(Roseau, Dominica – January 8, 2016)
IMPROVING THE BUSINESS CLIMATE FOR THE YACHTING SECTOR IN DOMINICA
Notwithstanding the challenges and technical hitches influenced by current economic conditions, the Government of the Commonwealth of
Dominica remains resolute in pursuing one of its main goals for growth and development of the island’s tourism yachting sub-sector. The Ministry of Tourism and Urban Renewal in particular is continuously seeking ways to exploit the island’s comparative advantages and notable
opportunities for development that would enable Dominica to expand its share of the yachting segment and experience such remarkable economic gains like regional competitors of Grenada and St. Kitts/Nevis.
As part of its thrust towards supporting the development of this important subsector and the livelihoods of those who depend on it, the Ministry of Tourism has in recent times undertaken some key project activities towards improving specific aspects of the yachting experience. In that regard, the Ministry has formed strong partnership with the Portsmouth Association of Yachting services (P.A.Y.S.), an essential stakeholder to the development of tourism particularly to the north, and has accomplished notable achievements that will serve as spurs/offshoots towards the development of a sustainable yachting sub-sector for Dominica:
- ) Construction of a 94ft jetty at Purple Turtle, Portsmouth, Phase 1 – The construction of a 94ft concrete jetty carries a project cost of $170,000.00. The jetty is complemented with lumber planks that are removable during rough weather to allow for protection. This aspect serves as phase 1 of this project, as there are plans to support this project though a second phase by expansion through an additional 100ft and installation of lighting. Apart from the benefit of an improved aesthetic appeal to the Purple Turtle Beach, yachters can now experience the safety, ease and convenience of berthing that this much needed jetty will add to their yachting experience.
- (b.) Security Boat - The Ministry of Tourism has given equal consideration to the security of yachters (also own as “yachties”) while on stay at the island’s esteemed Prince Rupert’s Bay. Accordingly, the Ministry has invested in the provision of a security boat for use by P.A.Y.S in their execution of security services, to ensure the safety of this important segment of visitors to our shores. The Ministry of Tourism has provided the necessary assistance in the provision of an engine, a replacement engine, fenders, training and certification and recognition to facilitate commissioning and efficient operations of the vessel. To date, this boat has been actively utilized to provide services to the very fragile sub-sector; a fact that was lauded recently by a visitor to the island.
- (c.) Moorings: The creation of a mooring field - The Ministry of Tourism hasalsoset the stage for the development of a mooring field at Prince Rupert’s Bay. The commencement of phase 1 of this project is marked by investment in the manufacture and installation of moorings each with a dimension of 18ft x 4ft x 4ft and at a cost of EC$2,500 ea. It is expected that at the end of this phase, twenty-five (25) moorings would have been manufactured and installed. The grand benefits to be derived from the creation of this mooring field are numerous as it will eliminate the need to share moorings between yachts which poses damage risk from contact. Importantly, quite apart from being able to accommodate an increased number of yachts, there is benefit to the natural ecosphere as an increased number of moorings will discourage the need for yachters to use anchors which are noted to destroy coral reefs and sea bed.
This very significant instigation by the Ministry for a mooring field coincides with the efforts of investor, Mr. Hank Schmitt of The Mooring Field Development Foundation who has been working relentlessly with P.A.Y.S in offering technical and some financial assistance towards this initiative. To that end, the Ministry has partnered with Mr. Schmitt in the organization of the impending Yachtie Appreciation Week scheduled to take place from February 14th – 21st 2016, by which time installation of the 25 moorings, phase 1, should have materialized; 150 yachters are expected in anticipation of this event.
In addition to this strengthened partnership, stakeholders in the tourist industry can look forward to even greater investments by the State in the yachting sub-sector because the Ministry is actively pursuing other avenues of support through the OECS High Commission in Brussels. The foundation for that effort was laid in November and December; first, during a visit by Her Excellency Dr. Len Ishmael (OECS Ambassador to Brussels and the European Union) and second, through two stakeholder forums held. Through this initiative by the Ministry of Tourism and Urban Renewal, we can expect support for the sub-sector in policy development, infrastructural development, the acquisition of equipment, training for frontline stakeholders, and public information campaigns.
The Ministry of Tourism and Urban Renewal considers the yachting product to be essential to Dominica’s tourism as it is for the Eastern and entire Caribbean region. While the net economic impact of the sector on Dominica’s GDP is uncertain, it may still be estimated to be between US$3-5 million per annum and has an estimated employment effect of 5-10% in the Portsmouth area alone. Due to the magnitude of the of business that it stimulates through both direct and indirect employment, the Ministry of Tourism will continue to strive unremittingly to transforming this sub-sector which is believed to have the potential to immensely propel growth and development of the country. Consequently, recent collaboration by the Ministry of Tourism with Dr. Len Ishmael, Dominica’s Ambassador to Brussels, for the development of a framework for yachting is expected to induce interest and consideration for financial assistance by potential sponsors. The framework recently developed sought to identify avenues for investment for (boatyards, moorings, jetties etc), technical assistance in the form of training and up-scaling of existing equipment and facilities. Provision for a consultancy in the development of a legislative framework to deal with inconveniences and transaction costs that are associated with clearing procedures at Customs among other important aspects were also included.
For further information, please contact the office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Urban Renewal at: