“We don’t want to be a sea of sameness,” said Kelly Fontenelle-Clarke, director of marketing, USA, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, during a recent intimate gathering for press in Miami. “Saint Lucia hasn’t lost its authenticity; we make you feel like you are Saint Lucia.”
Fontenelle-Clarke noted that the country is much more than beachside delights, with an array of cultural offerings—from rum tasting to spectacular cuisine. To showcase the island’s local vibe, the tourism sector in 2020 is launching what it’s calling “village tourism,” which will be a way for tourists to immerse themselves in the local way of life.
The island is home to such gems as Pigeon Island National Park, where visitors are still able to see the remnants of a former lookout point and military base; the famed mud baths at Sulphur Springs at the world’s only drive-in volcano; cocoa plantations that are open to the public; and Maria Island, said to be the destination’s hidden gem for nature lovers with unique flora and fauna and rare species of wildlife.
American Airlines now has two flights daily out of Miami—at 8:45 a.m. and 11:12 a.m. A Fairmont property is being built; a fourth Sandals is set to open in 2020; and AMResorts is opening the doors of a wellness-focused Zoetry property, as well as a family-friendly Dreams property—part of a larger hotel project called Canelles Resort—later this year.
There’s also a redesigned airport coming in 18 months, which Fontenelle-Clarke is very excited about. “It will be,” she says, “the most modern airport in the Caribbean.” Its centerpiece will be the 337,000-sq.-ft. terminal building. And the south side of the island will also see the opening of a new cruise terminal, as well as a new horse racing track.
For more on Saint Lucia, visit stlucia.org. To become a Saint Lucia destination specialist, visit edu.recommend.com/courses/3/saint-lucia-expert-slex-program.