Port Castries Being Readied for a Major Transformation
Port Castries remains on a collision course with success following the Cruise Giant – Royal Caribbean International’s deal with the island’s Government some years ago that will see the transformation of the both the Castries Harbour and the city into one that could be considered among the leaders in the Southern Caribbean marine and cruise industry.
Royal Caribbean is said to have committed US$20-US$25 million to the cause that will, in partnership with the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) result in a major upgrade in the Castries infrastructure in the long term– creating a more attractive environment for visitors and residents alike.
This transformation exercise is approaching year five of its 15-year projected lifespan, with the initial commitment from Royal Caribbean taking place in 2011.
Yachting berths, a boutique hotel and more are included in the lavish upgrade plans.
The stretch of real estate between the vendor’s arcade and the old fire station building, all the way through to shed five, is where the most considerable work is planned to take place. This area is said to be nearing a transformation exercise that will result in a vendors’ craft market, a waterfront pedestrian zone, a new ferry terminal, restaurants and a car park.
The move is said to be one that will be funded almost entirely by private investment with little to no affect on Saint Lucia’s debt to GDP ratio.
The plan is one that Business Focus understands is being implemented in a “responsible manner” having received the endorsement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and several corporate entities.
Castries, despite its history and an impressive three and a half mile waterfront, does not play as considerable a role in Saint Lucia’s tourism product as is possible. It is expected that following the upgrades, even in its phases, this potential will be amply realized.
(Published Business Focus St. Lucia, May 2015)