Areas such as the Botanical Gardens are being cleaned

Tourism stakeholders on the island have made known their intent to have Dominica ready to accept cruise ship by January 1, 2018, despite the ravages caused by Hurricane Maria.

Tourism Director, Colin Piper said Heads and CEOs of cruise lines have been written to on the matter and a number of tourist sites are being worked on.

“The Honorable Minister (of tourism, Robert Tonge) has penned a letter and has sent out to the CEOs and the heads of each of the cruise lines indicating to them that Dominica’s intention is to have sites in the country in a state of readiness accept cruise ships by January 1,” he said on state-owned DBS Radio. “And so we have given ourselves a series of milestones by which we will review and see where we are along the way.”

Piper said the authorities intend to invite members of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and cruise lines to visit Dominica “and satisfy themselves” on progress made on tourism sites.

“It is also our intention to record and document the progress along the way so that we can through video indicate to them what is happening with the sites,” he noted.

He stated that a number of sites have been identified, such as the popular Emerald Pool and Trafalgar Falls and others, for cleaning and making sure they are free and clear of debris.

“That means vehicular access to the sites and that also means walking to the sites,” he explained.

He pointed out that the Ministry of Tourism has partnered with the Ministry of Forestry, with the help of Cuban volunteers, to take care of fallen trees in areas such as the Botanical Gardens and Emerald Pool, “which has already begun and soon to begin is Trafalgar Falls.”

“We have asked the tour operators – understanding that some of these sites will be ready – to get your packages ready and begin discussions with the shore excursion managers of the cruise lines,” Piper noted.