St. Lucia reached an all-time high for stopover arrivals in 2013 preliminary totals indicate, the St. Lucia Tourist Board said Monday.
The island received more than 315,000 visitors in 2013, up from 312,404 in 2012, which was also an all-time record.
“The largest growth was seen from the U.S., a leading source market for the island, with an 11 percent increase over the previous year,” said Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus.
Factors that played a role in the visitor increase included increased air access and hotels’ marketing initiatives.
“Several factors played an integral part in the success we’ve had this year, each as necessary as the other, from increased airlift accessibility and strategic marketing initiatives to the enhancements made by our hotel partners,” said Theophilus. “We look forward to starting 2014 on a high note and striving to make this year more productive than last.”
The tourist board said it expected hoteliers and tourism agencies on the island to spend approximately $230 million on upgrades and refurbishments in 2014, drawing new brands like Sixth Sense and Capella Resorts.
“The St. Lucia Tourist Board will continue to promote several islandwide initiatives this year, such as the rebranded St. Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival, the St. Lucia Health and Wellness Retreat, Chocolate Heritage Month and the second-annual ‘Love Elevated’ Wedding Symposium, which will cover the the island’s romantic hotspots and top wedding locations,” Theophilus said.