CASTRIES, St. Lucia – Out of every crisis there is opportunity, and the once antagonistic relationship between cruise lines and hotel operators is now a thing of the past, declared the executive vice president of Saint Lucia’s Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA).
Speaking to reporters at the Point Seraphine Cruise Complex in Castries yesterday, McHale Andrew who runs the local hotel and tourism association, thanked Captain Karin Stahre-Janson of Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas, the latest cruise line to donate urgent humanitarian supplies following the recent passage of Hurricane Tomas.
Andrew also thanked the Captain for pumping 220 tonnes of potable water to the nation yesterday, and for rising to the challenge of reversing the ship’s pumps to channel water onshore. “Your support has helped sustain our vital tourism industry – it keeps our doors open for business, our nationals employed, and will ensure a sustained economic recovery of the island,” said Andrew.
Captain Stahre-Janson of Sweden said her cruise guests on board the Serenade of the Seas enthusiastically responded to the call to assist Saint Lucian communities during a cocktail reception the previous evening. “Our hearts go out to our long term friends in Saint Lucia,” she said, reporting that more of her company’s ships will send supplies in the weeks ahead.
Later yesterday, both Senator Chastanet and McHale Andrew joined the Sandals Foundation to deliver urgent assistance to the people of Soufrière which was hardest hit by the hurricane.
Sandals volunteers delivered mattresses, food items, construction materials among other items to the community of Fond St. Jacques, some of whom are living in shelters following landslides in the town.
Senator Chastanet described the work of Sandals as “heroic,” and thanked the Caribbean hospitality group for supplying water to shore up the island’s essential services and for its ‘herculean” humanitarian gesture to the southern town.
The minister reported that thanks to the hard work of the Soufrière Heritage Foundation, the island’s world famous drive-in volcano and Sulphur Springs attraction will re-open to visitors by this weekend. “Through the grace of God, and the amazing dedication of our communities, Saint Lucia is coming back stronger and better,” he declared.
For further information, contact the nearest Saint Lucia Tourist Board office: Head Office: 1 758 452-4094; UK: 207 341-7002; USA: 1 800 456-3984 and Canada: 1 800 869-0377.