With the reopening of the cruise tourism sector on the horizon, the Government of Dominica, through the Ministry of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives is encouraging all the relevant stakeholders to get vaccinated.

As part of the campaign, the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment hosted a vaccination drive for all tourism stakeholders on Tuesday, May 18 2021.

Minister for Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, Hon. Denise Charles stated that over fifty-one percent of Dominica’s tourism stakeholders have already been vaccinated.

“The Ministry of Tourism has gone on a massive campaign to ensure that our stakeholders understand the importance of getting vaccinated in order to partake in cruise tourism. We have about 943 stakeholders in the sector which includes our vendors, taxi drivers, tour operators among others. To date, 51 percent of our stakeholders have been vaccinated,” the Minister stated.

The campaign was held at the Tourism Information Office on the Dame Eugenia Charles Boulevard between 9:00 am to noon. The Tourism Minister explained that getting vaccinated will allow stakeholders to service cruise ship passengers.

“That is targeting our stakeholders, because if you are not vaccinated you will not be able to partake in cruise activities. The vaccines are free and all stakeholders have the opportunity to get vaccinated. Take advantage of it. It helps reduce all the stresses related to ensuring that everyone is safe if we all get vaccinated. It makes life much easier for both the travelers coming to Dominica and for our people operating in Dominica,” Hon. Charles noted.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of Discover Dominica Authority, Mr. Colin Piper stated that it is a requirement for stakeholders to get vaccinated.

“Right now there is a requirement for tourism stakeholders to be vaccinated and if you are not vaccinated for whatever reason, then in order to do things like enter the port and interact with cruise passengers you will then have to show a negative PCR test which will be done every week and that will be done at your expense. And so our feeling is while the vaccines are free of charge and allow you to interact freely we are suggesting to stakeholders that they get vaccinated,” Mr. Piper noted.

“We have been on air and on a drive to inform all stakeholders that really and truly the clear path to opening up the tourism industry is for the tourism stakeholders to be vaccinated. And so this is another step in what we have been trying to communicate all along and we hope that the stakeholders will heed the call,” the DDA CEO explained.

He encouraged stakeholders to get vaccinated early to ensure that they are prepared for the arrival of the cruise ships.

 “Typically when it’s time to get certified, we have a rush on the final week. But we are trying to advise stakeholders, especially in the cruise industry that you cannot do that this time around because in order for you to service the cruise passengers, there’s a certain amount of time that needs to elapse between when you take your first and when you take your second shot so they need to calculate that and make sure that they plan ahead. And so that’s what we are suggesting. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Come now and get vaccinated,” Mr. Piper went on to say.

The first cruise ship is expected on June 6, 2021 though scheduling has not yet been totally confirmed.

“The stakeholders really need to be ready for that time period. So we will have about two hundred and forty something ships between when they first come in summer up until about April of 2022, and that is a far cry in terms of more ships than we had in previous years. So again we are encouraging all stakeholders to get vaccinated so that they can participate fully in the economics of the cruise industry and the tourism industry,” Mr. Piper further added.