LEVE Global Develops Responsible Tourism Strategy For St. Lucia’s South East Coast
January 19th, 2023
The global tourism and technology consultancy firm Lévé Global (formerly Tourism Intelligence International) – with headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago & Tobago – is working with the St. Lucia’s Ministry of Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture, and Information to chart a new course for that island’s travel and tourism industry.
On March 08, 2022, Lévé Global was contracted to develop the Responsible Tourism Strategy for Saint Lucia’s largely unexploited and rugged South East Coast. This strategy will revitalise, transform the east coast communities, and place greater emphasis on the development of a stronger and sustainable, more responsible, more digital, and more inclusive tourism growth.
The North West Coast of St. Lucia – from Gros Islet to Soufriere is – and has always been the island’s tourism mecca with the renowned Soufriere volcano, majestic Pitons, and is the hub for the world-famous St. Lucia Jazz festival. But the ‘Wild’ East coast offers a different, raw, out-of-this-world, and just as amazing immersive tourism experience.
The Honourable Dr. Ernest Hilaire, St. Lucia’s Minister of Tourism, mandated Lévé Global to develop a tourism strategy that is inclusive and meaningful and, most importantly, involving the communities and the needs of local people along the East Coast.
According to Minister Ernest Hilaire “St. Lucia is proud to be tabling in Parliament one of the most forward-looking Tourism Development Acts that provides the framework, seeks to empower as many sectors as possible and allows as many persons as possible to benefit from the tourism industry. Minister Hilaire went on to add that “we believe that this strategy will enhance the Ministry’s position as the strategic leader in driving St. Lucia towards experience-based and sustainable tourism.”
Both the government and local communities in Saint Lucia want a development where “the benefits generated from tourism are as widely distributed as possible throughout the nation and among local communities” (clearly articulated within the Saint Lucia National Tourism Policy 2003).
Dr. Auliana Poon, Managing Director/Chief Strategist of Leve Global, emphasises that “the needs, wants and desires of host communities and governments must be in perfect alignment with the desires of the Covid-19 pandemic “New Travellers” – demanding a protected environment and authentic culture, with resilience, sustainability, and regeneration at its core. Today’s knowledgeable, environmentally conscious, and digitally aware travellers are truly transforming the face of travel and tourism.”
The Responsible Tourism Strategy for St. Lucia’s South East Coast addresses the desires of international visitors to be more integrally involved in community-based activities, actively contributing to the development of a clean planet and being part of efforts to stem the tide of global warming. Dr. Poon passionately pointed out that “the tourism strategy for the South East Coast firmly positions the host communities “to optimise the yearnings of today’s travellers to get off the beaten track. Our guests want to be transformed by the travel experience; to become more educated; more moved; and inspired. They are keen to buy-in, to contribute and become part of a wholesome, responsible travel experience.”
Using the strategy of “DARING TO BE DIFFERENT,” the existing resources of the communities (forests, waterfalls, rivers, beaches, protected areas, mangroves, mountains, historical sites, reefs, and such) were analysed and axial assets were developed. For the community of Micoud the axial asset identified is eco-adventure. The axial asset for Vieux Fort is eco-education/eco-engineering and for the village of Laborie the axial asset is eco-heritage.
Lévé Global identified responsible tourism opportunities in which the South East Coast clearly had the advantage as their tourism assets were different, and, in some instances better, than the North West of the island, such as an authentic village vibe. The pristine nature of the South East coast offers excellent opportunities for eco-educational tourism such as mangrove swamps; sea moss farming; organic farming; and deep mind and body wellness experiences.
This radically different and innovative tourism strategy is being rolled out amidst visitor arrivals in Saint Lucia of almost 300,000 visitors as of October 2022, with the majority (60%) being from the USA and another 25% from Europe. Like most other Caribbean islands, tourism is Saint Lucia’s #1 foreign exchange earner, contributing to 48.6% of the country’s GDP and creating an estimated 53,000 jobs (direct and indirect impact of tourism), according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, 2022.
Amid global economic and political uncertainty, travellers’ desire for going off the grind experiences, rising energy and food prices, and urgent concerns about climate change, Lévé Global is working with the St. Lucia’s Ministry of Tourism to develop a tourism growth strategy grounded in the breadth and diversity of communities as well as in environment conservation and sustainability.
That is the new tourism ball game.
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ABOUT LEVE GLOBAL
Leve-Global (formerly Tourism Intelligence International), founded by Dr. Auliana Poon, comprises the under-mentioned brands: –
- Leve Analytics
- Leve-The Event
- Leve Academy
- Villa Being Tobago, and
- Exceptional Caribbean – the Platform for exceptional talent