Announced by Prime Minister Chastanet at FCCA opener
The cruise operators signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of St. Lucia that was announced by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet at the opening of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s annual conference in Puerto Rico Monday night.
Chastanet described the agreement as a ‘major step towards enhancing St. Lucia’s tourism product.'
As part of the MOU, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and the St. Lucia government will establish a long-term concession for the joint venture to manage and operate the current cruise pier and terminal facilities at Castries. Additionally, the JV will design, finance, construct and operate a new cruise port in Vieux Fort on the southern part of the island that will be able to handle the latest and most innovative cruise ships.
‘St. Lucia has had record-breaking cruise arrivals over the past few years and we thank our partners Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean for their continued confidence in our amazing destination,’ Chastanet said. He added that St. Lucia must ‘continue to diversify what we have to offer, grow our brand and ensure that different sectors in our island’s economy benefit from the growth in cruise tourism and that Saint Lucians can benefit from the opportunities which arise from the increased numbers; which means we have to improve our capacity.’
Sustainability and jobs
Chastenet said the deal is historic because it ensures the sustainability of the cruise sector and the reach of cruise tourism to the south of the island. It also will provide jobs at several phases of the project and enable businesses to expand and new ones to be created.
‘We look forward to working closely with our JV partners to give cruise passengers great experiences when visiting the island,’ said Giora Israel, SVP global port and destination development for Carnival Corp. ‘With the new development project, St. Lucia will be very well-positioned for jobs and significant economic impact for years to come.’
‘The cruise market is the fastest growing sector of tourism and in the next decade cruising in the Caribbean region is anticipated to increase by 40%,’ said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. ‘We are excited to partner with the government of St. Lucia to ensure that the destination directly benefits from that growth, while giving more guests the opportunity to visit this unique gem in the Caribbean.’
Together, the brands of Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. currently account for 75% of all cruise deployment to the island.