[Press Release] Saint Lucia’s Minister responsible for Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, Honourable Dominic Fedee made a special appeal to vendors of the Castries market Tuesday (May 22), during the opening session of a 5 day-workshop, aimed at boosting skills and techniques to improve visitor spending.
“I cannot overemphasise the importance of this workshop to you, as it is just the start of the many plans the government has for upgrading the Castries market, and ensuring that you are at the centre of the change we would like to see happen,” the Minister said.
Referring to dismal figures that demonstrate Saint Lucia receiving less than the average amount spent by tourists in at least six Caribbean destinations, Minister Fedee told the vendors that they are key players in helping tourists spend more on the island, if they simply changed their offerings at the Market, and made it a unique place with ‘a buzz’.
“Let us present the market as an experience, a destination, a place to taste and soak up the best of Saint Lucia.” Establishing the fact that trends continue to illustrate that tourists are increasingly in search of “experiences” when they travel, the Minister encouraged the vendors to look for new opportunities to showcase Saint Lucia’s food, culture and way of life. “You can generate more revenue by differentiating, by dreaming, by aspiring”, the Minister added.
Also speaking at the opening of the vendor training programme was Minister for Local Government and Culture, Senator the Honourable Fortuna Belrose. In her brief remarks, Hon Belrose told the vendors that they represent the “faces of Castries”.
“Revamping the city of Castries is a priority for the government”, she continued, “and your role is significant, because you are selling the city for us. You are not simply selling products and souvenirs, but you are helping us build a culture of resilience.” Thus, the Minister encouraged the vendors to take the training seriously and be ready to implement what they learn so that Saint Lucia can see more growth in the Industry.
Congratulating the vendors and echoing the sentiments of Minister Belrose was Honourable Guy Joseph, Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation, who once again, advocated his motto that “every Saint Lucian should be developed” when projects and plans are executed in the country. “This initiative is meant to build us, to make us grow and to make our lives better,” Minister Joseph told the vendors. Reminding the vendors that the world is continuously changing and that travelers have many countries to choose from, Minister Joseph said “we must upgrade Saint Lucia; we must step our game; we must not remain stagnant.”
The honourable Minister pledged his continuous support for plans to upgrade Castries and its surroundings, by touting another favourite proposition that the Saint Lucia government should invent “an authentic Saint Lucian avenue”, where all native/100 percent Saint Lucia products can be available to visitors.
Mayor of Castries, Mr Peterson Francis also addressed the vendors, urging them to ‘keep an open mind’ to the training exercise, noting that it was only the beginning of a process to enhance the market.
The vendor training programme was organised by the Department of Tourism, Information & Broadcasting, through the OECS Regional Tourism Competitiveness Project (ORTCP), as part of efforts to support the upgrade of the Castries market and surrounding areas. The workshop will focus on a) Tourism Product Development and Marketing, b)Environmental Health/Food Safety; c)Sanitation & Hygiene; d)Standards; e)Business Development; and f) Customer Relations.
The ORTCP is funded by the World Bank.