Long-stay visitors to Saint Lucia can take advantage of a free personalised concierge service that puts together bespoke itineraries and tours. Olivia Palamountain reports
As travellers opt to “fly less, stay longer” (a trend Globetrender predicts for 2021 and beyond), the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia is incentivising people to take extended workations of up to six weeks, over the summer, by giving access to a free initiative that pairs them with a local.
The “Live it” programme matches foreigners with a “Live it Island Specialist” (provided by a Saint Lucian tour operator) who will act as a personal guide to help them prepare for their trip and embrace local life during their stay.
In line with Covid protocols, visitors must stay at a Covid-certified hotel or private villas for the mandatory 14-day period of quarantine, before being free to explore the island.
After the first 14 days on island, participants will receive a bracelet that identifies them as a long-stay visitor. Starting on day 15, they are free to explore the island while observing standard Covid rules such as social distancing and wearing a mask in public places.
It’s easy to apply for the scheme (accessed via an online form), and once signed up, participants’ “Live it Island Specialist” will handle communication of protocols, arrange VIP airport welcomes and develop bespoke weekly itineraries to maximise their Saint Lucia stay.
Suggested activities encompass tailored hikes of the Pitons, creole cooking lessons, rainforest adventuring, diving the reefs or philanthropic cultural endeavours, while customised programmes offers the likes of SOCAFIT dance sessions and rum-tasting, followed by chocolate making workshops bar-hopping.
Dominic Fedee, Minister of Tourism, says: “‘Live it’ is launching at a time when interest in international travel is renewed in our key markets of the US, Canada and the UK. We are looking forward to welcoming back more visitors when their restrictions ease.”
“On a shorter visit, travellers are limited to a few activities but if they stay longer, they get to roam locally, decompress from a year of lockdowns and also work remotely.
“With so many things to explore safely in Saint Lucia, paired with the demand for extended holidays, we created this immersive programme so visitors can live like a local, while feeling like a member of the family.”
The scheme comes hot on the heels of a number of “work from anywhere” initiatives in the Caribbean. Islands and hotels are creating “work from paradise” packages to encourage people to move their home office overseas, including extended-stay “digital nomad” visas.