Monday, July 28, 2003 - A call has gone out to local entrepreneurs
involved in the vital tourism industry here, to find new ways of ensuring that
they maximise on returns to be gained from the multi-million dollar
infrastructural investments ploughed into the sector by government and its
Vincent Hipployte, General Manager of the St.
Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority
The call came on Monday, July 28, 2003, from General Manager
of the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) Vincent Hipployte, as the
organization kicked off a special week of activities in commemoration of its
20th anniversary. According to Hipployte, government, via SLASPA, continues to
invest heavily in the tourism sector by means of state-of-the-art infrastructure
and marketing initiatives.
He says in most cases, such investment has borne fruit as can been seen in sharp
increase in visitor arrivals to the island. Statistics indicate that visitor
arrivals jumped from 200,000 in the mid 1980’s to 521,000 in 2000. However, Mr.
Hippolyte says more gains can be achieved if only local business persons
position themselves strategically.
“If SLASPA via the Government and those agencies that have responsibility for
ensuring that we attract tourists to our shores play their part, then those
persons who are involved in the business sector must ask themselves very serious
questions,” Hippolyte said. “Are we doing enough to really maximise our returns
from those persons who are coming to St. Lucia? When 500,000 passengers come to
St. Lucia, the businesspersons must ask themselves, what are we doing and how
can we do more in order to derive more money from those persons?”
The various air and seaports operations on the island are expected to process
well over 500,000 visitors next year, as the sector continues to recover from
the September 11, 2001 drop in figures.