Black Meetings and Tourism

March/April 2012

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ST. LUICA AREA GUIDES MEETING IN PARADISE BY SOLOMON J. HERBERT II St Lucia is a very attractive island with strong local traditions and welcoming people, so it is well worth exploring. There are some delightful beaches and villages down the west coast and some extremely dramatic greenery and scenery. For meeting planners, if you are looking for a unique destination to hold your next small tomediumsizedmeeting, St. Lucia offers a wide array of venues, whichwillsurely fulfill yourmeeting needs with elegance and style. With its white sand beach and stun- ning World Heritage-listed surroundings, the 114 room, Jalousie Plantation, Sugar Beach is an ideal setting to reward top corporate performers or to meet fellow executives for relaxing St Lucia events or a high-powered business gathering. The resort specializes in handling high-end corporate groups, large or small, who expect attentive service, world-class accommodation and cuisine, and a host of activities outside of the conference room to enrich their experience and give them an authentic taste of the real St Lucia. The resort's Great Room can seat up to 80 guests theatre-style, while larger dinners or cocktail events can be accom- modated right on the beach or at water's edge in the open-air Bayside Restaurant. There is also the Great House Terrace and the LateNightDeck in the shadowof the Petit Piton, in addition to the beautiful Sunset Deck with postcard views of Anse des Pitons. The Royal St Lucia holds pride of posi- tion right at the heart ofReduitBeach, the finest strip of sand in the north of St Lucia. It is a large and lively hotel, set in two and three story modern buildings topped with red roofs in traditional Caribbean style. There are 96 suites in all, which are extremely comfortable and nicely done, in fine Caribbean style, but equipped to international standard. The Royal St Lucia is an upbeat resort hotel with good facili- ties including watersports, a salon and a spa, and also conference rooms with a St. Lucia aerial shot meeting capacity of 150. The hotel is within a short walk of Rodney Bay Village (with all its night-time activity), so it makes an excellent choice for a smart but lively, beach-based event. St. Lucia is highly regarded as a romantic retreat and a honeymoon and wedding destination. Most of the hotels in St. Lucia provide special facilities for couples getting married on the island; some will also provide a private room or suite for the ceremony, if you prefer. They can usually handle any other require- ments, including bridal bouquet, photos or videos, music, the wedding cake, champagne toast for the bridge and groom, etc. There is a broad array of exciting and exotic activities available on St. Lucia. The island's steep coastlines and lovely reefs offer excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. The rainforest preserves of St. Lucia's mountainous i nterior are one of the Caribbean's finest locales for hiking and bird watching. The island also pos- sesses excellent facilities for golf, tennis, sailing, and a host of other leisure pur- suits. Not to be missed is St. Lucia's Soufriere volcano, the world's only drive- Photo Credit: Saint Lucia Tourist Board CVB in volcanic crater. St. Lucia's bustling capital is home to several of St. Lucia's historical sites, like the La Toc Battery, and beautiful architec- ture, including the uniquely decorated Cathedral and the Central Library. There is excellent shopping in the town market and Bagshaws, where the art of silkscreening can be observed. While in St. Lucia conference atten- dees can experience the Errard Plantation Tour. The drive to Errard, near the village of Dennery, crosses the interior of the island and borders the rain forest. The tour includes an introduction to the vari- ous fruit crops, a "cocoa dance," which polishes the beans, and a Creole lunch featuring local fruit juices.\ St. Lucia has two airports: Hewanorra International Airport at Vieux Fort and George F. L. Charles Airport near Castries. All visitors will need a valid US passport to enter and there is a $20 departure tax when leaving the island. WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Saint Lucia Tourist Board (758) 452-4094/5968 Black Meetings & Tourism March/April 2012: 73

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