The world economy runs on the back of marketing. Whether it is a service, product, or location, nothing that is for sale will garner attention without the help of marketing. The Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia is one of the most beautiful locales on the planet, but all that beauty is useless if no one knows about all the treasures the island has to offer. Marketing the tourism industry and natural beauty of St. Lucia to the rest of the world is the job of Ian Herman.
Ian Herman is a Marketing Manager working for the government of St.Lucia. His specific duties included specialized marketing for target sectors of the tourism industry in St. Lucia. Among the most important of ferings in St. Lucia, many of which the average tourist may not be aware of, are diving, surfing, cruise destinations, and romantic getaways.
Because of its location in the tropical Caribbean Sea, St. Lucia is among the most popular destinations in the world for honeymooners, especially for couples from the United States. The island has so much more to offer than just beautiful scenery though. Herman’s marketing efforts focus in large part on spreading the word about St. Lucia ’s first class athletic and sport facilities.
The island, with a rich historical connection to the United Kingdom, is home to many popular European sports. While popular sports from the geogr aphically closer United States, such as baseball and basketball, may not find a home on the island; visitors will find some of the best facilities in the Caribbean for many popular European games.
During an interview with Kreol Magazine, Herman discussed at length the attractions available on St. Lucia for tourists looking to throw some physical activity into the mix on a relaxing vacation.
“St. Lucia has hosted some of the international games but mostly cricket, football, volleyball and netball so the facilities are so built to cater for the British type of sports… we do have the best facilities in the Caribbean for hosting cricket games and indoor stadiums as well as very impressive international tennis courts. So the emphasis is to bring to people’s attention, regionally and internationally that St. Lucia is not only well known for honeymoons and weddings, but also extend itself to some of those niche markets that will also give a memorable experience.”
The investment in world-class sporting facilities has increased in recent years in St.Lucia, and its Herman’s job to shine the light on that for the world to see. In recent years volleyball and cricket facilities have received a great boost from increased attention and popularity. One of St. Lucia ’s many beaches was recently converted to a volleyball park of fering some of the best beach volleyball in the region.
National teams from across the Caribbean, the Americas, and Canada came to St. Lucia as a result to participate in friendly games, as well as the qualifying rounds of the World Volleyball Championship. But volleyball is not carrying the athletic tourism torch alone. Cricket, a massively popular sport across Europe and other regions of the world, has found a nice home in St. Lucia.
Herman credits local players like Darren Sammy and Johnson Charles, former West Indies cricket team members, to increase the visibility and popularity of cricket on the island. In addition to being big name players, the pair have created a school that teaches cricket to younger generations and gets involved in the community. A new cricket stadium in St.Lucia, that meets international standards, is also helping enhance St.Lucia on the international sporting stage.
Investment in and marketing of St. Lucia’s sporting facilities has been so successful that the island nation has been chosen to host the 2017 Commonw ealth Games. All of these achievements have been thanks to marketing efforts from Herman and his team.
While sporting tourism might be a new delight in St.Lucia, cruise destinations have long been a popular function of the island’s tourism industry. The natural beauty and endless on-shore and of f-shore activities make St.Lucia a very popular port of call for many of the cruise lines that operate in the Caribbean.
Herman explained the importance of St. Lucia’s location in attracting cruise lines and entertaining visitors:
“Also, because it’s in the southern part of the Eastern Caribbean, a cruise line sailing out of Miami or even out of Puerto Rico would normally include St. Lucia as one of the hubs. It’s right between the French Islands so it gives you a French experience, which means at least if you can’t go to Paris, you can have it in Martinique and of course Barbados is not far away so there’s a little England, if you want to call it that but St. Lucia has a mix of both. We have the French Creole, which is something with a real likeness to their accent as well as the cultural exchanges that have happened between the French and the English in St. Lucia. This melange of French and English culture is visible in our people, it’s visible in our cooking, it’s visible in our speaking; it’s just naturally visible.”
One of Herman’s favourite projects that the government of St. Lucia achieved, and then marketed, is its Soufriere Marine Management Association. The goal of the group is twofold; first it works to get young boys from small villages involved and engaged in their culture and surroundings by providing aquatic education. The second goal is to provide those boys with work patrolling their local waters and ensuring the environment is protected.
Among the duties of those involved in the association, aside from aquatic education, is to patrol the waters and help divers, fisherman, and other aquatic adventurers have a good time while respecting the natural habitat of St. Lucia ’s coastal waters. In addition to training locals, the Soufriere Marine Management Association attracts students from across the globe interested in studying the aquatic life of the Caribbean.
Marketing St. Lucia’s Future
One of the most important projects Herman sees on the horizon for his group, and the nation, is the development of St.Lucia as a film and advertising destination. The natural beauty of the islands does more than attract tourists, there are numerous industries interested in the natural beauty and landscape of the island suitable for television and movie filming, as well as print advertising photo shoots.
On top of marketing the attractions of the island, Herman and his group work with the government to craft a positive image of St.Lucia in television, movies, and print work. He explained:
“…it’s the responsibility of my office, along with the government ministry, to ensure that persons coming to film have established the guidelines and knowing the guidelines as to what they want to do, and establishing also that whatever comes out as a scene has been approved by the country before it goes out into international media. We can’t say to ourselves that we’re all positive because there are issues like anywhere else, but at the same time you want to make sure that when someone comes to tell a story about St. Lucia, the story ends in a positive.”
Additionally, Herman works with press and writers coming to the island to help them develop itineraries that will benefit both sides mutually. It may seem like a lot of work for such a small island, but in a nation that relies heavily upon tourism it is a job that must be done. Without someone like Ian Herman working to craft an accurate image of St. Lucia, the world might not know what it’s missing out on.