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Stiff market competition is pushing destinations into creative ways of branding and marketing and because of it, St Lucia’s Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee has a vision for that island to offer more to visitors than just sun, sea and sand.
As such, he has announced a new statutory body that will better leverage community and village assets.
In fact, he says 2017 will be a revolutionary year for the island’s main industry as his office spurs more local participation in the tourism product.
“[This will] get our small hotels and apartments, get St Lucians to turn their extra accommodations into tourism type accommodations. In addition, a lot of our cultural and archaeological assets will better refine, develop, and promote [communities] as valuable tourism assets, so that St Lucia becomes a destination of more soul,” Fedee said.
The minister said while the effort will take an entire shift in the country’s perception of tourism, the only way to remain competitive in the sector is to for St Lucians see themselves as part of the product.
“It’s very important that we mobilize the entire community and send a very strong statement to our people that there is a place and there is a role in this industry for them,” he said.
“I think that one of the weaknesses of the industry has been the tremendous leakage that would ultimately come about because of its mere structure. It’s dominated by foreign investments and that’s one of the weaknesses of the industry. So we’ve got to solidify it now and utilize all of the options for revenue generation and economic development in our country so that when we talk about tourism we don’t just look at a broad figure where we say that tourism contributes to economic growth, but rather economic development.”