TORONTO — Saint Lucia is reporting record-breaking visitor arrivals in 2021, up 52% from the same period in 2020.
The destination recorded a total of 199,347 stayover arrivals for the year, with the majority coming from the United States (152,248, or 76.4%). The U.S. market recorded the largest number of visitor arrivals in December 2021 (29,737), which is more than double the arrival figures from December 2020.
Following the U.S. were the U.K. at 16.4% of visitor arrivals last year, the Caribbean at 2.8%, and Canada at 2.5%.
Increased airlift from key markets and the resumption of flights from Canada and the U.K. are being credited for the robust arrival numbers. In Canada, Air Canada and WestJet resumed services by the end of 2021, with three weekly flights from Toronto and Sunday weekly service, respectively. Sunwing Airlines, meanwhile, returned to Saint Lucia in January 2022 with weekly Saturday flights.
Saint Lucia also welcomed the return of cruising in June 2021, and by Dec. 31 it had received 93,610 cruise visitors with 134 port calls.
Looking ahead, in July 2022 Carnival will make its highly anticipated return to the island. In addition, several new hotel developments will move towards completion as the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority continues to focus on niche markets like diving, weddings, honeymoons and family travel.
“In 2021, we responded to the uncertainty of the marketplace with clear and constant communications to our stakeholders, the travel trade and our markets around the globe. As reflected in the 2021 arrival numbers, Saint Lucia’s tourism industry is thriving,” said Dr. Ernest Hilaire, Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information.
“Our island has some of the most diverse experiences in the Caribbean and when paired with confidence in our safety protocols, these factors helped to drive business when restrictions in international markets were eased, and especially when the colder weather arrived in those regions,” he added.