Find a business in Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia has transformed itself from being a single-crop (bananas) agricultural economy to one in which services, especially tourism and banking have reduced the country’s vulnerability to market volatility and competition from other growers. It has a GNI per capita of US$6,890 (2012) and has seen GDP growth of 1.5% per annum (2008–12). The services sector dominates contribution to GDP at 81%, while agriculture contributes only 3% (2010). Saint Lucia’s economy has a well developed manufacturing sector benefiting from the diversification away from the single crop of bananas.
Although crops such as bananas, mangos and avocados continue to be grown for export, tourism provides Saint Lucia’s main source of income and the industry is the island’s biggest employer. In 2011 travel and tourism directly contributed 14.5% of GDP, generating 12,000 jobs – 16.4% to total employment (World Travel and Tourism, estimate). Successful attractions of the country’s tourism industry include wildlife, landscapes, leisure pursuits and ecotourism. In 2011 the World Travel and Tourism Council estimated that Saint Lucia ranked 11th out of 181 countries for the relative contribution of tourism to the national economy.
The island has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalise the banana industry. Saint Lucia’s economic fundamentals remain sound although unemployment rates present a challenge.
There are 1,210 km of roads, with the main cross-island road route stretching from Castries in the north to Vieux Fort in the south. Saint Lucia has two main airports: Hewanorra International Airport, which mainly provides long-haul international flights; and George Charles Airport which concentrates on regional flights within the Caribbean. The country’s main seaport is in Castries, whereas Vieux Fort in the south serves as the main anchorage for cargo and container ships and Point Seraphine is the primary port of entry for cruise ships.
The island state is ranked 52 overall for the ease of doing business, according to the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business 2012’ study. It is also ranked 13th in the world for dealing with construction permits and getting electricity. These rankings measure the conduciveness of a regulatory regime and infrastructural environment in starting and operating a business.
Saint Lucia has a 94.8% adult literacy rate (2006) and English is the official language.