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SLTB Says - Record Numbers of Visitors for 1st Quarter of 2005

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - Tourism officials continue to express satisfaction over gains recorded in the industry in 2005. Saint Lucia has recorded a 19.8 percent increase in tourist arrivals for the first quarter of this year as compared to the same period in 2004. Tourism representatives say over 122 thousand visitors have already touched down on Saint Lucia’s shores for the year, hinting to signs of continued increases for the rest of the year.

Minister for Tourism, Commerce, Investment and Consumer Affairs Honourable Phillip J. Pierre says the major destination markets of the United States and the United Kingdom continue to register gains with a 17.7% and 12.3% increase respectively.

Minister Pierre notes, “In January there was a 20.7% increase, in February a 5.7%, in March a 21.4% and in April a 29.1% increase.” According to him, “It looks like we are going to sustain that increase and hopefully by the end of this year we should have double digit increases barring any unforeseen circumstances.”

Commenting on these statistics, Tourism Director Hilary Modeste says “We do not have in St. Lucia anymore what we call the seasonal factor. The seasonal factor has completely disappeared, meaning that the differentials between the high and low season is no more. I can say with certainty that I know of no hotel in St. Lucia right now that lays-off people in the summer months,” says Modeste.

To maintain that momentum Mr. Modeste says the Tourist Board will further strengthen its efforts at marketing Saint. Lucia internationally. The board has entered into partnership with a reputable Toronto-based advertising agency, which is assisting in developing a new and more targeted marketing campaign. Along with plans for the construction of additional hotel rooms Mr. Modeste says negotiations for additional airlift into the island appears promising.

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