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Friday, April 22, 2005 - Prime Minister and Minister Finance, International Financial Services, Economic Affairs and Information, Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony has reported a significant increase in economic activity on the island for the past year, with tourism remaining at the forefront.


The Prime Minister said that despite the challenges of the last few years, the economy continues to do well.  St. Lucia, Dr. Anthony says, is firmly on the growth path having registered an improvement in Gross Domestic Product GDP of 3.6% in 2004. 


It is the second consecutive year of accelerated growth, and in the context of the recessionary conditions, which saw contractions in the economy in 2001, the performance of 2004 according to Dr. Anthony, indicates the country has fully recovered.


 “Buoyed by the strength of the global economy and the appreciation of the pound sterling and the Euro against the US dollar, the tourism industry registered a 15.8 % increase in total visitor arrivals to 813, 681.  It should also be noted, that this is the highest posting of visitor arrivals to St. Lucia in any one calendar year,” Dr. Anthony said.


Apart from the growth in tourism, mainly as a result of the expansion of the hotel and restaurants sectors, the economy recorded growth in government services, wholesale and retail, manufacturing, communications, banking and insurance and agriculture.  Dr. Anthony says the island’s economic recovery is well entrenched and barring any major adverse shocks, a strong platform has been laid for sustained growth.  However, Dr. Anthony said, it would be foolish to think the challenges are over.


 “We leave in a world of constant change and we therefore need to anticipate and meet the new challenges, head on.  This requires us to continually adapt to the changing world by restructuring and repositioning our economy.  Only then will we be able to enhance our competitiveness and raise the standards of living for all,” the Prime Minister said.

The economic environment in the world economy, Dr. Anthony said, remains highly favourable, notwithstanding some downside risks posed by the high oil prices.  The country he said needs to be fully prepared for the implementation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and take full advantage of Cricket World Cup 2007.  Dr Anthony added that by so doing the country will be better placed for further economic growth in the years ahead.

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