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...
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 ...
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 Econo...
V I S I O N S • 2 0 0 8 107
Anju Silvers 453-0175
BBG Comunications
Bagshaws of St. Lucia Ltd 452-2139
Bureau de Change/Ba...
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NDC - Investing in St Lucia - Tourism [St Lucia]


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NDC - Investing in St Lucia - Tourism [St Lucia]

  1. 1. 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
  2. 2. 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- ment. 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 hotel sector. 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 investment. 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 sound repute. 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.
  3. 3. 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- right. “We are not in the hotel business but we facilitate plant and structure and encourage investment. It’s a good business model,” says Nicholas John. 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.
  4. 4. V I S I O N S • 2 0 0 8 107 Anju Silvers 453-0175 BBG Comunications 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 DutyFreeShoppers/CaribbeanRes. 451-7840 Ferry 450-3595 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 Raffles 456-0206 Rainbow Tail 452-7677 Reminista Clement (Cart) 451-6025 Sandals 452-3081 Sea Island Cotton (Oasis) 452-3674 St. Lucia Heritage Tours/Tourist Board 451-6508 Sunshine Bookstore 452-3777 Tanzanite 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 Wincraft (Images) Duty Free Pointe Seraphine a must stop on your Caribbean holiday 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.