Saint Lucia’s Sublime Singularity
PHOTO: Louis Lewis, Saint Lucia’s tourism director. (photo by Brian Major)
It’s often said Caribbean destinations are similar, but tourism officials in Saint Lucia have clearly been successful in their efforts to showcase the country’s distinctive, mountainous terrain, lush rainforests and white-sand beaches as the ideal backdrop for romantic vacations.
Saint Lucia was recognized this past year as the “Best Honeymoon Island in the World” and one of the “Most Romantic Islands in the World” in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2015 Readers’ Choice Awards.
Saint Lucia’s niche as a sophisticated, upscale destination has also benefitted immeasurably through its hosting of one of the Caribbean’s signature cultural events: the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival, now in its 25th year.
Over the years the “jazz” designation has come to encompass an array of genres, and this year’s event, slated for April 29 to May 8, remains on schedule. Featured artists will include Grammy award winning Latin singer Marc Anthony, singer/songwriter Shaggy, 10-time Grammy winner George Benson, legendary soul group Kool and the Gang, soft rock duo Air Supply and jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison Jr. among others.
Concert locations will span from Saint Lucia’s Pigeon Island National Park, where main stage events will begin on May 6, to venues across the island. Sponsored by the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB), the jazz festival and Saint Lucia’s successful wedding and honeymoon segments have combined to support the destination’s strong arrival numbers.
Year-over-year, U.S. arrivals grew seven percent in 2015, SLTB reports, as the country hosted nearly 345,000 overnight visitors, a two percent increase that follows a six percent arrivals increase in 2014.
Saint Lucia is also poised to add new hotel accommodations in 2016. The Papillon Hotel recently re-opened as an all-inclusive property following extensive renovations. Also scheduled to open this year is the 115-room, four-star Harbor Club on the Rodney Bay Marina and Royalton Luxury Resorts’ 361-room Royalton Saint Lucia near Cap Estate, said SLTB officials.
“This overdue hotel boom adds much-needed inventory to meet the demands of our key source markets” said Louis Lewis, Saint Lucia’s tourism director. “Tourism growth is a priority.”
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