As part of initiatives to develop the yachting industry in Dominica, the Ministry of Tourism has partnered with the Portsmouth Association of Yachting Services or PAYS and Offshore Passage Opportunities to host a Yachtie Appreciation Week 2016.
Hans Schmitt, President of Offshore Passage Opportunities, said at the event’s launch at Cabrits National Park this past weekend that this activity was created to promote awareness of Dominica’s yachting sector.
Twenty-four thousand dollars was raised by Schmitt and his organization for materials to establish a new mooring field in Portsmouth.
“This is important because, in places like the BVI where people fly in and spend a week sailing from beach bar to beach bar, Dominica has so much more to offer. So a visiting yachtie wants to know that he has a secure mooring to tie to and the security that there is no problem with his boat. Unlike the BVI where you’re sailing at looking at your boat, here you want to leave your boat on a secure mooring and go visit the island and see the wonders,” Schmitt said.
He added that an invasive sea grass off the shore of Dominica and other islands have made it difficult to anchor hence the importance of the moorings which are better for marine environment than dragging anchors.
CEO of the Discover Dominica Authority and Director of Tourism, Colin Piper says the DDA is happy to be collaborating for this event aimed at increasing the islands yachtie population.
“This year we have over 15 yachts and more than 100 people…The feeling is that because of the [event’s] success the goal is to increase by three the number of yachts next year.”
He sees ensuing success especially based on the way yachties do word of mouth advertising.
Joan Conover of the Seven Seas Cruising Association presented a burgee (a distinguishing flag of a boating organization) to the Hon. Tourism Minister, Senator Robert Tonge.
She explained that her group helps with PAYS and Dominica in emergencies such as TS Erika.
The Hon. Minister expressed his gratitude for the support after the storm.
PAYS continues its work in tandem with the Ministry of Tourism to market Dominica and give visitors a great experience.