There has been an increase in cruise ship calls to Dominica in 2103-2014

There has been an increase in cruise ship calls to Dominica in 2103-2014

Dominica’s cruise industry is continuing to see steady growth with the Ministry of Tourism confirming that the 2013-2014 cruise ship season saw a considerable increase of 32.8 percent in cruise passengers to the island.

“We have had good reports from our stakeholders in terms of business. Throughout the season we had a cruise ship in Port basically everyday and that has been very good,” Kathleen Cuffy, Head of Product Development of the Discover Dominica Authority stated in an interview with the Government Information Service (GIS) on Tuesday May 13th, 2014.

Tourism statistics reveal that in 2012, the island saw 128 ships call into port with a total of 212,316 passengers.

In 2013-2014 Dominica welcomed 195 cruise ship calls, an increase of 23.4% to the previous year. As it relates to actual tourist arrivals, Cuffy revealed that there was an increase of two hundred and eighty one thousand nine hundred and thirty-three passengers, an increase of 32.8%.

Statistics also revealed that back in 2010 Dominica’s cruise industry suffered a major blow as a result of the decision by Carnival Cruise Lines to pull out from the island, after serving the destination for 21 years.

Cuffy stated that while the cruise industry is still suffering the effects of the decision by Carnival Cruise Lines, the island’s cruise sector is not doing too badly.

“We are not where we would like to be as we were in 2010. Upon the pull out of Carnival, we lost a ship which made approximately 40 calls per year, so that has drastically reduced our amount, nevertheless the calls that we have had throughout this year’s season has been very good and they have been increasing as we see from the numbers, “she said.

Cuffy added that this year’s cruise activity generated good economic returns for the island.

“In terms of the amount of money spent by each visitor, it is about EC$90.00 per person. On average there are about 2000 passengers on these ships and so if they each spend EC$90.00 you can well understand the multiplier effect. The vendors, the tour guides, the taxi drivers all benefit from that,” the tourism official stated.

Cuffy further revealed that quite apart from the revenue being generated visitors continue to take advantage of the many attractive sites.

“They are also quite accessible to the cruise visitors. You will appreciate that their time on island is very limited. A cruise person may never necessarily get to the Boiling Lake because it takes approximately 6 hours to get there, so we try as much as possible to make sites available that are easily accessible.”

Cuffy told the GIS interview that to complement the existing highly visited sites the Ministry of Tourism is seriously looking to develop other nature sites across the country.

“We try to ensure that there are new and exciting things happening. We are looking to develop a couple new sites including the Spanny Falls, the Jaco Falls, and the Sultan Falls in the Castle Bruce area.”

She noted that a number of existing sites will also be enhanced to guarantee even greater visitor experience.

The Tourism official said the reviews from the passengers about their experience on the island have been encouraging.

“The feedback from the passengers has been very good. They are very happy about the type of cultural entertainment that is put in place for them. The musical entertain that is provided for them upon arrival on Dominica, impact positively on them and we want to continue to do that in the next season.”

While feedback from cruise visitors about Dominica is good, the tourism official admits that there is no place for complacency. She said the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) will continue to make available training opportunities available for stakeholders in the industry.

“Some of them have started already, as we speak we have a tour guide training programe in Spanish, we have vendors training, we had a training exercise for taxi drivers last week. We want to take the opportunity during the slow months to just reiterate what it is that stakeholders have to do and to allow stakeholders to realize that they are ambassadors for the tourism product in Dominica and it is important that they provide good service.”

According to Cuffy, the Government of Dominica through the Ministry of Tourism will also continue to negotiate with new cruise lines about the possibility of doing business with Dominica.