Carnival Victory. * Photo credit: 4seasonstvl.com/southern_caribbean_cruise.htm

The Dominica Freedom Party is alarmed at the announcement that Carnival Victory will be ending its calls to Dominica  in November this year. It is concerned at the negative impact that this will have not only on the tourism sector but more particularly on  the many persons who depend exclusively on the cruise tourism industry for their economic survival.

In the wake of this development, the Dominica Freedom Party calls on government to  stop paying lip service to tourism and take immediate action to develop stay over tourism.  For the past 20 years, we have sat back and relied on cruise tourism as the sole catalyst for foreign exchange generation.  This continues to be a dangerous and non-sustainable approach towards tourism development.

The government through the Ministry of Tourism and more importantly through the Discover Dominica Authority must  undertake an aggressive marketing campaign to attract additional  stay over tourists  to Dominica.  Tourism officials must place greater emphasis on the quality of our product – destination Dominica,  so that the total visitor experience is enhanced.  This means additional air access,  promotional campaigns, improved customer service, higher standards of excellence, a cleaner environment, a better road infrastructure leading to our main tourist attractions, more indigenous souvenir products, improved safety for locals and tourists alike and an even closer private public sector collaboration so that all stakeholders are involved in the process.

While cruise visitors outnumber stay over tourists, it is obvious that more needs to be done to retain and build on our share of the cruise and stay-over markets. This can only be achieved when we honestly admit that while numbers count they cannot be used to paint the wrong picture or be used to avoid the basic ingredients that are required for sustained and profitable growth from the tourism industry.