Home field advantage… Nothing beats a Super Bowl, Olympic Game or in the case of the Caribbean - a World Cup Cricket Tournament - to hit a home run for economic development. St. Lucia is banking on its future with an ambitious tourism development program underway in both the public and private sectors to strengthen St. Lucia’s appeal to sophisticated global travelers, while protecting its unique tropical environment.
Many of these construction projects are being spurred by St. Lucia’s role as a host site in the Cricket World Cup 2007, the return of Air Jamaica’s services and the booming residential resort market.
Large-scale developments, such as the 554-acre Westin Le Paradis Golf & Beach Resort, are making a positive impact on the island’s economy. A master-planned resort, Le Paradis will encompass 300 Westin four-star condo-hotel units, 76 single-family villas, a Greg Norman signature golf course, a 100-slip private marina for yachts up to 150 ft, five star boutique hotel, a world-class spa, upscale boutique shopping and extensive conference facilities. Construction began in September with completion scheduled for early 2008. The project will offer significant employment opportunities for St. Lucians.
The St. Lucian government, for its part, has implemented a broad range of initiatives, including significant investment in the island’s road network over the last five years, as well as new water supply and other resource management projects. The government is also improving its cruise passenger facilities at the Castries Seaport and supporting new shopping and entertainment options in Port Castries.
An August report from the Division of Economic Affairs noted that total central government expenditure on construction activities increased 55.2 percent to $48.3 million in the first quarter of 2006 compared to the same period in 2005. In addition, wages rose almost 5 percent in the first quarter.
“This scenario is anticipated to impact positively on the St. Lucian economy as continued increases in tourist arrivals from the US is anticipated,” said the report. “Brisk activity within the construction sector by the private sector and the central government is expected to contribute positively to economic growth.”
“St. Lucia is committed to building its tourism sector and enhancing the island’s economy while protecting its splendid natural assets,” says Kierron Dolby, Managing Director of DCG Properties, which is building Westin’s Le Paradis Resort & Residences.
Nestled between Martinique and St. Vincent in the southern portion of the Caribbean chain, Saint Lucia is known for the spectacular twin Piton mountains, tropical rain forest, volcanic sand beaches and jagged cliffs. Arguably the most beautiful island in the Caribbean, St. Lucia was recommended by Oprah as one of the top five places to see in a lifetime.
Le Paradis’ limited number of residences include one, two and three-bedroom turnkey condominiums and three and four bedroom villas with unobstructed ocean views. Additionally there will be home sites around the Greg Norman course that sit 330 feet above sea level with views of fairways and the ocean. Residential offerings start from below $500,000 to $2.7 million, with incentives including Le Paradis’ golf initiation membership waived, golf dues waived for three years and a Troon Advantage VIP card. Phase One of the project is slated to open in early 2008.