St. Lucia offers many adventure options, in additional to unique island culture experiences. // © 2015 Saint Lucia Tourist Board
Feature image (above): The iconic Pitons of St. Lucia // © 2015 Saint Lucia Tourist Board
Tourism in St. Lucia is showing no signs of slowing down. In January, more than 31,000 people traveled to St. Lucia, which indicates a 14 percent increase from the previous record set in 2005. The U.S., St. Lucia’s most significant source market, contributed the largest share of growth in January, with an increase of 32 percent.
In addition, airlift to St. Lucia has grown overall by 11 percent. While many factors are at play, the island-nation’s continued success can partially be attributed to advertising campaigns aimed at not only at North American travelers, but to travelers all over the world.
Part of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board’s ongoing advertising initiative is the “Saint Lucia Rocks This Summer” campaign, which offers visitors free nights at hotels or discounts of up to 55 percent. The campaign also includes discounts on a range of activities across the island, from ziplining in the rainforest to heritage tours. The tourism board is also offering special incentives for travel agents to earn free stays.
“We are aiming to focus on the unique and interesting things that you can do on St. Lucia and highlighting its exceptional culture,” said Louis Lewis, director of tourism for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. “Visitors can go out on excursions to waterfalls, hiking or mountain biking to get out into nature. St. Lucia also has the second-highest concentration of manatees in the world.”
While St. Lucia’s natural offerings are many, the island also offers a unique culture for guests to get to know. Local heritage is rooted in African and French influences, as well as the culture of aboriginal people on the island. In October, Creole culture in particular is celebrated with the Jounen Kweyol (Creole Day) Festival. The event honors the unofficial dialect of French and African spoken in the Caribbean, in addition to all things Creole.
Numerous festivals in St. Lucia also highlight the island’s blend of cultures, including flower festivals. The La Rose festival in August and the La Marguerite festival in October are rooted in the traditions of African residents, mimicking the European style of hierarchy.
Other notable festivals held on St. Lucia are the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival held April 30 to May 10, the Fisherman’s Feast held on June 29, St. Lucia Carnival held in July and the “Love Elevated” Saint Lucia Wedding Symposium held in late September. In addition, August has been deemed Chocolate Heritage Month with celebrations and events occurring throughout the island.