CASTRIES, St Lucia – The disastrous 2017 hurricane season has had little effect in the Caribbean tourism industry with Island nations preparing to welcome greater numbers of tourists. A recently commissioned berth expansion project at Pointe Seraphine has given St Lucia the ability to welcome multiple quantum class vessels, with capacity of approximately 5,000 passengers per port call.

And Executive Chairperson of the St Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA), Agnes Francis expects it will help the island elevate its position in the regional cruise tourism arena.

She says the cruise sector has continued to show remarkable growth and the expanded berth will significantly increase that.

“The benefit of the extension is such that projection shows a possible 20 per cent increase in cruise calls to port Castries along with a 19 per cent increase in passenger arrivals. As a result of the 2017/2018 cruise season, St Lucia is poised to record its highest ever number of cruise passengers with a projected number of over 800 passengers,” she said.

“This berth marks the first major feat for St Lucia in being able to soon offer two world class facilities-one in the north and one in the south, which will attract international business and bring life to the government’s vision of making Saint Lucia the number one cruise destination in the region.”

Tourism officials say the expansion project along with other planned improvements for the city, are expected to significantly improve visitor experience as well as provide opportunities for employment and enterprising.