(RODNEY BAY, ST. LUCIA) — In a tough year for tourism and property around the globe, property developers on the island of St. Lucia are encouraged by reports of a significant growth in tourism in 2010 and a doubling of online searches for second homes in the Caribbean, reported by Rightmove, the online property search company.
The Landings, a luxury marina development, reports buyers are favoring more established destinations like St. Lucia, at a time of economic uncertainty.
St. Lucia Tourist Board (STLB) also reports a significant increase in arrivals throughout the first half of 2010 bolstered by a 43 percent increase from the United States over the same period last year. This was matched by a doubling of interest in Caribbean property at several points over the year, outpacing many destinations in Western Europe, according to Rightmove. Figures show that in May 2010 the volume of searches was 177 percent higher for Caribbean property than in May 2009.
“Buyers are reassured that St. Lucia is a stable economy, is easily accessible with direct flights from the United Kingdom, and the island has not suffered from an oversupply of property, like other countries, that de-stabilizes the market,” says Ollie Gobat, sales director of The Landings. “Sts Lucia will always be popular because of the exceptional lifestyle on offer and the fact that it’s a safe place to invest in property.” The increase in arrivals is partly due to an improvement in airlift to the island from the UK and U.S., which according to official statistics has increased from 9,000 airline seats last year to 24,000 seats for 2010. British Airways increased their direct flights from Gatwick (England) to Sts Lucia from three to five times per week at the end of 2009 and there is a new service from New York with Jet Blue.
Another surprising reason for the increase is the airing of the popular reality TV show, The Bachelor, which was filmed in St. Lucia. “Before the airing of the reality television shows the average number of hits for the SLTB website was 5,000 daily, but that figure has risen to 68,000,” says St. Lucia minister of tourism Allen Chastanet. St Lucia, which is part of the Windward Islands chain in the West Indies, is characterized by a lush, tropical and naturally scenic landscape that remains unspoiled. Visitors to St Lucia consistently remark on the friendliness of the locals who genuinely welcome visitors and delight in telling them proudly about their island. The Landings is now in its third phase of construction. It has one of the best locations on the island of St. Lucia with panoramic views across the calm and picturesque Rodney Bay. Orientated towards the west, the apartments all have spacious balconies, some with Jacuzzi hot tubs, which are the perfect place to appreciate the stunning sunsets and views across the bay where numerous yachts are often moored. The ocean view is framed by Pigeon Island to the north, a national park where the English fought-off the French fourteen times, and the rolling green hills of St Lucia to the south. On a clear day Martinique can also be seen to the north.
Another unique aspect is that it is the only freehold beachfront property available on the island. All other beachfront property is leased from the government whereas The Landings is built on reclaimed land, so is not subject to the same lease conditions and can therefore be sold as freehold. The development is a five-minute drive from Rodney Bay’s shops, bars and restaurants and minutes from a championship golf course, where owners have free membership. This ensures owners to not feel too cut off, which is a common criticism of other properties in the south of the island. The development is designed to the highest of world class resort standards in every way possible from the quality of the fixtures and fittings, to the leisure and personal services provided, including a state of the art gym, 7,000 square-foot spa, 24-hour concierge, beach bar and fine dining restaurant, shops, pools, tennis courts and more. Prices range from $550,000 to $2,400,000 million.