Over the last month, we have heard assertions by different individuals, as well as Mr. McCarthy Marie, a member of the Dominica Hotel Association, that hotel occupancy is not near where the STR reports it to be.

“It is important to note however, that the accuracy of any analysis is incumbent on the inputs,” said Kevin A. Francis, executive vice president of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association. “While we acknowledge that the scrutiny of STR’s analysis is healthy, we need to understand the context of the information. According to statistics from the Discover Dominica Authority there are 308 exportable rooms on island, with more planning to come on stream. Out of these certified accommodations, the STR reporting properties make up the lion’s share of these rooms with 62% of all exportable rooms. As it relates to hotel occupancy, the DHTA believes that this significant share of rooms by reporting properties is an accurate indicator of occupancy in Dominica.”

He added, “There is always room for growth in the industry and, our member, Mr. Marie is motivated to see that come to fruition. It is our hope, with the help of our members and other major stakeholders, to have all properties certified with the DDA and reporting to STR in order to get an even more accurate assessment of the industry.”

The DHTA has invested a lot of man hours advocating for a more data collection friendly environment.

“This very topic was put to the forefront of our last Action Through Collaboration Talks (ACTalks) where our members impressed the importance of collecting data to the membership and how they could use this data to make more informed decisions,” remarked Francis. “This issue goes far beyond just occupancy. It speaks to competitiveness, efficiency and long term profitability. The association, which functions as the voice of the tourism industry, cannot seek to improve the industry if we cannot first measure progress against historical information. The collecting of relevant data, across all industries should be at the forefront of the minds of business owners and policy makers”.

Arienne Perryman, President of the Association spoke to the issue of data collection as part of her address at the 48th annual general meeting of the Association.

She outlined where the efforts of the DHTA will be placed for 2018.

“The DHTA will be advocating for a National Human Resource Development audit:- we want to always be prepared for tomorrow’s guests, and notably welcome our diaspora community with service excellence and our usual warmness. To understand where we need to be, we need to know where we are at,” she said.

Francis added, “There is a definite need to take a look at the overall attitude towards the collection of data in Dominica and I would like to invite any member or stakeholder to work along with the DHTA to help shape the conversation so we can continue the important work of moving the tourism industry. The DHTA, DDA and Ministry of Tourism will continue to work alongside each other to ensure that a better data collection environment is fostered.”