104 V I S I O N S • 2 0 0 8
Investing in St. Lucia
The National Development Corporation Seeks
Partners for Tourism-related Investment
V I S I O N S • 2 0 0 8 105
“A lot of investment is currently being
driven by the Euro that is at an all time high.
Being a dollar area, the Caribbean is an
attractive destination,” says Nicholas John,
Executive Chairman of the National
Development Corporation, the St. Lucian
agency mandated to bring in foreign invest-
In the Eastern Caribbean, Barbados is
seen as the country to beat. Lately, however,
that island has reached saturation point,
particularly in the areas of hotel and leisure
investment. Land is scarce and prices have
skyrocketed. St. Lucia is now considered the
new destination. Property prices are still rea-
sonable and there is a lot of land to develop.
At present there is significant direct for-
eign investment in the hotel sector.
However, the authorities are seeking greater
participation in that sector.
In order to make the island more attrac-
tive (sun, sea and sand are now insufficient
arguments to persuade international enter-
prises to set up shop) the Tourism Incentives
Act was created. Among other benefits, it
provides a 15 year tax holiday and customs
duty exemptions to all new investors in the
Armed with what it considers to be an
interesting package of initiatives, St. Lucia’s
National Development Corporation, the
N.D.C., regularly goes shopping for foreign
This is easier than it sounds and it is a
somewhat tedious process. For every 1000
contacts made, only 100 will show interest.
Out of the 10 who actually consider invest-
ing, only one will work out. Before tracking
down potential investors, the National
Development Corporation must first
research the history of each candidate and
then ensure that they have the money to
finance their projects and that they are of
Once a developer signs on the dotted
line, the National Development
Corporation will assist with internal bureau-
cracy. In St. Lucia, the N.D.C. is touted as
the investor’s link to the government. There
are several procedures that are particular to
foreign investors and the N.D.C. is mandat-
ed to smooth the way and speed up matters.
Foreign investment is vital to St. Lucia’s development. Tourism is the island’s
leading source of foreign exchange and investment in this sector is particularly
important. In the past, international conglomerates happened on St. Lucia by
chance and decided to invest in the island. But times have changed and
Caribbean countries are now competing for the same overseas money. In finan-
cial circles, all of the countries in the Caribbean basin are considered viable,
particularly for tourism-related projects. Foreign investment is no longer a hap-
hazard affair. The St. Lucian authorities have had to become far more organised
in order to stand out.
106 V I S I O N S • 2 0 0 8
The National Development Corporation,
created in the 1970’s, falls under the Ministry
of Economic Affairs and Development. It is a
government entity but receives no subventions
and operates on private sector principals.
It also possesses some great assets. Over
6,000 acres of land, located mainly in Vieux
Fort in the South of St. Lucia are vested in the
National Development Corporation.
A number of these sites are zoned for
tourism development. The National
Development Corporation offers joint venture
propositions for these areas. The Corporation
supplies the land as equity; the developer
builds, manages and markets the property.
This arrangement allows the N.D.C. to partici-
pate in the profits. However, there is room for
flexibility and lands can be leased or sold out-
“We are not in the hotel business but we
facilitate plant and structure and encourage
investment. It’s a good business model,” says
The National Development Corporation
owns the Coconut Bay Hotel in Vieux Fort.
This 87 acre property is leased to Jamaican
investors for 99 years. US$12.5 million were
invested by the N.D.C. to refurbish the property.
The proposed Ritz Carlton Hotel is being
built on N.D.C. lands at Black Bay in Vieux
Fort under a joint venture arrangement. Other
large zones are in the negotiation stage with
prospective developers. These include Fond
D’or at Dennery, Bois Chadon in Vieux Fort,
a 300 acre site that includes the vast Mankoté
mangrove, and River Doree in Choiseul.
The immense Anse des Sables in Vieux Fort is also an N.D.C. property. The
Corporation intends to create leisure facilities along this stretch and encourage the
construction of small hotels, restaurants, play parks and entertainment facilities. The
purpose is to create a village for tourists.
“Our big sites are generating a lot of interest at this time,” says Nicholas John.
The National Development Corporation has received favourable reviews from the
Caribbean Development Bank. In a recent assessment, the bank noted the ‘good
financial performance of the N.D.C.’ and wrote that the “Corporation’s liquidity posi-
tion has improved.”
The National Development Corporation is also the owner of the Pointe Seraphine
Duty Free Complex located in Castries. Situated on a six acre site, with 42 stores and
a restaurant, it is the island’s largest duty free shopping facility.
Pointe Seraphine Duty Free Complex is strategically placed in the centre of the
Castries Redevelopment Project, a government initiative that will transform St. Lucia’s
capital into a designated duty free shopping centre. The National Development
Corporation will play a crucial role in making Castries a new Caribbean destination.
The entire waterfront will be reshaped into a shopping and entertainment area.
Residential zones will be created and a new terminal will be constructed at the George
F.L.Charles Airport. Emphasis is to be placed on accommodating private jets. The
airstrip will also be lengthened.
In the July 2007 edition of Fortune Magazine, entitled Special Investors Edition,
St. Lucia’s redevelopment plan was featured in a special advertiser’s section. It noted
that in St. Lucia around 40,000 passengers aboard 27 cruise ships disembark every
month for lunch and to see the sights.
“This potential cannot be ignored,” said St. Lucia’s then Prime Minister, Sir John
Compton. “Besides land-based tourism, we are also going to redevelop Castries, the
capital, and expand our main deepwater harbour and reserve it for the cruise liners.
We also want to build up to three more berths.”
Sir John added: “We have generous tax incentives and the National Development
Corporation is working to attract investors and guide them through the red tape.”
The current container park situated in the port of Castries will be relocated to the
new industrial hub at Cul de Sac, south of the capital. A convention centre is planned
for the vacated site that is now prime real estate in the heart of Castries.
“St. Lucians should participate in the development of St. Lucia, and the National
Development Corporation, in the name of the St. Lucian people facilitates invest-
ment,” says Nicholas John. “We are creating activity and creating the environment to
attract investors.” The National Development Corporation has been attracting foreign
investment to St. Lucia for the past 35 years.
V I S I O N S • 2 0 0 8 107
Anju Silvers 453-0175
Bagshaws of St. Lucia Ltd 452-2139
Bureau de Change/Bank of St. Lucia 456-6000
Café Tropical 452-7411
Caribbean Resources 454-8557
Clear Blue Store 451-9746
Colombia Emeralds 453-2629
Coco Joe’s 459-0992
Courtey Taxi 452-1733
Diamond International 453-6399
Duty Free Caribbean (perfume) 453-2629
Duty Free Caribbean (Liquor) 453-2629
Foster Inc 452-6441
Harry Edwards 451-6799
Heather Floissac 452-4761
Helen Volson 452-0758
Heritage Tourism 468-4607
Images/ Imcon 452-7870
Jazz Shop 452-4094
Jewellers Warehouse 453-7281
Just Leather 453-2305
Koko Tok / Ship Shape 452-9294
Lady Floissac 452-7865
Made in Paradise/ Made in St. Lucia 458-1455
National Car Rental 450-8577
Nature Pur 458-0510
Oasis/Sea Island Cotton Shop 452-3674
Pamela St. Jules (Cart) 451-8383
Paramount Appliances 453-0855
Paulinus/Anne Clifford (Cart) 453-8727
Peer/Pirana Joe 453-0851
Perfect Time 452-7223
Rainbow Tail 452-7677
Reminista Clement (Cart) 451-6025
Sea Island Cotton (Oasis) 452-3674
St. Lucia Heritage Tours/Tourist Board 451-6508
Sunshine Bookstore 452-3777
The Gallery 451-6116
The Land Shop 453-6757
The Lava Flow 451-9746
The Rum Shop 459-0301
Timbuk Too/ Simon & Bird 452-3674
Tommy Bahamas 452-3674
Touched by The Sun 456-5013
Viking Traders 450-1520
Virgina Roberts 452-1892
a must stop on your
No visit to St. Lucia would be complete without a stop at duty-free Pointe Seraphine.
Overlooking the harbour on the
outskirts of downtown Castries, the
best duty-free shopping the Caribbean
has to offer is waiting for you.