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HERITAS Gets a New Home

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - Further steps towards establishing the nature heritage sector as a viable and sustainable component of the tourism industry, were taken on the weekend, when the umbrella grouping of heritage sites on the island - HERITAS - moved to a new home.

The Heritage Tourism Association (HERITAS), is a grouping of eighteen (18) owners and managers of heritage sites made up of community based organizations as well as government and non-governmental organizations. One of organization’s main objectives is to develop and advance the island’s heritage as a product for sale to locals and visitors. “Through the advent of the Heritage Tourism Programme, that became a reality, and many of us who were just basic sites, who never possessed a voice or a say, found ourselves on the map,” said Augustine.

“Heritage Tourism became one of the areas that were sought after and it became a special product with people realizing that the heritage of St. Lucia is something unique and to be proud of and that tourism as an industry, is part of what we have to offer. Therefore HERITAS as an association, has a role to play.” Augustine says one of the successes of HERITAS is the ability to allow communities to directly feel the impact of the tourism industry.

“The St. Lucia Heritage Tourism Programme is descried locally, regionally and may I say internationally, as a success story,” said Co-ordinator of the St. Lucia Heritage Programme Sylvester Clauzel. “Of course success has various levels of determination and we will certainly be the first to admit that we have failed in certain aspects of our work. However be that as it may, the programme was able to achieve the greater part of its mandate. That however, is no reason for us to beat our chest as the real success resides in the sustainability of the sector, after the programme ceases to exist.”

The opening of the new office located at the Folk Research Centre, is being seen as a public demonstration of the willingness and confidence of owners and managers of the heritage sites, to take the work of the heritage programme to another level.

The Heritage Tourism Programme was launched in 1998 and has helped establish several heritage sites and attractions around the island.

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