Vice President of Air Jamaica marketing and sales Allen Chastanet says that a new spirit of cooperation with the St Lucia Tourist Board is beginning to pay dividends for the travel industry in St Lucia out of the New York market.
Speaking to reporters at the just concluded Caribbean Media Exchange in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Chastanet, who made a major presentation to journalists and industry officials from the region and international community, said that there now appeared to be a reversal in earlier declines in arrivals from the USA.
The former Tourist Board Director had earlier expressed concern over what he said was inadequate attention being paid by the St Lucia Tourist Board in promoting St Lucia in the USA from where Air Jamaica operates fourteen flights a week into St Lucia some via the Montego Bay hub.
But in an update on the state of the market, Chastanet said that his marketing team was finally able to meet with the Tourist Board and put a strategy in place which had begun to show significant results.
“We have had our issues in St Lucia, having been concerned about the New York market and we are happy that we were finally able to meet with the Board and put a strategy in place. The results have been a doubling in arrivals out of New York,” he said. He said that after the airline implemented its plan of action, the SLTB followed that up with a heavy campaign in the New York market using bill boards, radio and TV advertising.
“As long as we continue that trend the results should be good for both parties,” he said adding that the recent opening of the new Sandals Grande St Lucian Beach Resort and Spa was also responsible for the additional attention now being paid to St Lucia. The resort enjoyed full occupancy last week.
“I understand there may be some new announcements of new investments in St Lucia, clearly those are developments which will augur well for St Lucia and the island can look forward to some substantial growth in the months and years ahead,” the airline official said.
Chastanet said that the other neighbouring destinations to which Air Jamaica flies, Grenada, Antigua and Barbados were all doing well, along side Curacao, Bonaire and the Cayman Islands, with Air Jamaica commencing operations into Belize on November 21.
He said reports that acclaimed international golfer Jack Nicklaus was developing an 18 hole course in St Lucia was generating additional interest in the island and local authorities should be congratulated for securing such investments for St Lucia.