MIAMI, USA — Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises yesterday announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of Saint Lucia to form a joint venture to manage the existing cruise pier and terminal facilities in Saint Lucia, and to design, construct and operate a new cruise port on the island.
The MOU was signed during a ceremony on October 21 at the annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Cruise Conference & Trade Show in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
As part of the MOU, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean and the government of Saint Lucia will establish a long-term concession agreement to formalize the terms and responsibilities for the joint venture to manage and operate the current cruise pier and terminal facilities at the Port of Castries. Additionally, the joint venture will design, finance, construct and operate a new cruise port in Vieux Fort on the southern part of the island that will be able to accommodate the latest and most innovative ships in the cruise industry.
Prime minister of Saint Lucia Allen Chastanet called the signing of the MOU “historic” and “a major step towards enhancing Saint Lucia’s tourism product.”
“Saint Lucia has had record-breaking cruise arrivals over the past few years and we thank our partners Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean for their continued confidence in our amazing destination,” said prime minister Chastanet. “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 Saint 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.”
“This is an exciting day for our guests who already love the beauty and deep culture of Saint Lucia and an important step in sustaining cruise tourism growth for the island,” said Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation. “We look forward to working closely with our JV partners to give cruise passengers great experiences when visiting the island. With the new development project, Saint Lucia will be very well-positioned for jobs and significant economic impact for years to come.”
“The cruise market is the fastest-growing sector of tourism and in the next decade cruising in the Caribbean region is anticipated to increase by 40 percent,” said Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Royal Caribbean. “We are excited to partner with the government of Saint Lucia to ensure that the destination directly benefits from that growth, while giving more guests to visit this unique gem in the Caribbean.”
Together, the cruise line brands of Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. currently account for 75 percent of all cruise ship deployment to Saint Lucia. Under the new agreement, the joint venture would optimize the experience for guests visiting Saint Lucia while developing additional cruise infrastructure to support the industry’s latest ships and promote the growth of cruise tourism on the island.