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High cost of travel affecting Dominica’s tourism sector

first_imgSimon WalshThe leading organization on the island that has been fostering and promoting tourism in Dominica for more than three decades, is citing accessibility to the island as one of the main challenges currently affecting the industry.At the 40th Annual General Meeting of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA), the President, Mr Simon Walsh noted that while DHTA celebrated many accomplishments during his tenure as president, the challenges continue to mount amidst the global financial crisis.The DHTA President believes that the high travel cost and the prolonged travel time to Dominica are two of the major factors contributing to the decline in the industry.“The number one issue in the tourism industry from 1972 to 2011 is access to Dominica. Let us not ever forget access, access, access. There has been improvements and I can honestly say that the private se ctor recognizes this fact that The Discover Dominica Authority and the Ministry of Tourism are throwing themselves across that wall and trying to improve on that issue. We’ve seen Air BVI coming in from St Maarteen, we’ve seen JEANS Ferry Service coming in to Portsmouth starting this month, we have Sunshine Airline that will be servicing San Juan Airports hopefully in October; so we’re seeing improvements. But the brutal reality is how much does it cost to come from the east coast of the United States to Dominica? In December, it will be US$1,200, taking two days to reach to Washington D.C. So if you’re sitting in Washington D.C and thinking of taking a trip of a lifetime, you could be in Africa on safari looking at elephants; cheaper and faster than you could be in Dominica looking at a broadfish.” The DHTA’s is pledging to continue its mission to promote tourism and related services as a critical sector in Dominica’s economic development and to work closely with all stakeholders to create and sustain an enabling environment that will support members’ efforts to improve the standards of their products and the quality of their services.Mr Walsh said that they also recognize the efforts of Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) and the Ministry of Tourism in putting strategies and plans in place in addressing the critical issues affecing the tourism industry.“It’s a difficult financial world that we are in right now and many airlines are losing money. So no matter how many good things we do, if we can’t find an airline that can make money flying into Dominica, we’ll never find an airline to fly into Dominica. They have to do it and they have to make money. We should think of new and different ways because we’re having trouble convincing airlines to come. How can the government of Dominica sit down and partnership with an airline and create an airline that will fly and service the tourism industry of Dominica? The DHTA’s job is to make sure that the stakeholders’ issues are represented in the public sector”.The tourism industry is currently the leading contributor to Dominica’s economy. In 2010, tourism contributed EC$243 million to the economy, an increase by sixty eight percent (68%) compared to 2005, just five years ago.Hon. Ian DouglasMinister for Tourism and Legal Affairs, Honorable Ian Douglas said that the government has been working closely with stakeholders like Discover Dominica Authority to ensure that the experience is a lasting one for visitors.He confirmed that great strides have been made in delivery of services within the industry, however more focus needs to be placed on marketing the destination.“We need to be cognizant that this industry is quite competitive, and in order to survive in this market we have to make our destination as marketable as our competitors. Our service has to be of international standard, the product we offer (including our rooms) has to be up to international standards, visitors are very savvy, their expectations are great and we always have to meet and exceed their expectations to keep them coming back and to spread the good news about Dominica as a destination”.The Government is also placing great emphasis and focus on community/rural tourism, an area the minister says will strengthen tourism capacity and potential in several communities around the island.“I am sure many of you are aware that the Tourism Sector Development Programme supported by the European Union’s Special Framework of Assistance (SFA) 2006, which was implemented from 2008 to 2010, has injected approximately €1.4 million or EC5.1 million into the programme. This programme targeted specific projects in community tourism to foster expansion of rural tourism, provision of technical assistance to community groups and destination marketing. Under the rural tourism component of the Tourism Sector Development Programme, eleven new and existing community tourism groups were strengthened through human resource development, infrastructural development and marketing. Specifically, infrastructure work on construction of new facilities were undertaken at the Indian River in Portsmouth, Wotten Waven, Bellevue Chopin and Layou. Upgrading of faciliteis was undertaken in Vieille Case and at the L’escalier Tete Chien in Sineku.The New Board which will now serve from 2011 to 2011 consists of:President – Ms. Yvonne ArmourImmediate Past President and Director – Simon WalshVice President – Nikima RoyerExecutive Secretary – Renee Whitchurch Aird-DouglasTreasurer – Carol RabessDirectors -Richard Stanton, Arienne Perryman, Michael Bunche and Tanaquil PfundAdministrative Assistant, David ThornhillThe Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association (DHTA) was first formed in 1972.Dominica Vibes News Sharing is caring! LocalNews High cost of travel affecting Dominica’s tourism sector by: – October 18, 2011 63 Views   no discussions Sharecenter_img Tweet Share Sharelast_img read more

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