Colin Piper was providing an update on Dominica’s tourism industry. File photo

Director of Tourism, Colin Piper, has said that despite the fact that 2018 was a challenging year, Dominica’s tourism industry surpassed its expectations and received international recognition in various areas. 

He spoke at a Digital Marketing, Travel & Distribution Systems Seminar on January 17th, 2019, at which he provided an update on the tourism industry. 

Piper said that all tourists’ sites are now opened since the passage of Hurricane Maria.

“We monitored about 23 major sites and attractions pre-Maria. I guess all of them were impacted and now we are indicating all 23 of them are open. We are just waiting on forestry to officially give us the word on Champagne and Boiling Lake but as you know, those two sites are being utilized. So, we’re essentially at 100% in terms of sites an attractions,” Piper explained.

 The Tourism Director said that they were able to salvage a cruise season in the beginning of January 2018 through one-on-one visits and by attending trade shows where they could engage cruise executives.

“From a cuisine perspective, we introduced the Taste of Dominica and this is an event we hope to continue into the future essentially creating an event around food and cuisine and believe it or not, a lot of people travel for food and cuisine,” he added.

He said in terms of hiking, it was a case of committing finances to resuscitate segments of the Waitukubuli National Trail and also on some sites and attractions in order to improve the guest experience.

Piper indicated that revealed that a destination assessment was done in terms of health and wellness to understand what we have on island that can be considered in the health and wellness space and training was done in terms of tourism service to provide in keeping with our man made we certainly have had a series of training’s where we focus on different sub-sectors and we will continue in 2019.

He said that in spite of challenges faced after Hurricane Maria, Dominica was acknowledged in various lists in the world and the country’s main and upcoming hotels were also recognized.

“Secret bay was named “best resort” in the Caribbean and also one of the 10 Caribbean priorities that made the list of ‘100 most incredible hotels in the world’.  Thus far for 2019 three of Dominica’s upcoming hotels have made the Forbes hotel list of the top ten most anticipated new Caribbean hotels in 2019 (Jungle bay, Anichi and Kempinski).”    

Piper mentioned that strategic initiatives will be implemented to rebuild the tourism industry in Dominica to include a 15-million-dollar loan facility at the AID Bank post-Hurricane Maria to provide support to the private sector.

The DDA executive said that in order to make Dominica a more desirable vacation destination in 2019, we need to make incremental improvements in marketing and promotion, integrity of customer service to the guests and access to Dominica.

“And if we can improve on these, then were going to be in a better position thought-out the year than we are currently,” Piper declared.