf course will soon be coming to Cap Estate in the north of the island.

Air Jamaica’s return could not be at a more opportune time. I am aware that many factors determine an aircraft’s destination but I am sure that the environment in St Lucia is encouraging for the future of Air Jamaica.

While we celebrate this evening I want to thank the people who made this historic return possible by keeping alive the vision of a major Caribbean airline.

In this regard the government of Jamaica must be complemented. Former Chairman Mr. Butch Stewart and Dr. Vin Lawrence and present chairman Mr. O.K. Melhado all share the desire to make Air Jamaica the best possible airline – I salute the vision and determination of these gentlemen.
(other thanks – Mike Conway, William Rodgers, George DeMarcado, Lorine St Jules – SLTB)

To my mind the return of Air Jamaica to St Lucia signifies a major step in the development of our region and the tourism industry in particular. Our industry is dependent on airlift and I am sure Air Jamaica understands that reality and will serve St Lucia in the finest tradition of professionalism and love bird hospitality.

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