The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority has revealed the country could not “meet proposals” from Virgin Atlantic, leading to the airline pulling out of the destination from next June.
Virgin confirmed this morning (26 July) it would be ceasing St Lucia flights from 8 June after a network review.
A spokesperson for the St Lucia tourist board said: “St Lucia has seen a marked increase in visitor arrivals from the UK of 17.6% year to date.
“Unfortunately, our country could not meet the proposals from Virgin Atlantic which has led to the decision to withdraw its UK service with effect from 8 June, 2020.”
Approached by TTG for comment, Virgin Atlantic said: “We’re ceasing [the] operations due to a variety of economic factors.
“We would never disclose details of private conversations with any partners.”
The tourist board spokesperson added: “We want to thank Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays for their commitment and support over the past 21 years.
“The St Lucian government has ambitious plans for driving tourism success forward.”
The spokesperson went on to highlight that work was under way on a “state-of-the-art” international airport terminal and that it has increased its investments in upgrading road infrastructure – with $100 million allocated to improve access to tourism areas and $19 million on water supply sustainability for tourists and residents.
“This is alongside exciting developments for our Village Tourism programme which will benefit both St Lucians and visitors,” the spokesperson said.
“Our arrivals figures are growing steadily and this year we are on track to beat our record year in 2018.
“We look forward to continuing working with our trade partners now and in the future to welcome more visitors from around the world to St Lucia.
“There is still significant air access with nine direct flights per week from the UK to Saint Lucia, with a daily flight from British Airways, and weekly from Tui and Thomas Cook.”