No visa requirements for Australians and Russians among approved concessions’

SAINT LUCIA (November 10, 2011) – Saint Lucia’s reputation as a serious yachting destination has been further enhanced with government’s approval of several proposals aimed at facilitating easier clearing in and out of yachts and other pleasure craft traversing Saint Lucia waters.

The wide ranging proposals are outlined as part of a Cabinet Conclusion No 902 (f) that among other things, grants visiting yachtsmen 6-month hassle free stay in Saint Lucia.

Other changes as part of the new measures proposed by Yachting Director in the Ministry of Tourism Cuthbert Didier and sanctioned by government, includes 100% waiver on import duty and consumption tax on yachts imported into Saint Lucia for pleasure or commercial use; 100% waiver of income tax for the first five (5) years of operations for local charter companies; and 100% waiver on import duty and consumption tax on equipment for boat safety and watercraft activity until 2016.

Didier says the new incentives regime solidifies Saint Lucia’s position as a leading Caribbean yachting destination. The latest move on the part of government he says “opens the door for tremendous expansion in an already fascinatingly diverse yachting destination.”

Visa requirements for residents of Australia and Russia are now a thing of the past, under the recently approved regime programme.

“As these new incentives begin to take root they will no doubt help foster the growth of the yachting sector, which in turn will trickle down to other related business areas, thereby expanding economic activity on the island,” noted Director of Tourism Louis Lewis.

Also seen as crucial to the development of the yachting sector is the approval granted by Government as part of the new concessions, for the formation of a Yachting Committee under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation. The committee will incorporate all relevant institutions that function to regulate the yachting sector in Saint Lucia.

Didier says over the next few weeks his unit in collaboration with the Saint Lucia Tourist Board will organize and facilitate a series of media engagements aimed at further sensitizing Customs, Immigrations and other law enforcement agencies together with the general public, on the new approved yachting regulations and what it means to the sector, from owners to crew, charter guests and yacht businesses as well as residents of the island itself.

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia call 1-800 452-4094, or visit www.saintlucianow.com.

About Saint Lucia
One of the Windward Islands of the West Indies' Lesser Antilles, Saint Lucia (pronounced Saint LOO-sha) is nestled halfway down the Eastern Caribbean archipelago. The "Helen of the West Indies," Saint Lucia is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - a tropical rainforest and one of the world's few drive-in volcanoes. Culturally rich offerings include the bustling marketplace in the capital of Castries, quaint fishing villages along the coastline, and the annual Saint Lucia Jazz festival. Saint Lucia's wide range of accommodations includes world-class five-star resorts, all-inclusive resorts, intimate inns and value-oriented properties. Saint Lucia also is home to world class cruise and yachting facilities.