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St Lucia


The Caribbean island of Saint Lucia is part of the Lesser Antilles, and it is located on the boundary of the Atlantic Ocean, in the eastern Caribbean Sea. Its territory covers just 620km2, with a population of 160,000, 28% of which live in urban areas. The island has a meridian average age structure of 29 years, and almost a quarter of the population are under 14 years of age. The capital city is Castries, which is situated on the northern coastal area and spans 29km2. Other cities on the island include Vieux Fort, Micoud, Soufrière, Dennery and Gros Islet, although all areas have a small population of under 5,000.

The island is divided into 11 quarters for statistical and geographical purposes, the largest being the Castries quarter. Saint Lucia is a member of several organizations such as the United Nations (UN) and the Commonwealth. It uses the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XSD) for its currency, which is tied to the United States dollar (USD).


Saint Lucia has a GDP figure of £1.03 billion, most of which is generated by the tourism sector, followed by banking and agriculture. The largest companies on the island are Bank of Nova Scota (banking), Cable & Wireless (telecommunications), Courts (retail), FedEx and St Lucia Electricity Services.

The island has a large and lucrative tourism industry, and the stunning beaches and natural unspoilt scenery help to attract over 350,000 international visitors annually. Most tourists arrive either via the Hewanorra International Airport, or on passenger cruise ships that dock in the Port of Castries.

Agriculture employs a fifth of the workforce and contributes 5% to the GDP. The most important sector is banana production, which accounts for 41% of the countries total exports. The government have made a recent effort to diversify the production of crops, with the introduction of mango and avocado farming, along with the cultivation of cocoa, coconut and citrus fruits. Despite this 23% of the countries total foodstuffs are imported, most of which come from Brazil.

Saint Lucia has one of the most developed and diversified industrial sectors in the Windward Islands. Manufacturing and small assembly plants produce electrical items, plastic products and paper. In 2007 Saint Lucia exported $288 million worth of goods mainly to the United Kingdom, the United States, South Korea, India and Antigua and Barbuda.


Despite Saint Lucia’s small size it has an adequate transportation infrastructure which allows for easy access around the island via the 1,210km of roads. There are two airports serving the country, the largest being Hewanorra International Airport (UVF), which is situated in Vieux Fort. The airport has frequent flights to Toronto, Miami, New York, Atlanta and Frankfurt, while Virgin Atlantic and British Airways operate flights to London, with an approximate flight time of 8 hours and 45 minutes. The airport has a separate cargo terminal with 4 cargo airlines: Amerijet International, DHL, FedEx Express and Laparkan Airways Inc.

Saint Lucia has two major fully functioning ports, the busiest is the Port of Castries which both deals with most of the countries cargo imports and exports and it is the main docking area for large passenger cruise ships, while Port Vieux Fort has a smaller container terminal.

The island relies on imports to fulfil its energy requirements, and most oil is imported from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. The energy infrastructure is under development, and a new Renewable Energy Feasibility and Project Investment Fund has been formed in a bid to create more sustainable energy sources, including the proposed construction of solar powered energy systems.


Saint Lucia has a total labour-force of 79,700, 53.6% of which work in the service sector, 24.7% in industry and 21.7% in agriculture. The 2001 census stated that 82.5% of the population classed themselves as black, 11.9% as mixed race, 2.4% as East Indian and 3.1% as ‘other’ or unspecified. The official sole language is English, but French-Patois is also spoken by members of the community.

Saint Lucian's take pride in their education system, and a quarter of the annual budget is used to develop and strengthen the existing education infrastructure. Schooling is compulsory for all citizens between the ages of 5 and 15. There are just 9 schools on the island, some of which are special expatriate international schools. There are also several higher education institutes in Saint Lucia, including the University of the West Indies (UWI), the IAU College of Medicine and the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College. Many students who graduate from secondary education choose to study for degrees abroad in the USA, Canada and Europe. Saint Lucia has a national literacy rate of 94.8%.

Business Costs

Citizens who live and work on the island are required to pay taxes on all income. The personal tax rate ranges from 10% - 30% depending on the amount earned per year. Corporations are charged a flat fee of 33.33% on gross annual income, and some hotel industries and tourism related businesses can receive a tax holiday of up to 15 years, providing they fit specific requirements. Currently there is no value added tax rate although in 2007 at the budget address, the island announced it would implement a new VAT system, which is now due to come into action in 2010.

The government has set a minimum wage pact and several other rules which govern and protect workers rights. Minimum wages are based on a 40 hour work week, but they vary depending on the sector the individual works in, for example workers in the construction sector are entitled to a minimum of $55 a day, which is the equivalent of £14.36 a day.

The capital city, Castries, is home to most of the islands commercial office space, and rental rates including utility costs are relatively low and beneficial for the business owner.
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