letter to the editorDear Editor,

It’s been a week now since the Caribbean Tourism Association (CTO) released statistics on region’s performance in the tourism sector in 2015.

I’ve looked at the statistics myself and compared to other Caribbean islands, Dominica’s performance can only be described as ‘dismal.’

Late last year, as I can recall, Dominica’s performance in a cruise ship survey was nothing to write home about. In that survey an overwhelming number of people who responded said they were not satisfied with destination Dominica and many say they will not recommend a land-based or resort vacation on the island to family or friends and will not return in the next three years.

In response, Tourism Minister, Robert Tonge, said in October that a Revised Tourism Regulation would be tabled at Parliament’s next sitting which will give the Ministry of Tourism the power to hold people accountable for not adhering to the service standards of Dominica.

Following this pronouncement, to my knowledge nothing has been heard from Tonge since.

Now, the new report by the CTO, which sadly was neglected by the media in Dominica (except for DNO which had two articles), shows Dominica’s tourism performance was below par and we are yet to hear from Tonge on what strategies he has in mind to move us out of this doldrum.

Let us take a look at Dominica’s performance, as compared to some of our immediate neighbours.

Stop-over arrivals:

Stop-over arrivals to Dominica contracted by 0.3 percent to 48,154. Now statistics were available for Dominica from January to July 2015. That was before Erika, so we cannot blame the storm for this.

Stop-over arrivals for St. Lucia (January to December) grew by 2.0 percent; St. Vincent (January to November) by 5.4 percent; Grenada (January to November) by 6.3 percent.

This shows that only Dominica experienced contraction in stop-over arrivals in 2015, while our neighbours seem to be doing fine.

Cruise ship visitors:

For January to December 2015, cruise ship arrivals to Dominica contracted by 2.5 percent as compared to 2014.

St. Lucia grew by 5.6 percent and Grenada grew by 19.6 percent.

However, we can take comfort that cruise ship visitors to St Vincent dropped by a massive 6.7 percent.

Based on these statistics, Dominica’s tourism product has contracted in both stop-over and cruise ship arrivals. In other words, our product is not doing well.

That is why I am asking that we hear from Mr. Tonge on what strategies he has in mind to move the product forward.