AS the coronavirus pandemic continues to batter the world, Saint Lucia included, it is refreshing to note that it has not stopped nor tarnished the one thing the island has going for it globally – its appeal as a top wedding destination.
The awards are there to prove that this dynamic nation, filled with influences from French, English, and African cultures, is an ideal destination wedding location for couples that like adventure and cultural exploration balanced by luxury and pampering.
From winning the prestigious title of World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination many times to establishing its name at the Travvy Awards, an event that has quickly earned a reputation as the Academy Awards of the travel industry, Saint Lucia is the tops in the world when it comes to romance destinations.
While it is clear that COVID-19 has stemmed the flow of pleasure seekers and couples itching to marry in Saint Lucia, it has not stopped us from letting the world know that our stunning beaches, our exotic cascading waterfalls and our beautiful mountaintops, Saint Lucia is still a wedding, honeymoon and romantic getaway which will fulfill a couple’s utmost desires.
This is why this measured approach to regaining our pre-COVID-19 strides adopted by the Ministry of Tourism and the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and all its partners is welcomed by us.
We may take the Government of Saint Lucia to task for tourism being our main or principal foreign income earner, with no other industry coming a close second; however, we have to acknowledge that tourism is the vehicle that could get us back on our feet if handled properly in these times.
Hence the reason why the authorities have to ensure that the strides made in getting the world to view Saint Lucia as a top wedding destination should not be eroded even with the pandemic.
All of us benefit if our country manages to hold on to its niche wedding marketing in these times. Aside from more Saint Lucians being employed directly as wedding coordinators at hotels or other leisure locations, pleasure companies and others that deal directly with the tourist industry all get a piece of the tourism cake.
Even the Attorney General’s Chambers benefits from Saint Lucia holding on to its niche as a leading wedding destination.
As noted by the Attorney General’s Chambers 2019 Annual Report, the marriage licenses it issues to couples wishing to marry in Saint Lucia generates revenue much needed by the government in these cash-strapped times. Two types of license are issued, a Normal License costing $335 and Special License priced at $540 (XCD).
A snapshot of visitors coming to Saint Lucia for the specific purpose of getting married in 2019 shows a high percentage of the licenses sought came from the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Canada.
The information as gleaned from the 2019 Annual Report of the Attorney General’s Chambers also revealed that Saint Lucia continues to attract visitors from across the globe as a wedding destination as applicants originated from within the Caribbean, Africa, South America, Western Asia, Europe, Pacific Ocean, etc.
All in all, Saint Lucia’s holding on to its position at the top of wedding destinations in the world should be maintained at all cost in these troubled times.
The income and multiplier effects this will have on Saint Lucians and the country on a whole cannot be and should not be underestimated.