Tourism is the main source of income for St Lucia and the industry is its biggest employer.
The tropical eastern Caribbean island boasts beaches, mountains, exotic plants and the Qualibou volcano with its boiling sulphur springs.
Before the visitor influx, banana exports sustained St Lucia, especially after 1964 when it stopped producing sugar cane.
Crops such as mangoes and avocados are also grown, but bananas are the biggest source of foreign exchange after tourism.
Most St Lucians are the descendants of African slaves, brought in by the British in the 19th century to work on sugar plantations.
Although St Lucia is a former British colony, the French settled in the 17th century. Their influence lives on in the patois spoken in the country.
- St Lucia
- Capital : Castries
- Population 178,000
- Area 616 sq km (238 sq miles)
- Major languages English (official), French patois
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 72 years (men), 78 years (women)
- Currency East Caribbean dollar