Minister of Education Hon. Dr. Robert Lewis has joined hands with other government officials in Tourism and Agriculture in offering gratitude to the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) for its generous contribution to strengthening St. Lucia’s tourism and social development landscape.
On Wednesday, the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA), the managers of the TEF, revealed plans of funding four large projects totaling more than EC$650,000. The TEF, which has been in operation for a little over ten months, has successfully raised over EC$1.35 million and has committed to providing monies to the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, the Ministry of Social Transformation, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the St. Lucia Tourist Board.
These initiatives are expected to have a positive impact on the islands Tourism sector while more importantly, improving the lives of members of the public. “I want to thank the SLHTA on behalf of the people of Castries south. I recognize the importance of the fund in meeting the needs of our people – the biggest resource we have. Without our people, tourism cannot thrive,” Hon. Dr. Robert Lewis, Minister of Education, Human Development and Labor stated at a press conference on August 6.
Permanent Secretary of Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries, Dr. Donavon Williams reiterated the Hon. Lewis’s sentiments. Also cited were the far-reaching economic and other benefits of the US$192,000 injected in a bid to secure added air-lift to the island from the Canadian market. Canada is viewed as a country where Saint Lucia can center its growth strategies, and the SLHTA’s commitment of TEF funding will undoubtedly foster this anchorage and facilitate the boost the island is looking for.
The country is still considered an untapped market. “A direct contribution towards an initiative of this nature will foster long term rewards for St. Lucia as a tourist destination,” Dr. William said. Louis Lewis, Director of Tourism also weighed in on the contributions. He said while his office has a “challenging budget” to work with, he was confident that the smart marketing strategies currently being employed coupled with the support of the SLHTA and the TEF, Saint Lucia’s tourism product has something to look forward to. Over 80 percent of hotel stay-over visitors are contributing to the Tourism Enhancement Fund, which has contributed over EC$1million to local development.