The tourism industry has remained a top priority for the Government of Dominica as efforts to brand the country as an eco-tourism destination has expanded over the years.
At the onset of the covid19 pandemic in 2020, the Ministry of Tourism launched the Safe in Nature programme followed by the Work in Nature programme, both aimed at presenting Dominica as a safe and peaceful alternative to travel to during the pandemic.
The 2021/2022 National Budget further outlined the path forward for the tourism sector with an allocation of six million dollars for the fiscal year.
Prime Minister of Dominica, and Minister of Finance, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit stated that Government will be making major investments to facilitate the transformation of the tourism sector.
These investments include the continuation of the Roseau Enhancement Programme, which aims to turn the city into a hub of commercial activities.
“One of the aims of this Government is to increase opportunities for visitors to spend more in Dominica. We are pursuing several avenues to fulfil this objective. One of these is the Roseau Enhancement Project. We are transforming Roseau into a modern attractive shopping, hospitality, and entertainment centre, with amenities which will allow visitors to enjoy day and night life, thereby creating business opportunities for our people” PM Skerrit stated.
The rehabilitation and upgrade of natural sites are also on the cards for the tourism sector in the upcoming fiscal year. The Prime Minister noted that these upgrades will take place at all the most visited attractions around the island.
“We have also pursued the upgrading of our sites and attractions to make them more appealing and accessible to our visitors. In this financial year, we will see substantial improvements to some of our most visited sites and attractions, in areas such as Champagne Beach, Scotts Head, Indian River, Trafalgar Falls, Emerald Pool, Wotten Waven and others,” the PM noted.
The Waitukubuli Trail has been an existing attraction for eco tourists looking for an adventure for many years. The trail will also undergo rehabilitation works in the upcoming fiscal year.
“In addition, a complete audit and redesign of the Waitukubuli National Trail will be undertaken, to allow for its full rehabilitation and reconstruction. Our trails and sites are the basis for the unique appeal of Dominica. As such, it is important to continue to take bold steps towards management, preservation, sustainability, marketing and monetizing of these assets. We recognize that government’s investments in these tourism assets will be more meaningful with the participation of all key stakeholders,” PM Skerrit noted.
PM Skerrit then explained that Government will be establishing an Authority geared towards overseeing all aspects of trails and sites in Dominica. The Authority will coordinate the development, maintenance, financial management, and conservation of the trails and sites under one legal authority.
The construction of three additional five-star hotels is expected to increase Dominica’s room stock while attracting even more visitors to Dominica.
“Dominica can now boast of having three 5-star hotels and another three are under construction. These investments will substantially increase the number of export-ready rooms available on island and be an impetus for attracting more visitors, and more business to our shores. They also encourage a vibrant staycation culture. By 2023, an additional four hundred and ninety-eight (498) rooms will become available. This is a massive achievement in a short space of time for a small country like Dominica,” the Prime Minister noted.
The agro-tourism industry will also see significant investments in the fiscal year. These developments are expected to reinforce the backward and forward linkages between these two growth sectors.
“The tremendous investments towards increasing productivity of the agricultural sector will reinforce the backward and forward linkages between these two growth sectors. Farmers and fisherfolk can rely on the tourism sector for a constant and secure market and hoteliers can assure guests that their food is grown locally. We are currently propagating and producing a number of crops, livestock and sea foods to supply the major hotels. As we expand the agricultural sector, there is no doubt that we will be able to fully supply all of the hotels with fresh products. Agro-tourism is also an evolving pillar under the overall thrust of the industry,” the Prime Minister went on to say.
These developments will all culminate with the construction of the International Airport. Leading up to the construction, Government continues to work on increasing aerial access into Dominica.
“We have been working on air access. This continues to bear fruit with Caribbean Airlines now offering direct flights from Barbados and Trinidad and American Airlines’ recent announcement of a direct flight from Miami. Mr. Speaker, our unique product offering is sought after by travellers from all over the world. Government’s investment in the construction of an International Airport will bring the world within closer reach to all that Dominica has to offer and will have significant positive benefits for all of our tourism stakeholders,” PM Skerrit added.