Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has announced an increase in Dominica’s marketing budget, to allow for several new initiatives.
It will include increased budgeting for the World Creole Music Festival.
“In this upcoming budget, you will see an increase in the marketing budget for Dominica,” he stated, at a meeting, in Soufriere, on Monday.
Skerrit did not reveal the amount of money which will be allocated for the increase in the marketing budget, however, organizations such as the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) have been calling for an increase over the years.
In 2014, the organization said it would like to see Dominica double its budget in marketing the destination, from the then $4-million to $8-million.
In 2015, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced an increase of $2-million to $6-million.
However, at that time, the Opposition believed that the amount was not adequate and proposed that the budget should be increased to $10-million.
In 2015, CEO of the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) Colin Piper said a study was conducted for the DDA’s Corporate Strategy and Action Plan, to determine what the figures of an increased marketing budget would be in order to compete against some of the destinations in the Caribbean.
He noted that the overall figure stood between $8-million and $12-million.
Meanwhile in Soufriere on Monday evening, Skerrit revealed that funds from the Citizenship by Investment Program will be made available to the Agricultural Industrial and Development (AID) Bank for on-lending to existing hoteliers.
“You will see a substantial amount of money from the economic citizenship program will be set aside, and placed at the AID Bank, to on-lend to existing hotel plans, to upgrade their rooms to export-ready rooms, upgrade their restaurants, upgrade their pools and ensure that they can be at a level to compete,” he explained.
These loans, he said, will be given at a highly concessionary interest rate.
This, he noted, will pair well with LIAT’s increased flights to Dominica, to take effect on June 1, 2016.
The new schedule follows a meeting with the island’s tourism officials, earlier this month, spurred by the Prime Minister’s strongly worded letter to the regional airline’s Chief Executive Officer, on April 8, 2016.
Based on these recent developments, the prime minister is of the view that the tourism industry “is on the cusp of really taking off, and taking off in a huge way.”