November heralded a strong and early start to the winter tourism season for St. Lucia. Following several months of strong international tourism arrivals, Saint Lucia saw the return of American Airlines Dallas Flights, Increase cruise Ship Arrivals and The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) Kick Off.
The Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire stated “International visitors will arrive by air and sea this winter, bolstering our local economy and providing opportunities for Saint Lucians to share our culture with tourists from all over the world. With a return flight from Dallas, Texas this weekend, a grand cruise ship arrival and the kick-off of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, Saint Lucia is poised for tourism success, and we thank all our tourism partners working diligently to showcase our cultural experiences, local cuisine and renowned activities to visitors.”
American Airlines Dallas Flight Returns For Winter Tourism Season
On November 20, 2021, American Airlines flight 1083 from Dallas, Texas (DFW) arrived at Hewanorra International Airport (UVF). The return of this service signaled the addition of an important gateway for the upcoming season. Originating from the 4th busiest airport in the U.S., the DFW-UVF nonstop creates a greater ease of connectivity to the west and midwest regions.
Richard Moss, Senior Sales Manager, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority stated “the solid performance of this service introduced last summer, evidenced by consistently strong load factors, speaks to the proven demand for Saint Lucia and sustainability of this route. The return of this service has resulted in more airlift to our destination than ever before. It’s truly an exciting time for us.”
Inaugural Cruise Ship Call
Continuing the return of cruise ship arrivals, Mein Schiff 1 of the Tui Cruise line sailed into Castries on November 22, 2021 for its inaugural arrival this season. The ship hosted 1,440 passengers, and hundreds disembarked the ship to explore local Saint Lucia offerings such as shopping excursions and tours. All passengers were subject to safety protocols such as negative Covid-19 testing prior to arrival and social distancing.
On hand was the Minister of Tourism Hon. Dr. Ernest Hilarie, along with officials from the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Ministry of Tourism, Invest Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority and the Agents Platinum Port Agency St. Lucia LTD. The group welcomed the ship with a celebratory ceremony and a commemorative plaque was presented to Captain Omar Caruana.
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers Kicks-Off
The countdown has begun for the arrival of the 36th annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), which set sail from Grand Canaria, Spain on November 22, 2021. Some 147 yachts with more than 900 crew on board will embark on a 2,700 nautical mile transatlantic voyage to Saint Lucia.
According to the World Cruising Club, the world’s leading sailing rally specialist and organizer of the rally, the ARC is a ‘must do’ for many sailors, and attracts over 200 boats and 1200 people every year to sail 2700 NM across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia. The ARC is for everyone – families with children, tough racers, cruising couples, big boats and modest boats.
Vessels from 29 nations are expected to arrive in Saint Lucia beginning December 9, all following Covid-19 protocols including negative PCR testing before arrival.
This celebrated sporting event is a major economic contributor to the local economy and many of the tourism businesses that have been affected by the pandemic will benefit from the arrival of the yachts. Adding even more local excitement to ARC, Mr. Brad Gangardine, a Moorings Skipper from Soufriere, is assisting the owners of Discovery 50 Into the Mystic (USA) to sail their boat to Saint Lucia. Mr. Gangardine met the group on a charter holiday several years ago and is now working with their team.