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Saint Lucia is setting a robust pace in the tourism sector, with a marked recovery and growth in visitor numbers. The island, known for its natural beauty and high-end resorts, recorded 90 percent of its 2019 stayover arrivals in 2023, a 7 percent increase from 2022. The trend continued into 2024, with each month surpassing the 2019 benchmarks, indicating a banner year for the destination.

Saint Lucia
Pitons in Saint Lucia. (Photo by Saint Lucia Tourism Authority)

A significant driver of this growth is the expansion in air service. Saint Lucia will see 40,000 additional air seats this summer compared to 2023. New and increased airlift services by JetBlue from New York and Boston and American Airlines from Miami are expected to smooth the way for this boom, making Saint Lucia more accessible to international travelers.

New Hotels & Cruise News in Saint Lucia

On the accommodation front, Saint Lucia is poised for significant expansion. By the end of 2025, the island anticipates the addition of 2,000 new hotel rooms, increasing the current total by over 20 percent. This expansion includes several high-profile developments such as a 96-room Destination by Hyatt property in Cas en Bas, the 334-room Secrets St. Lucia Resort & Spa in Choc Bay, and the Canelles Resort, which will offer 380 high-end apartments across 11 buildings on the southeast of the island. Additionally, the island is leaning into wellness tourism with TheLifeCo’s “wellness mecca,” which will add 523 wellness-inspired rooms and activities.

Local hospitality is also getting a boost with the Bay Gardens’ new property, Sapphire Sands Villas by Bay Gardens, set to open in the summer of 2025. This beachfront luxury resort will feature 24/7 butler service. Furthermore, Cabot, which opened its golf club in December, plans to launch its accommodation offerings by the end of next year.

Saint Lucia
Anson leading a hike to the yoga platform. (Photo by Ladera Resort)

Other properties are renewing and upgrading their offer. For example, Ladera Resort, a luxury boutique resort located between Saint Lucia’s Piton Mountains, has introduced new immersive experiences led by local staff. These activities aim to connect guests with the island’s natural and cultural heritage. Ladera, known for its unique three-wall design and open-air vistas, offers 37 rooms and suites with stunning views.

New experiences include nature hikes with Eustace, a long-time employee who shares stories of the Pitons. Anson, a fitness instructor, incorporates native herbs into wellness rituals. Guests can also visit the woodworking shop with Boniface, a master carver, and participate in garden tours and cooking sessions with Chef Nigel.

The Immersive Art Studio features local artisans demonstrating their crafts, while the Hideaway Rum Bar offers rum tastings that explore the island’s history with sugar production. These additions enhance Ladera’s offerings, providing guests with a deeper connection to Saint Lucia.

Saint Lucia’s cruise industry is also gearing up for growth. The island plans to expand the cruise port facilities in Castries to accommodate larger ships, allowing for the landing of an additional two to three large cruise ships daily. This expansion is expected to bring approximately 10,000-12,000 passengers into the capital, boosting the local economy through increased visitor spending and job creation. The port’s development will include new berths, a boardwalk, a fisherman’s village and a renovation of the Vendor’s Arcade.

Local Offerings and Initiatives

Saint Lucia
Castries Market. (Photo by Saint Lucia Tourism Authority)

Saint Lucia has launched several initiatives to enrich the visitor experience. The Shop Local program, introduced in October 2023, encourages tourists to explore independent shops and artisans, with over 30 businesses currently listed in the online directory. Additionally, an augmented reality app—the Story Map and Smart Tourism Project—will be available to help travelers understand the history and culture of Castries. This app offers audio and video tours via QR codes, providing detailed information about various landmarks and buildings.

Awards and Recognitions

Saint Lucia, a two-time winner of the Caribbean’s “Leading Adventure Tourism Destination Award,” is set to host Adventure Week from Nov. 9 to 16. This event celebrates the island’s diverse outdoor activities suitable for all skill levels. Special activities during this week include a half marathon and the Three Peak Challenge, among other options.

In addition to its adventure offerings, Saint Lucia was named the “Caribbean’s Best Corporate Retreat Destination” for 2023 at the 4th annual World MICE Awards in March. This accolade reaffirms the island’s reputation as a premier destination for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE).

For more information, visit stlucia.org and ladera.com.