'Close to three dozen major tour operators visited'

SAINT LUCIA (April 10, 2012) – Saint Lucia Tourist Board's UK office celebrated Saint Lucia Month 2012 in March with a strong focus on training tour operator reservation staff. 32 major tour operators were visited and training conducted with their reservation staff and sales consultants. Saint Lucian hoteliers were part of the training blitz.

Saint Lucia Travel Challenge 2012 was launched during the month and 4 events of a total 14 were held. Saint Lucia Travel Challenge 2012 is a series of quiz events across the country offering agents the opportunity to learn about Saint Lucia and the island's hotel product. The evening ends with a detailed and interactive quiz. The winning team from each night is invited to Saint Lucia in November for the treasure hunt semi-final. The best 8 teams from the quiz and treasure hunt are then invited to present a marketing plan on how they would spend £5,000 to promote the destination.

During the final week of Saint Lucia Month, Lorne Theophilus, Minister of Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries, and members of the Board attended a series of meetings with key stakeholders including British Airways, Virgin Holidays, Caribtours and six luxury tour operators based in the north of England. "The overall feedback is that Saint Lucia is poised for growth. There is a lot of interest and the island is performing ahead of her competitors in the region thanks to strategic advertising and partnerships" says Nerdin St. Rose, VP Marketing and Sales.

Louis Lewis, Director of Tourism hosted a morning of down-the-line radio interviews with a variety of regional BBC radio stations promoting the wedding and honeymoon experiences available on island as well as the new, specially designed SLTB online Wedding Gift Converter. The Converter profiles the romantic experiences that can be bought on island for the same price as standard wedding gifts in the UK.

The delegation celebrated the culmination of Saint Lucia Month with the 19th Annual Gala Awards Dinner which was held on Thursday 29th March, to thank airline and tour operator partners, UK journalists and the Saint Lucian community who have supported the island in the past year. It was an all Saint Lucian affair - the compere was Brenda Emanus, BBC Arts Correspondent, the entertainment was by saxophonist Barbara Cadet and dancing music was provided by DJ's Active Force.

The Awards were presented by Lorne Theophilus, Minister of Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries; Matthew Beaubrun, Chairman Saint Lucia Tourist Board; Louis Lewis, Director of Tourism, Saint Lucia Tourist Board and Nerdin St. Rose, VP Marketing and Sales, Saint Lucia Tourist Board.

  • Best Saint Lucia travel writer – Arifa Akbar, The Independent
  • Best supporter of Saint Lucia in 2011 - Coctraie Publications
  • Luxury tour operator with the largest growth to Saint Lucia 2011 compared to 2010 – BA Holidays
  • Large tour operator with the largest growth in family holidays to Saint Lucia 2011 compared to 2010 – Kuoni
  • Best website featuring Saint Lucia 2011 – Kuoni
  • Best producing tour operator to Saint Lucia 2011 – Virgin Holidays
  • Large tour operator with the largest growth in Saint Lucia Weddings 2011 compared to 2010 – Virgin Holidays
  • Highest individual seller Saint Lucia 2011 - Gretchen Kibbler – Tropic Breeze
  • Tour operator with best representation of Saint Lucia in their brochure 2011 - Caribtours
  • Luxury tour operator with the largest growth to Saint Lucia 2011 compared to 2010 - Azure
  • Mid size tour operator with the largest growth in Saint Lucia Weddings 2011 compared to 2010 – Simply St Lucia
  • Specialist tour operator with the largest growth in FIT to Saint Lucia 2011 compared to 2010 - Travelbrands
  • Tour operator with the most productive joint marketing activity 2011 – Tropical Sky
  • Most supportive airline to Saint Lucia 2011 – British Airways