In recent years, investment in foreign countries has moved from something only aspired to by the very wealthy individual or commercial enterprise, to something that has become accessible to an entirely new demographic of mid-weight business people, retirees and expats. St Lucia, in The Caribbean, is one such destination benefitting from an influx of foreign investment, and – with encouraging growth figures and confidence high – numbers are on the increase.
Whether investors make the move for retirement, a relaxed family lifestyle, or specifically to invest in business and property in St Lucia, the local infrastructure and environment of the island make the process particularly appealing.
Stability and Security
With a stable political climate (based on the British system) and what’s rated by the World Bank as the best ‘pro-business’ environment in The Caribbean, St Lucia provides a secure, proactive and nurturing place for foreign interests to conduct business. As an important player in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, the island’s financial system makes compliance easy and it encourages the freedom of profit repatriation a vital factor for multi-national or bi-coastal foreign investors.
Modern, Efficient Communications
While to a certain extent the entire Caribbean runs on its own ‘island time’, St Lucia’s highly efficient telecommunications system means that it’s still very much connected to the rest of the world. High-speed Internet coverage, state-of-the-art satellite systems, and excellent mobile phone access allow virtual business to be done from the beach as easily as it can be done from a boardroom in London.
Growth Property Market
Investment in property in St Lucia for either commercial or residential purposes has historically shown capital growth, despite the recent global recession up to 10% in 2014. Over 40% of the population is centred around the capital, Castries, which offers a wealth of opportunities for investment property in St Lucia, and other high-profile tourism centres like Soufriere, Gros-Islet and Vieux Fort also provide possibilities for development of ‘value added tourism’ investments, in the form of retail outlets, eco lodges, cruise ports and event venues.
Education and Quality of Life
St Lucia rates highly on the Global Human Development Index, with metrics including one of the highest life expectancies in The Caribbean and an over 90% literacy rate. The country has a high-quality education system, with an extensive network of privately owned and government funded pre-schools, primary schools, secondary schools, public and academic libraries, and the well-respected University of West Indies (UWI) Open Campus Faculty.
The healthcare system is primarily privately funded but residents have access to free treatment at over 30 dedicated public Health Centres located all over the island. The presence of a number of international medical insurance companies means affordable healthcare is accessible for all residents. There is one private and three public hospitals, which are staffed by highly qualified, English speaking medical practitioners from a variety of disciplines.
Ease of Conducting Business
The World Bank has rated St Lucia 52 out of 183 countries in terms of its ease of doing business. For those looking to set up a new business, purchase land or commercial property in St Lucia, enter into trade agreements and investment treaties, apply for citizenship, residency, licenses and permits, and register for VAT, the processes can be navigated relatively simply. There is also plenty of governmental support and documentation aimed at helping foreign investors.
With a solid history of protecting and encouraging the development of international investments, St Lucia lives up to its status as the ‘number one place in the English-speaking Caribbean to do business’. (World Bank, 2014)
Adam Gobat is a renowned expert on the Caribbean, with a passion for its culture, history, people and places. His in-depth local knowledge and wealth of experience in luxury property in St Lucia are key to the marketing and sales of the luxury villas and penthouses in The Landings, a unique freehold opportunity for beachfront property in the Caribbean.