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St. Lucia Host Pilot Project Examining Linkages between Tourism & Agriculture

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Tourism & AgricultureWednesday, June 04, 2003 - The size of the St. Lucia’s ‘tourism plant’ and the importance of agriculture to the survival of rural communities, have given rise to selecting the island for a pilot project that will examine the intricate linkages between agricultural production and tourism.

The debate over the importance of agriculture verses tourism has been raging on the island for sometime and on Thursday, June 5, 2003, via a national consultation, representatives on both sides will meet to discuss the issues and needs of farmers and the tourism sector and to examine the best strategy that could be employed to increase agricultural trade between the two sectors. Participants with have the unique opportunity to analyse existing data and hopefully chart improved paths for both of the vital sectors.

Sylvester Clauzel

Sylvester Clauzel, Programme Co-ordinator of the Heritage Tourism Programme

The consultation, at the Bay Gardens Hotel, is organized by the St. Lucia Heritage Tourism Programme (SLHTP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and is funded and facilitated by Oxfam GB, a British based development organization. Programme Co-ordinator of the Heritage Tourism Programme Sylvester Clauzel, thinks the debate over which industry is more important is a flawed one and really makes little sense. “The two industries are intermingled and must work together as one feeds off the other,” said Clauzel.

He went on, “If you are going to have a sustainable tourism industry, it must by virtue of it being sustainable, depend as much as possible on local agricultural produce finding its way into the market. Therefore the task for us today at this pilot project is to find the workable linkages between these two industries and there really is no need to debate which one is more important as they are equally important.”

Insights derived from the one-day exercise will allow for better decision making on project specifics; like what products are to be marketed, who will manage the project and the commitment required by farmers, distributors and hotels to ensure trade develops over the long term. Oxfam GB has already conducted an in-depth analysis in St. Lucia to establish the feasibility of improving farmers’ ability to sell more produce to the tourism sector.

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