Newly re-elected President of the Dominica Community Tourism Association Inc (DCTAI) which seeks to highlight and develop community-based sites that can be used to attract local and overseas-based visitors to villages around the country, says the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the association some valuable lessons.
Josephine Dublin-Prince was officially reappointed into the position at the association’s 5th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held recently under the theme ‘Strengthening Community Tourism Through This Global Pandemic.’
“There is an opportunity now that COVID has presented to us. It has forced us to look within. COVID has forced us to be innovative and creative. It has also forced us to know more about utilization of our technology and we need to take advantage of that,” she said.
Dublin-Prince noted that on the island, “we do have the human resource and the natural assets to advance the sector, therefore the onus is on all citizens to capitalize on such resources.”
She said that as one of the major economic pillars for community development, community tourism must be taken seriously.
“The whole concept of community tourism is not just an individual thing, it consists of stimulating the community to do for itself. It consists of actually having the community to hone its own development,” Dublin-Prince remarked. “The whole issue of community development and community tourism is about the environment.”
She told the DCTAI members that adhering to the tourism master plan will see benefits for community-based Tourism and highlighted the recent revision of the DCTAI strategy to avoid diversion.
Commending the association for their ten years of service, Minister for Tourism Denise Charles reaffirmed the government’s commitment to assisting the development of community tourism.
She identified strong community groups as key to moving the sector forward.
“There are currently several community-based tourism projects in various stages of completion, the cold Soufriere washroom and reception facility, OPEC bay facility, Sulfur river tours, Khana heritage site, Layou washroom facility, Bense tourism and reception centre, Castle Bruce beach development, Indian river trail enhancement are just a few examples of government-financed projects recently completed or ongoing,” Charles stated.
The minister called on the citizenry to remain focused as she is of the view that all energies must be channeled towards building stronger community groups, especially during this global pandemic.
The DCTAI aims to collaborate with and enable groups and organizations to develop sustainable tourism products and services that are unique, marketable, and experimental in keeping with the national tourism policy and thrust.