St. Lucia took a big hit from Mother Nature last year when Hurricane Tomas swept through the island. Johnson Johnrose of the Carribean Tourism Organization spoke with Louis Lewis, Director of Tourism for St. Lucia about where the island is today in terms of tourism.
JOHNSON JOHNROSE: Last year at this time when we spoke, you were here on the heels of Tomas Hurricane. Where are you one year later?
LOUIS LEWIS: Well, I think we have recovered. The industry is back in operation at 100 percent. There are still a few signs that we had some adverse weather system, but I think the industry is working quite well. Our numbers have utterly climbed from some markets, the Canadian market in particular, the UK is quite positive. We have daily services from some of our airline partners, from British Airways, in particular, so that’s good. Virgin is doing quite well, and, you know, the tourism industry is humming along. Tourism is the biggest contributor to our GDP, so it’s the whole reason why we continue to insure that it’s humming, and that’s how we sustain our whole economic development.
JOHNROSE: So is there a sense then that as far as tourism is concerned and the markets are concerned, Tomas is behind you?
LEWIS: Oh yeah, definitely, Tomas is behind us, and I’d like to say that we’ve only had a hurricane one every 30 years, so the next one is not due until the next 29 years. I would not be in this job, but St. Lucia is safe.
JOHNROSE: And in terms of the product back home, is Tomas behind you, is the product in recovery now?
LEWIS: Yes, Tomas is definitely behind us, and we are moving ahead. St. Lucia is well known for the strong and diverse product offerings, and we are just moving along, growing in real terms.