The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority has unveiled dates for travel agency ‘dine and learn’ events in the UK – along with increased January visitor numbers.

The Caribbean island saw arrivals from the UK rise by 11.2% year-on-year to more than 7,300 in January. Overall numbers of staying visitors were up 5.5%.

The continued growth is attributed to the destination’s wide range of accommodation, which suits different budgets.

It is particularly popular with honeymooners and also appeals to cruise visitors, said the SLTA.

Further growth is expected with the $175 million redevelopment of the island’s international airport, which has just begun.

The 30-month project will improve airside and airfield operations, and create a new air traffic control tower and new roads.

Prime minister Allen Chastanet said: “This is a welcome development and great news for the island’s tourism industry.”

Travel agents who sell Saint Lucia holidays can find out more about the island at one of six SLTA Dine and Learn events this spring.

The tourism board will be joined by hotel partners such as The Landings, Calabash Cove, Coco Palm, Sunswept (Bodyholiday and Rendezvous) and Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort.

The evening events will include a meal and training about the destination and hotels.

The venues will be: Hotel Du Vin, Birmingham (March 26); Hotel Mercure, Milton Keynes (March 27); Malmaison, Oxford (March 28); The Spa Hotel, Tunbridge Wells (April 23); Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne (April 24); and Chichester Harbour Hotel, Chichester (April 25).

To find out more, agents can contact trade manager Nicole Compton at ncompton@stluciauk.org or 020 7341 7000.

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