As we enter a new decade it is vital that investment decisions and rationale evolve as markets evolve. With over US$ 1.5 billion in foreign direct investment committed to St Lucia over the next two years, this unique island nation deserves your attention. So, what makes this Eastern Caribbean sovereign country really stand out?
Ranked as the second freest economy in the Caribbean, based on the Economic Freedom Index 2017, it boasts a strategic geographic location, a stable economic, business and political climate, modern infrastructure, a solid history of attracting and cultivating great investments, an industrious, well-educated workforce and a rich biodiversity. It also offers comparative advantages regarding regulation, starting a business, market access, incentives, transportation, infrastructure and quality of life, making St Lucia the place to invest in in 2020 and beyond.
The positive momentum experienced in 2019, including record tourism arrivals, continued national economic growth, further reductions in unemployment and numerous initiatives that have benefited the island nation and those that invest there, are all set to continue this year. Furthermore, St Lucia has been recognised in several investment-related awards including winning the Best Caribbean Island to Invest In, European Business Magazine 2018 and the Best Investment Award for Latin America & the Caribbean, AIM Awards 2018.
Invest Saint Lucia (ISL), the prime agency that offers guidance and direction to new and established investors who are interested in pursuing investment opportunities in St Lucia, have recently adopted “the Royal Standard” of investment promotion and facilitation, endorsing the island’s natural and physical attributes, alongside its economic advantages, facilitating both national and foreign clients. Additionally, the St Lucia Business Incubator & Accelerator Program, established by ISL, offers invaluable support to assist entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.
Current investment opportunities cover a range of sectors, promising that 2020 is going to be an exciting year in St Lucia. These include Fond d’Or which is ideal for development in eco-tourism, touted at US$ 150 million – US$ 200 million to Anse Canot suitable for call centre and related BPO/KPO operations, with an investment range of US$ 1 million – US$ 1.5 million. In other industries, a record 760,306 cruise passengers visited St Lucia in 2018, owing to the expansion of Berth No. 1 at Pointe Seraphine, and 2019 is projected to be an even greater year for the maritime industry. For example, for the month of March last year, there was an estimated 145,000 tourist arrivals from cruises, with twelve cruise ships calling at the island on the first three days of the month, highlighting the enormous scope and opportunity within the tourism and maritime sectors.
Upgrading and building new roads and the sprucing up of the capital city of Castries are more improvements set for 2020, further enhancing St Lucia’s attractiveness for business and commerce. Moreover, the expansion of Hewanorra International Airport, which will accommodate 1 million visitors per year (the current setup is designed for 300,000) is set to complete in 2021, and will further enrich the location’s accessibility and attractiveness.
St. Lucia offers much more than just sun, sea and sand, and ISL is on hand to answer all investment queries.