January and February preliminary figures point to significant increases.

SAINT LUCIA (April 3, 2012) – Saint Lucia's vital tourism product is benefiting from double digit increases in stay over arrivals in several key markets based on early figure indicators.

For the months of January and February 2012, the island recorded a twenty percent increase in stay over arrivals which totaled 63,868. In the largest source market, the United States, arrivals to Saint Lucia grew by 13% over the same period last year, recording a total of 22,636.

Arrivals from the island's second largest market, the United Kingdom, totaled 16,549; 4513 more visitors than the same period in 2011 (a 38% increase). The Canadian market also recorded an increase in visitor arrivals from 10,611 to 13,853 in 2012, which resulted in a 31% increase.

Commenting on the increases, Tourism Director Louis Lewis says they were the results of well thought out and targeted market intervention strategies designed to boost Saint Lucia's visibility in major source markets. These increases he says, "come in spite of the many challenges faced in the tourism industry, and underscores the fact that as a destination we are holding our own as we continue to promote Saint Lucia as a preferred destination of choice amidst the global competition."

The Caribbean market captured the fourth largest (8%) share of the stay over arrivals between January and February 2012, with a total of 5,308 visitors. This represented a 6% increase over the same period last year.

The German market recorded 1,022 stay over arrivals, 120 more arrivals than the same period last year. France however, experienced a decline in tourist arrivals from 2,040 in 2011 to 1,487 in 2012 owing largely to the absence of the direct service from France which was available this time last year.

Cruise calls increased from 99 by the end of February 2011 to 117 for the same period in 2012, which was reflective in an 11% increase in arrivals over the same period.

Arrivals at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina however, totaled 5,736; 202 visitors less than in 2011, representing a 3% decline in arrivals despite the similar number of calls for the same period. Arrivals by yacht at Marigot Bay for this time period also experienced a decline, (19%) which can be attributed to the 21% decrease in yacht calls; from 268 in 2011 to 199 in 2012.