Saint Lucia: Tourism officials from the Caribbean island country participated in the 2022 Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) annual conference, held in the Cayman Islands from September 11 to 15. The annual conference brought together CTO members to discuss and plan key items relevant to the advancement of the tourism industry and member states.
Leading Saint Lucia’s delegation was Tourism Minister Dr Ernest Hilaire. He was accompanied by the CEO of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Lorine Charles-St. Jules. The delegation participated in a Destination Briefing to regional and international media, CTO Business Meetings, and a Grand Cayman familiarization tour.
Sustainable Airlift continues to be a key growth strategy for stimulating the continued recovery of Saint Lucia’s tourism product. As part of the CTO conference, the Airlift Committee of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, headed by Paul Collymore and Research and Development Manager- Roselieu Augustin, attended the Caribbean Aviation Day symposium hosted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on September 14. High on the agenda was a debate on the challenges and opportunities of this sector, the recovery of the region, and enhancing the benefits of aviation in the Caribbean.
Saint Lucia, having achieved 80 percent of its overall recovery compared to 2019, anticipates a well-performing fall tourism season with increased non-stop airlift from Toronto (YYZ) by way of Sunwing, Air Canada, and WestJet. From the United States, service continues from Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Miami, New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia. From London, Virgin Atlantic will reintroduce service from Heathrow (LHR) on October 31, and non-stop airlift will continue with British Airways and TUI from Gatwick (LGW).
During the Conference, Charles-St Jules added another layer of accomplishment to her tourism leadership portfolio when she was pinned as one of the newest Board of Directors of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. She will serve in the newly appointed capacity until 2024.
An exciting component of the annual conference is the Regional Tourism Youth Congress where Junior Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism around the region participate in a two-round competition. Saint Lucia’s Junior Minister of Tourism, 15-year-old Jassie Thomas of the Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School, competed against nine junior ministers, delivering a speech centred on the topic “Community Based Tourism”.
The 2022 CTO conference reinforced Saint Lucia’s position on the continuous development of its sustainable airlift and targeted marketing strategy for the island’s tourism sector.