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Global Ports Holding begins operations in Port Castries

“It is imperative that we modernize our port infrastructure to welcome new ships and maintain our competitive position,” GPH Director

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The world’s largest cruise port operator, Global Ports Holding Plc (GPH), recently celebrated the launch of cruise management services in Port Castries at Saint Lucia Cruise Port (SLCP) together with the Government of Saint Lucia.

The event was observed at a special ceremony on the port’s northern quay and was attended by dignitaries from government and key port partners.

Saint Lucia Cruise Port is a subsidiary of Global Ports Holding.

Mehmet Kutman, Chairman and CEO of Global Ports Holding, expressed his team’s appreciation for the partnership with the government during his remarks at the event.

“GPH knows how to get visitors to spend more money at destinations, so (working with) GPH suits us,” Minister of Tourism Dr. Ernest Hilaire

“We are honored to be here on this momentous occasion and to partner with the Government of Saint Lucia to mark the start of our cruise port management services. We would like to thank Prime Minister Philip Pierre, Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire, Secretary Stephenson King and the entire government team for their commitment and cooperation in bringing this moment to fruition,” said Kutman.

Kutman placed special emphasis on the relationship between the Saint Lucia Cruise Port team and the community:

“We would be remiss if we did not thank all the stakeholders who participated in the negotiation process and those who helped us improve our plans by sharing your direct and rapid feedback. Your contributions and support have made it possible for us to be here today. Through our continued collaboration, this investment in our collective future is sure to yield abundant returns for Saint Lucia for years to come.”

Prime Minister Pierre thanked the GPH team and emphasized the nature of the historic partnership with the government:

“What we have is a new economic arrangement. We get the best of both worlds: we let you develop the infrastructure in exchange for a 30-year ‘rent’ of the cruise port, but you pay us. You will employ people and improve the quality of life for the people of Saint Lucia. That is the most important thing for me.”

He added: “we have had very tough negotiations, but the end result will benefit the people of Saint Lucia and we are very happy. GPH has my full support. We need you to start work as soon as possible. The people of Soufriere, Bananes, the Vendors Arcade – we expect you to deliver. Welcome to Saint Lucia, thank you and we hope to have a lasting relationship with you.”

“What we have is a new economic arrangement. We will get the best of both worlds” Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre

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Deputy Prime Minister Hilaire summarized one of the key reasons why GPH was selected as the preferred partner for the management of the cruise port and related services.

According to Hilaire: “There has been a lot of criticism of cruise tourism over the years. Hundreds of thousands of visitors come to our shores. And people wonder: what do we get in return? The truth is, you can get so much in return… they will come, they will go to your beaches, but they won’t spend any money. GPH knows how to get visitors to spend more money at destinations, so (collaborating with) GPH suits us. And in Saint Lucia we want exactly that. We want more visitors to come in and spend more money. We need to take Saint Lucia to the next level… and GPH will now come in to help create a higher level of experience (for our visitors).”

“We are extremely excited to add Saint Lucia Cruise Port to our global family,” said Mike Maura, Jr. Regional Director of GPH Americas. “The Eastern Caribbean will play a critical strategic role in the future of our regional growth and Saint Lucia is a destination second to none. We believe in the potential of the future of cruise tourism here and are very pleased to have added a team of Saint Lucians, led by Lancelot Arnold, to our growing regional team. The opportunities we will create here, in partnership with local and industry stakeholders, will uplift the entire country for the benefit of all Saint Lucians.”

Lancelot Arnold, Director of GPH Eastern Caribbean and General Manager of Saint Lucia Cruise Port, shared the SLCP team’s enthusiasm.

“We are extremely proud to officially take over the management of cruise operations in Port Castries. Today’s performance is the result of exceptional hard work and the efforts of many people. We have prepared extensively for this moment for months and are ready to move full speed ahead. We are fully aligned with all key partners to ensure we can get started with a seamless transfer of services,” said Arnold.

“Following today’s announcement,” he continued, “our project designs will be refined in collaboration with our stakeholders before being submitted to government for approval. Construction will start once the required legal permits have been obtained. In the meantime, we will establish our offices and continue operating the cruise port in preparation for the start of the new cruise season in October.” He highlighted: “Improvements to the berth at Pointe Seraphine in Castries will help achieve our passenger traffic targets by accommodating the largest cruise ships in the world. Today, cruise lines are building ships that are wider and longer than ever before. It is imperative that we modernize our port infrastructure to welcome these new ships and maintain our competitive position as a leading cruise destination.”

Planning for the influx of larger vessels and more visitors also requires careful consideration of traffic management, a critical aspect of the redevelopment effort that the SLCP team will diligently address in collaboration with government and other stakeholders. By introducing innovative strategies to improve the flow of passenger and regional traffic, including the establishment of new jetties and ferry services to transport larger groups of people by sea, Arnold and his team anticipate that the project will create more opportunities for entrepreneurs in Saint Lucia. “At GPH,” Arnold added, our goal is to advance solutions that meet community needs while contributing to social improvement and economic growth. By working with key stakeholders to create these types of initiatives, we will certainly achieve this goal in Saint Lucia.” “Extensive work is currently underway behind the scenes,” he confirmed. “We are committed to providing regular updates on our plans and progress to keep our community well informed.”