The Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association (SLHTA) has described Government’s adjustments to the COVID-19 Prevention and Control regulations some from Friday, June 25, 2021 and others from Thursday 1 st July, as a positive move worthy of praise. On Thursday, June 24, 2021, the Office of the Prime Minister released a statement indicating the amendments to the protocols related to COVID-19.
According to the Office of the Prime Minister, these decisions taken by the Cabinet of Ministers followed consultations with the Command Centre and based on data which reflects the number of active COVID-19 cases in country. Further, Saint Lucians are being encouraged to get vaccinated and follow all protocols to further decrease the spread of COVID-19.
The SLHTA’s elation in response to these relaxed protocols is resounding as we believe that the food and beverage, transportation and events sectors and their respective linkage industries will be afforded some measure of breathing space in their operations.
In that regard, SLHTA Chief Executive Officer, Noorani Azeez, extends appreciation to the various technocrats and policymakers who were in dialogue with the SLHTA over the past few weeks regarding the continued relaxation of the COVID-19 protocols.
“The relaxing of the COVID-19 protocols facilitates greater trade within the private sector, drives employment, addresses domestic issues as families are still hurting, and allows the private sector an opportunity to do what it has done best over the past years, namely drive employment and grow the economy,” Azeez stated.
Azeez underscored the importance of sustained and cordial dialogue among key stakeholders, which, he said, was crucial to sound decision-making. He also pledged the
SLHTA’s commitment to remain a key partner in the development framework of the island’s tourism sector. Azeez also noted that all precautions will be taken by sector stakeholders to adhere to the health and safety protocols prescribed by the Chief Medical Officer.
SLHTA President, Paul Collymore, also expressed appreciation to those public sector officials involved in the continuous dialogue relating to Saint Lucia’s tourism sector over the past fifteen months of economic fallout brought on by the pandemic.
“The Executive Committee and general membership of the SLHTA are delighted at the news of these new relaxed protocols,” Collymore said. “We, therefore, thank the Chief Medical Officer, and the Permanent Secretary and Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism for their high level of engagement in facilitating private sector inclusion in the discussion on the relaxation of protocols.”
Meanwhile, the SLHTA also welcomes the news that Saint Lucia will safely reintroduce cruise tourism to Port Castries on Tuesday June 29, 2021, when Celebrity Millennium arrives at Pointe Seraphine. We applaud the Government of Saint Lucia on this latest development as we recognize the significant benefits that will undoubtedly redound to especially the duty-free retail sector which has virtually been shuttered since the pandemic began.
The tourism industry in Saint Lucia accounts for nearly 14,000 direct jobs, with thousands more benefitting from the sector indirectly. In 2019, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to employment (percentage of GDP) for Saint Lucia was 16%.