Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd have partnered to construct and operate a new cruise port in St Lucia.
The cruise giants have signed a memorandum of understanding with the St Lucian government to form a joint venture to manage the island’s existing cruise pier as well as to design, build and run a new cruise port.
Combined, the brands of Carnival and Royal currently account for 75% of all cruise ship deployment to St Lucia.
The new port is due to be located in Vieux Fort on the southern part of the island, with the facility able to accommodate “the latest and most innovative ships in the cruise industry”.
Michael Bayley, president and chief executive of Royal Caribbean International, said the cruise market in the region was anticipated to increase by 40% and Royal wanted to ensure St Lucia “directly benefits from that growth, while giving more guests the opportunity to visit this unique gem in the Caribbean”.
Giora Israel, Carnival’s senior vice-president of global port and destination development, added the joint venture would passengers “great experiences when visiting the island”.
“With the new development project, St Lucia will be very well-positioned for jobs and significant economic impact for years to come.”
St Lucian prime minister Allen Chastanet said the plans heralded “a major step towards enhancing St Lucia’s tourism product”.
“It is essential that we continue to diversify what we have to offer, grow our brand and ensure that different sectors in our island’s economy benefit from the growth in cruise tourism and that St Lucians can benefit from the opportunities which arise from the increased numbers – which means we have to improve our capacity.
“This signing is historic, as this project will have a major impact on the sustainability of the cruise sector and the reach of cruise tourism to the south of the island. This will also mean employment at several phases of the project, the expansion of existing businesses and the formation of new enterprises. We look forward to this partnership as this marks a new day and a significant achievement for our government, for the people of the south of Saint Lucia and for our island as a whole.”