Dominica’s tourism industry hinges on affordable access

ROSEAU, Dominica, Monday, October 1, 2012 – The issue of access into Dominica was at the centre of a special two-day conference at the Fort Young Hotel organized by the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) to focus on the destination and strategize on ways to entice more visitors to visit.

Head of the DDA, Colin Piper, said adequate access into the country continues to be a major concern and plans have to be made to address it. He noted that one approach to rectify this is to form partnerships with those involved in the aviation industry.

“There are no better people to address the issues than with those involved in the aviation business, either the managers of airports or the owners and operators of small airlines and the destination and its stakeholders which have made an investment in the industry,” he said. “And so bringing all these people together we are hoping to have substantive dialogue around the challenges that we face, making our issues known, making our issues real so that they realize that our tourism industry will not necessarily grow as we would have liked it until we address the issue of air access.”

The Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) said the conference was a timely intervention in the process of finding solutions to what is arguably Dominica’s biggest problem in terms of travel.

“We are really trying to wow the people, letting them know what the value is in Dominica,” President of the DHTA, Yvonne Armour, said. “We want them to know what the product offerings are, as well as the constraints. We have problems of reliability of airlift, with the baggage. It’s all about resolving issues of reliability, cost effectiveness. So that for our clients we can have some level of guarantee that when they come to Dominica it’s going to be seamless.”

Access Consultant from Trinidad and Tobago, Ian Bertrand, who has been working with the Discover Dominica Authority in finding practical solutions to the issues, said ferry access into the island should be further exploited.

“Ferry access is an important part of the access solution to Dominica. You have the two ferries that travel between Guadeloupe and Martinique and Saint Lucia into Cabrits in Portsmouth and Roseau. They bring in significant numbers of visitors to Dominica. Since we are looking at optimizing all the resources available to Dominica we have to look at both air and sea access,” Bertrand said. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)