Saint Lucia Brings The Caribbean Vibe To Toronto
Although Canadians typically flock to warm weather destinations in the winter, Saint Lucia is hoping to capture the market during the summer months as well. With a sizzling calendar of events ranging from carnival to restaurant weeks, not only is there a lot on offer, but Saint Lucia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, Ernest Hilaire, noted that increased Air Canada service means it’s also easier to get to the Caribbean island this summer.
“We know what your winter is like. You have to get away from Toronto in the winter but we’ll give you a few reasons to come in the summer too so you don’t have to wait until winter. Those of you who are festival goers, those of you who like community experiences, the summer is an ideal time to come to St. Lucia,” shared Hilaire, who is Toronto this week for a series of events and meetings with travel agents, trade partners, suppliers and media. “Air Canada is now offering three flights a week to Saint Lucia. They’ve moved from one flight a week to three flights a week in the summer.”
With the added lift, Hilaire said Canadian numbers are “getting closer and closer to our best year yet for arrivals from Canada, which was in 2019.” Notably, Saint Lucia saw a 32% increase in year-over-year arrivals for the first quarter of 2023, which represents a 93% recovery of 2019 numbers.
“As we go into winter, Saint Lucia is going to be hot as fire, because Saint Lucia will have daily service from Air Canada from December all throughout April,” added Lorine Charles-St. Jules, the CEO of the St. Lucia Tourism Authority, during the afternoon function at 1 Hotel Toronto yesterday. “Plus WestJet, WestJet is also offering three services so we have a chance to go to Saint Lucia [from Canada] on 10 non-stop flights this winter. Isn’t that great?”
In terms of accommodation news, the 76-room SoCo House is now open in Rodney Bay. Windjammer Landing, which is owned by a Canadian company, recently underwent a US$12 million renovation including an enhanced lobby and reception area, a revitalization to its luxury villas in The Manor Collection, which feature in-ground pools, and the expansion of its most luxe accommodations, the Ocean Point Residences; two and three-bedroom beachfront villas featuring multiple outdoor terraces, a private infinity pool, fully equipped kitchens, and more.
“We’ve also opened our first Zoetry hotel in Saint Lucia and it’s under construction but a Secrets will open as well,” Hilaire told PressToday. “We have a Marriott under construction and Sandals has expanded its ultra luxury suites.”
Meanwhile, Charles-St. Jules stressed that travel advisors should register their bookings in order to earn their spot as top producing agents to get the chance to attend the Global Piton Awards, which celebrates top producing advisors from around the world, including Canadian agents, and culminates with a special awards ceremony.
Even repeat visitors will find new experiences on island like the newly-launched Bamboo River Rafting excursion in Rousseau or a national bar crawl called the Kabawe Krawl (Kabawe means rum shop).
“Tourism is important to us. It creates livelihoods, it creates employment. It brings in revenue for the development of our country, so we take it seriously,” Hilaire shared.