*Photograph of Iris Ho

Saint Lucia's tourism authorities are ramping up efforts targeting the burgeoning Asian American market and are extending special welcomes for Taiwanese Americans.

Louis Lewis, St. Lucia's director of tourism, said that on the heels of a recent familiarisation visit of Taiwanese Americans spearheaded by Bay Gardens Resorts, the island was now eagerly anticipating the arrival of leading civil society activist Iris Ho who will be a participant at next week's Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx) being held at Coco Palm's Conference Centre.

Saint Lucia has often explored the potential for "ethnic" tourism in the Caribbean, and the tourism authorities are assessing the potential to market Saint Lucia to Taiwanese Americans. CMEx meets next week under a theme which examines multicultural tourism markets as well as climate change.

Saint Lucia is attractive to Taiwanese Americans not just on the strength of its natural beauty and merits as a vacation spot, but also because the island is one of a handful in the Caribbean that recognizes the Taiwanese government.

Ian Williams, an acclaimed journalist who has defended the right of the Taiwanese to self-determination, and Iris Ho who represents a major Taiwanese American advocacy organization in Washington DC will be present at CMEx to explore opportunities.

Among others, they will meet with Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Senator Allen Chastanet, Director Lewis as well as Taiwanese diplomats on the island. "It's a long way from Taiwan, but we have hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese in America, who remain attached to their home country. They are now a prosperous community and include many professionals and business people. Like most middle class Americans, they like vacations and we think they might like to show their appreciation to Saint Lucia," said Iris Ho.

Senator Chastanet pointed out that Saint Lucia has long been recognised as a legendary honeymoon destination, but with the addition of world recognised boutique hotels, new golf courses, additional shopping attractions and casinos, the destination is embarking on broadening its marketing appeal.

About Saint Lucia
One of the Windward Islands of the West Indies' Lesser Antilles, Saint Lucia (pronounced Saint LOO-sha) is nestled halfway down the eastern Caribbean archipelago. The "Helen of the West Indies," Saint Lucia is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - a tropical rainforest and one of the world's few drive-in volcanoes. Culturally rich offerings include the bustling marketplace in the capital of Castries, quaint fishing villages along the coastline, and the annual Saint Lucia Jazz festival. Saint Lucia's wide range of accommodations includes world-class five-star resorts, all-inclusive resorts, intimate inns and value-oriented properties. For information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1 (888) 4-STLUCIA, or visit www.saintlucianow.com.

*Courtesy of St. Lucia Tourist Board

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