Tonge said his ministry has to make sure all sites are ready

Tonge said his ministry has to make sure all sites are ready

While a significant portion of the country’s landscape has been affected the bulk of the sites are still accessible and can be viewed by all, Tourism Minister has said.

The cruise season opens today (Monday) and Tonge said at a press conference on Friday that his ministry has to ensure that these sites are in a “ready state” so that visitors can enjoy them.

“With regards to the site and attractions road access has been restored to all major sites, with the exception of Victoria Falls, Glacee Pool in the South East,” he stated.

In fact, he indicated, most of the popular sites in Dominica remain unaffected including Emerald Pool, Mero Beach, Cabrits National Park, Indian River, Kalinago Barana Aute, Concord River, Botanical Gardens, Morne Bruce, The Dominica Museum, The Old Market, Fresh Water Lake, Boeri Lake, Middleham Falls and Sari Sari Falls.

“So as you can see the majority of sites the visitors go to in large numbers are operational so we can welcome visitors to our shores and ensure that they have a great experience,” Tonge said.

He revealed that access to the Boiling Lake remains an issue.

“We still have land slippage on the second half of the trail from the Valley of Desolation into the Boiling Lake which makes access difficult for the average hiker, so we only expect persons who are going there to be serious hikers and they really need to go there with a professional tour guide to ensure that their lives are not going to be challenged,” he explained.

With the majority of the tourism sites open, Tonge believed the island is ready for business.

He said the Ministry of Tourism, along with Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) and Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association (DHTA), was able to contact the majority of accommodations, tour operators, service providers and the popular attractions to ensure that the country is in a state of readiness.

“Seventy-seven out of the 88 accommodations we contacted are operational and 10 are working towards reopening, so in a rough, we are about 80 percent and we are hoping that by the time the season is in full swing we should be up to about 90 percent,” he noted. “Thirty of the 35 tour and water sport operators are operational and the others are working towards resuming operation soon.”