Castries, St. Lucia(TVLW) – Allen Chastanet, Minister of Tourism of St. Lucia affirmed integration in this sector is still a dream, during the last journey of the 16th Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) hosted by St. Lucia.
Unfortunately, it takes a crisis for our countries to come together, he answered Sunday to a question by Prensa Latina after his speech on the island’s tourism development plans, led by the St.
Lucian authorities and local investors who have put up one third of the projects valued in 30 million dollars.
Silvanius Fontenard, General Manager of the St. Lucia Hotel Association was another key speech that stressed the importance gained by tourism for this island with yearly revenues of the order of one billion dollars, compared to the previous number one income-earner, the production and export of bananas that earned 200 to 300 million a year.
At present, the fruit has failed to maintain previous levels of production, falling from 120 thousand to 30 thousand tons.
He also stressed that tourism is comprehensive in the human resources needed, from engineers to managers, to public relations and the media and more extensively, all the population, one of the main assets of the St. Lucian tourism product.
According to Chastanet, the biggest challenge for the industry development plans is the lack of qualified human resources. Another problem is that of the regional airline LIAT and the need for it to meet present needs while being profitable. Air Jamaica, on the other hand has expanded its coverage and links with the main cities in the United States, Canada and Europe.
The third and last journey of CMEx was spent discussing the youth’s point of view of tourism development, the need to structure region wide mechanisms of disaster recovery preparedness and how to organize future CMEx meetings that started back in 2001 under the sponsorship of international aid organization Counterpart International, the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the Caribbean Hotel Association.
The role before the media to make of the Caribbean the number one destination for North American and European tourists, was also stressed at the meeting where participants from Antigua, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana took part as well as journalists from the Caribbean diaspora in the United States.