SOUFRIERE, Saint Lucia, Sunday January 22, 2012 - When things get tough look beyond the usual, counsels a seasoned Saint Lucian businesswoman and hotelier.
"We need to think creatively to increase our share of world tourism," declared Eroline Lamontagne, owner and operator of the award-winning Fond Doux Holiday Plantation in Soufrière, Saint Lucia.
Endorsing assertions by Saint Lucia Director of Tourism Louis Lewis who stated "it will not be business as usual in 2012", Mrs. Lamontagne said a key sector that requires constant focus and attention is the destination weddings and honeymoon market which has become Saint Lucia's bread and butter niche.
"We cannot rest on our laurels," she asserted, "and we must redouble our efforts to position our country and our region as the 'go to' destination for weddings, honeymoons, renewal of vows as well as exclusive romantic excursions."
Few markets provide a hotel or destination with a constant flow of new opportunities like the bridal market, contended Caribbean weddings expert Jacqueline Johnson, president and CEO of MarryCaribbean.com.
"It is a year-round business ... and with the steady increase of destination weddings and the close proximity of the Caribbean, destinations with a strategic (approach) will benefit from this 'perfect customer'," Mrs. Johnson said.
MarryCaribbean.com reports the perfect customer heavily outspends the average leisure traveler and suggests a strategic approach to marketing, including the use of social media.
According to the 2012 US Wedding Market Insight Report, June and September are the most in demand months for weddings; more couples will attend wedding/bridal show/events; bright, bold and vibrant tones are still in; couples want fun, romantic, and simple events with a touch of formal and tradition; and rustic and vintage continue with high demand.
"Our team of wedding planners and coordinators here at Fond Doux offer just that - vintage wedding experiences with all the modern conveniences," Mrs. Lamontagne said.
She averred in an effort to capture a greater share of the weddings market, Fond Doux had prepared a number of comprehensive packages - available online, across the social media community and via travel agents and tour operators.
For further information, visit www.fonddouxestate.com.
About Fond Doux Holiday Plantation
Fond Doux Holiday Plantation is a 19th century eco-friendly colonial plantation nestled in the heart of Soufrière, Saint Lucia. The Green Globe-certified resort sits in a 250 year-old working plantation and features an assortment of 10 uniquely crafted cottages, two onsite restaurants and a collage of outdoor swimming pools. Fond Doux is conveniently located just minutes away from some of the island's key attractions, including the Sulphur Springs - the Caribbean's only drive in volcano. It is in the neighborhood of the world-renowned twin peaks, the Pitons, which offers the best diving sites on island - all within the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fond Doux provides guests with an evocative plantation experience, and they are encouraged to actively engage in the day-to-day running of the cocoa plantation, experiences enjoyed in 2008 by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
The plantation adheres closely to the spirit of eco-building and cultural preservation. Rescued from demolition, Fond Doux maintains intricate French Colonial wooden buildings more than 100 years old. The buildings were painstakingly dismantled and transported to the estate, where they were lovingly restored as guest accommodations and today stand as monuments of the island's rich colonial history. The Guardian Newspaper in the United Kingdom rated the organic estate and eco-resort as the number two Plantation Retreat in the world.