Saint Lucia is a sovereign island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. It is located northwest of Barbados, north/northeast of Saint Vincent and south of Martinique and is part of the island chain forming the Lesser Antilles.
Tourism is the main source of income for St Lucia and the industry is its biggest employer. Banana exports had been the islands biggest contributor to GDP for a number of years but have been second to the countries thriving Tourism product in recent times. Along with other Caribbean producers St Lucia banana growers benefited from preferred access to European markets however, a World Trade Organisation ruling has dictated that preferential access should be discontinued. The overall agricultural export has been diversified but bananas remain the biggest source of foreign exchange after tourism. Most Saint Lucians are the descendants of Africans, brought in by the British in the 19th century to work on sugar plantations.
Although Saint Lucia is a former British colony, the French settled in the 17th century. Their influence lives on in the patois spoken (a French dialect) and can also be seen in the names of most of its villages and towns. Saint Lucia is a Commonwealth state and as such Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State, represented on the island by a Governor-General. Executive power is in the hands of the Prime Minister and his cabinet. Saint Lucia is a two-party parliamentary democracy. Dr Kenny D. Anthony of the St Lucia Labour Party is presently the nations Prime Minister, with elections being constitutionally due every five years. Saint Lucia is a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and La Francophonie.
Area: 617 km2 (238.23 sq mi)
Population: 170,745 (July 2012) – source: Saint Lucia dept of statistics
Population growth index: 1.05 % (2012 est.)
Population density: 275 inhabitants per kilometre sq.
Official language: English (official); A French patois is common throughout the country.
Sea Ports: The main sea port is Port Castries. There is an additional deep water anchorage for cargo and container ships at Vieux Fort in the south near the airport. Pointe Seraphine is the port of entry for cruise ships
Independence Day Feb 22
Easter Monday Apr 09
Labour Day May 01
Emancipation Day Aug 01
National Day Dec 13
Christmas Day Dec 25
Boxing Day Dec 26
Literacy Rate: Total Population – 94.8 percent (Global Human development index ranking 2011*)
Immunizations:Vaccinations are not required for entry into Saint Lucia unless an individual is coming from an area that has been infected, and in that case individuals are required to be vaccinated at least six days prior to arrival.
GDP (2012): US$1314.2 million.
GDP growth rate (2012): ¬¬-0.8%.
Per capita GDP (2012): US$5,544.20
Unemployment rate (2012): 21.4%
Saint Lucia’s economy depends primarily on revenue from tourism and banana production, with some contribution from small-scale manufacturing. All sectors of the economy have benefited from infrastructure improvements in roads, communications, water supply, sewerage, and port facilities. These improvements, combined with a stable political environment and educated work force, have attracted foreign investors in several different sectors. Although Saint Lucia enjoys a steady flow of investment in tourism, the single most significant foreign investment is Hess Oil’s large petroleum storage and transhipment terminal. In addition, the Caribbean Development Bank funded an extensive airport expansion project.