Tourism Minister Senator Robert Tonge has revealed that up to 43 percent of hotel accommodations in Dominica has been restored following the passage of Hurricane Maria.
He was speaking during the sitting of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament on Wednesday.
“We’ve begun our visits, another round of visits to all of the hotels to understand where they are at and how they are moving forward, because right after the storm we only had about 20 percent of our room stock and as you can well imagine many hotels had to layoff persons, but as of today we are up to 43 percent of our room stock in terms of hotels that have reopened their rooms and they continue to work, and we are hoping that by the end of the year we should be up to 60, 70, 80 percent,” he said.
He said hotel owners were encouraged to make use of a special facility at the AID Bank.
“We encourage them again to use the loan facility at two percent for a 15-year repayment period or a one-year grace period at the Aid Bank so that they can upgrade their properties and again to be ready,” he stated.
Meantime, he said 95 percent of the country’s tourism sites are ready and presentable for visitors.
“Normally it takes 15 minutes to walk to the Emerald Pool and after the storm it took my staff members over two and a half hours,” he noted. “Right now over 95 percent of our sites are ready and presentable to our visitors and therefore visitors are now coming to our country and enjoying what we have to offer.”
Tonge stated further that the government will continue to work to make sure the remaining sites are in a proper order.
“All our premier and signature sites such as the Trafalgar Falls, the Middleham Falls, the Emerald Pool, the Fresh Water Lake, the Indian River are all done,” he revealed.
Tonge said thousands were spent to clean up some of the beaches on the island.
He said in terms of dive, “our dive is still one of the best in the world, top 10 in the world, only a few of our sites close to shore have been impacted, but all of the other sites are open.”
“Out of 10 operators only one is not operating,” Tonge remarked.
He said Dominica is still a pristine area for dive and the government will continue to work on that.