Achieving herd immunity against the dreaded Covid-19 could determine future tourist arrivals to Dominica says Director of Tourism, Colin Piper.
Herd immunity, or community immunity, will be achieved when a large part of Dominica’s population becomes immune to the coronavirus. The Dominica government has set a target of 70% of population being vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity.
Cruise ships are a major part of the country’s tourism offering and a major source of employment for a large cross-section of the population.
“The intention of the cruise lines is to really have passengers that have been vaccinated and so the issue of herd immunity in Dominica is even more important, but we will be beginning the discussion and the development of protocols for the cruise industry,” Piper said while speaking as a guest on the Prime Minister’s Annou Pale talk show recently.
He said a cruise line that looks at where a destination is as it relates to herd immunity, is going to make economic decisions.
Furthermore, Piper indicated that, in terms of cruise preparations, Dominica had already started when Seaborne had indicated its intent and desire to come in December. However, he said that was put on hold, “but now we are going to come back and start with the preparation of cruise protocols.”
As it relates to the ferry services, Piper said to a certain extent the ferry is not operating to Dominica due to the protocols in place in the French territories and how strict travel-out is.
He said further that the ferry has undergone a refurbishment and is ready, “but we are awaiting when in fact we will open up to ferry services, particularly between the French West Indies and St Lucia.”
Meantime, Prime Minister Skerrit said he has seen correspondences from the cruise lines asking about Dominica’s vaccination program, “how many people have been vaccinated and clearly they will be using that data to determine to an extent if they want to come, if at all…”
“So it’s absolutely important that those of us in the tourism industry should take note of that,” he said.