Dr. Ernest Hilaire was sworn on this week as Saint Lucia’s minister for tourism, funding, inventive industries, tradition and knowledge, abruptly launching a brand new period for the tourism-reliant Caribbean nation’s journey advertising and marketing strategy.
Hilaire’s appointment by new Saint Lucia prime minister Phillip J. Pierre, whose July 26 election ended the five-year, one-term tenure of Allen Chastanet, follows a half-decade marked by sturdy tourism progress later derailed by unprecedented pandemic challenges.
Hilaire replaces Dominic Fedee, whom Chastanet appointed tourism minister in June 2016. In a press release Monday, Hilaire stated his first actions will embrace “[convening] conferences with the Ministry of Tourism, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and personal sector organizations to achieve visibility on the present plans.”
Hilaire expects to achieve “significant perception [to] make sure the technique set forth for selling Saint Lucia is one which positions the vacation spot for full restoration and sustainable progress.”
Hilaire beforehand served as Saint Lucia’s excessive commissioner to the UK from 2012 to 2016. His background contains sports activities administration and worldwide relations expertise together with a earlier time period as chief govt of the West Indies Cricket Board, in response to the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority assertion.
Saint Lucia was among the many first Caribbean nations to re-open to guests following the pandemic-driven journey shutdown, welcoming vacationers in July 2020. Like many regional locations, the nation has operated below a complete protocol regime designed to renew tourism exercise whereas safeguarding public well being.
Caribbean media reviews characterised Chastanet’s loss as a shock to some observers. As a former tourism minister, he directed an aggressive advertising and marketing program that emphasised the nation’s pure magnificence and desirability as an journey, romance, well being and wellness and wedding ceremony vacation spot.
Hilaire is now tasked with rebuilding the nation’s tourism business in an encouraging however unpredictable post-outbreak atmosphere. Whereas vacationers have demonstrated a robust need to renew Caribbean holidays, locations proceed to keep up strict journey protocols that proceed to be topic to alter.
“Tourism is likely one of the predominant financial drivers of the Saint Lucian economic system which strengthens our provide chain, promotes financial growth and creates vital employment,” stated Hilaire. Authorities portfolios will “perform interconnectedly,” he stated, with the intention of “additional bolstering the tourism sector and putting folks on the middle of the sector.”
Saint Lucia hosted 432,736 land-based arrivals in 2019, a 7.Three p.c year-over-year enhance. The identical yr, cruise customer arrivals grew by 3.5 p.c to 786,743. The pandemic slashed these figures by 69 p.c and 62 p.c respectively in 2020, in response to Caribbean Tourism Group knowledge.