Passenger facility charge takes effect; DHTA concerned

L’Express des Isles, Val Ferry

Chief Executive Officer of the Dominica Air and Seaport Authority (DASPA), Benoit Bardouille has said that the ‘passenger facility charge’ of US$10 for persons entering Dominica from any seaport of entry which was scheduled to begin on April 2nd 2019, has taken effect. 

He said passengers have not contributed directly to DASPA since 1992.  

“In a number of countries, you have that charge being put. It is more less for services because if you look [at] what is being paid to us from the ferry, one ferry pays to DASPA something like EC$225 and those charges have been in place since 1992. There has never been a change in terms of the ferry charges to Dominica and the passengers themselves have not contributed anything directly to DASPA,” he said.

He added, “Obviously. DASPA has to provide services both at the airport and seaport for those passengers utilizing the facilities and if you realize you have charges being paid by persons on departure but that is in terms of embarkation tax… and so on. What we are saying is that new charge is merely going to DASPA in terms of services being offered to the passengers.”

He said funding is required for the upkeep of both of the airports as well as the seaports.

Meantime, President of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) Marvlyn Alexander James said members of DHTA are concerned that this increase will impact the cost of travel to Dominica and have a negative impact on visitor arrivals.

“Our recovery is fragile and we must do everything we can to protect the competitiveness of our sector,” she stated.  

“Such an increase will have an impact, particularly as other destinations serviced by the Ferry do not impose taxes at such a high level. We are already challenged by the disproportionately high taxes of our regional airlines, at times representing up to 50% of the cost of an airline ticket.” 

DHTA calls on the Government and DASPA to review its tax framework at the country’s air and sea ports with a view to securing the sector’s future competitiveness.

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65 Comments

  1. Winston Smith
    April 10, 2019

    The costs of running the ferry terminal and the airports should be met by the government, not by passengers. All travel taxes to and from Dominica should be removed. Travelling to and from Dominica is already too expensive due to taxes (around 50% of an air ticket is tax), the service is shoddy, and the facilities are poor. In order to encourage more travel despite these poor standards, it should cost half as much as it currently does. Increasing the cost to passengers is backwards, short-sighted and will have the inevitable effect of actually reducing revenue because fewer people will travel here. There should be more enlightened management and a bolder strategy.

  2. Maybe
    April 9, 2019

    I don’t think bad will no if he coming or going service on the port so poor you looking for more cash you are a failure just like the pm all you lazy people cripple Dominica

  3. Sakway Kouchon
    April 9, 2019

    It is so glaring. More people are using the seaports than the thing in Marigot. As soon as Bad will see that, he come up with a suggestion to get more money. What serviced does DASPA provide for the passengers? Dominica is one of the most expensive places to travel to because of high taxes. You are going to further increase the cost of travelling to Dominica? Well is now we fini bat. Greed is going to sink this country. Dictators at all levels are making decisions without thinking about the consequences. When is election??

  4. Disturbed
    April 8, 2019

    What improvement has been implemented since 1992? What are we paying for? Other countries have improved facilities so the taxes implemented are justified but whats our justification? Cost of living is sky rocket… taxes are paid on every single goods and services in this country. The people of Dominica are already giving more than receiving yet every day its a new charge for the poor people of Dominica to pay while our health sector is compromised, our infrastructure is the worst in the Caribbean. God help us cause these top down approaches are crippling our country.

    • jackarie
      April 9, 2019

      So improvement supposed to make on it own right? How do you buy bread? You ain’t supposed to earn money first? So if since 1992 not one cent has been collected how in his name are we supposed to make these improvements that you speak about?

  5. Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
    April 8, 2019

    Whenever you want to reduce the purchase of an item, a stupid entry tax by Bad Wheel and his cohorts is certainly the way to go. Travelers are now being robbed by an entry tax. Where are the Economist who advise these inept bunch of fools? Have they been bought lock, stock and barrel.

  6. Karl Orndem
    April 8, 2019

    All i want to know, as a national and a resident of Dominica, if i dont pay the 10 us dollars, what will happen ?

    Will i be deported to the country i just visited?
    Will i be jailed?
    Will i be detained and forced to do manual labor?
    Will i be given a charge ticket will the threat of being taken to court?

    This goes against my rights as a national and a resident i believe. You cannot force me to pay to enter my own jurisdiction. because i want to know what happens when i tell you i dont have any money on me. I bet some of you will say, oh you have money to travel and go shopping but you cannot pay 10 dollars? My response in the line at immigration to those comments would be something about your mom first of all. Secondly id tell you to mind your business about what i do or dont can or cant. thirdly id tell you to come and take the ten dollars if you can get it. i not paying to enter my own home. i’ll sleep on the port.

  7. Alicia
    April 8, 2019

    I can bet you that none of these ports are going to be upgraded with this added fee. You have no problem then pay for many. But you have to think of the type of people who use the seaports frequently and the options that they have.
    This also is not a tax that will go. According to the original memo, this was an existing tax, that this Bardouille decided to increase and stop collection from the agencies.

  8. Truth Be Told
    April 8, 2019

    Are we trying to stop the little stayover visitors who visit Dominica? This has to be the most backwards tax ever introduce! Short term gain to destroy our long term potential to bring in stayover visitors! Is anyone strategizing and doing any visionary critical thinking on behalf of this ‘dotish’ Government?

  9. April 8, 2019

    Dear Mr Bardouille

    Most passengers arriving in Dominica by sea already face a queue to leave the ferry, then a queue for Immigration, then a queue to collect their luggage, then a queue for Customs. And now you want them to queue to pay US$10 entry fee.

    Please could you rethink the way in which you are charging this fee.

    Amoung the more obvious solutions are (a) increase the existing departure tax or (b) arrange for this fee to be included in the cost of the ferry ticket. Bearing in mind that even LIAT has been able to work with the Government to charge and pay the Departure Tax, it should not be that difficult to organise.

    It would be a shame if the first impressions of Passengers were of almost endless queues…

  10. We Voting Labour
    April 7, 2019

    Dear Dominican citizens and visitors to Dominica. You will recall in 2015 our beloved country was devastated by Tropical Storm Ericka and in 2017 Hurricane Maria again ravaged our beautiful Nature Island.

    The country needs to be rebuilt, it cannot be done with talk but it can be done with money, that is why i have no problem to pay my departure tax when i am going to the USA and pay my new arrival tax when I am returning from the USA.

    All countries charges taxes to come and go, Dominica is not any different. We need to upgrade our airports and our sea ports, can any Dominican citizen or visitor to our beloved country pay for these developments happening all around us on his or her own.

    Let’s all, Dominican citizens and visitors, hid the call of our beloved Prime Minister, Doctor the Honourable Doctor Roosevelt Skerrit by becoming resilient and pay the taxes even though they are high and even though some visitors may choose to go elsewhere, those who truly care will come…

    • Pipo
      April 8, 2019

      You’ d better join Melissa’s band because you suffering from amnesia brother. I challenge you to name the countries, any country that charge that tax to their citizens and visitors. Bet you Melissa is not one of them. You making your money in the U.S.A. While many people here chewing on wood. Shame on you.

      • Karl Orndem
        April 8, 2019

        Tortola asks for it. I dont know if the citizens pay, but visitors do.

    • He ruined our country
      April 8, 2019

      You are a very sick man. Ask Skerrit at the red clinic to give you some money to see a doctor.

  11. Looking on
    April 7, 2019

    In most of the comment we see people talking about Tourists. Will this affect the Dominican traveller who as we know is short on cash and looked at the Ferry as a savior from the high taxes at liat?
    There is a lot that can be said about this for example why not increase the cost to the Ferry company so the company can charge a higher price on the ticket but shared by all the passenger so the real cost to the passenger will be less. THERE are other options but as is, I hope this works for the better of the country.

    I would be interesting to know, how much a cruise tourist pays to enter Domnica.

  12. Concerned
    April 6, 2019

    I run an Airbnb, and according to their statistics, bookings for the month of April is already down by 31%. Ponder on this.

  13. Mike
    April 6, 2019

    I can’t believe that Dominicans have kept these people in power for 18yrs, the joke is actually on Dominicans who never had it so bad and their leaders never had it so good.

  14. Jp
    April 6, 2019

    Well I’m hoping the next time I visit Dominica, I won’t have to lift a heavy suitcase up unto that centuries-old checking table that they have at Douglas-Charles airport eh..100usd can at least pay for a ramp-like extension to get suitcases up on that stupid table. I’m not even asking for automated tables yet, just the wooden extension to what’s already there. Sigh

    • Me
      April 6, 2019

      That is the next level!

    • Island peeps
      April 6, 2019

      I thought they said $10.00US and not a $100us. I would also like to know where you travel to and they lift your suitcase for you. What is wrong with the table in Douglass Charles airport? If you have an issue with a table where people rest dirty luggage then something is seriously wrong with you and the people supporting your nonsense. Instead of always staying on the sideline and criticizing Dominica why don’t you post a picture of the check you donated to Dominica to help improve it’s infrastructure. Dominica was hit by two natural disasters so help it recover.

  15. Annon
    April 6, 2019

    It most definitely will have an impact on any tourists. They won’t bother coming at all. All of this nickel and diming people to death will not increase tourism and may even cause residents to think twice about traveling.

  16. Braindamage
    April 5, 2019

    It’s an Arm and a Leg to clear an item at those ports.
    Now Badwill :( is adding an Eye and Ear to those hard times..
    $25 box to leave, $10 US to come in… :(

  17. LifeandDeath
    April 5, 2019

    All you still think they killing the country?..prepare for the funeral if all you vote that no clue Gov’t again..smh!!
    The ones who make the rules are hardly affected by this, they get their trips paid by the state..

  18. RastarMarn
    April 5, 2019

    Mista Dem dat have DA in the predicament it in there you know!!!

    So when Skerrit gets kicked out from office All Mista Dem getting their Pink-slip too right???

  19. %
    April 5, 2019

    If every fake handshake, you have to surreptitiously drop money in the hands of people,then money is needed!
    Skerrit Must Go
    Skerrit Must Go
    LAZY Skerrit Must Go Now

    • Pipo
      April 6, 2019

      That is a good point. How and where Wii they collect this tax. Will passengers have to pay it to the ferry company before they leave? Or will it be on arrival that would cause more chaos again if they must pay when they get to Dominica. Who would collect it.Not the same people that collect departure tax I hope. And would they accept credit card or debat card or cash only. I have not heard anything about that. Have they thaught out the logistics of this properly? For instance, will they accept Euro when most passengers come from French territory and mr. Bardouille only mention U.S. Dollar. I can see one big mess, delays, confusion and frustration. Will visitors to the Jazz festival have to suffer like this too? How is this helping us to build toerist business?

  20. BEB
    April 5, 2019

    Will they be issuing receipts to these travelers, or visitors? if not most of these monies collected could reach into the pockets of the employees.

    • April 8, 2019

      You all have to be careful by having increased changes. Not because other countries have it. we have to add it. The competition is tuff other there. It’s for the same reason that the carnival cruise ship had pull off from Dominica.

  21. I love my own space
    April 5, 2019

    well, well, well! I remember working in the tourism industry in Dominica and the guests that would visit the hotel that i managed would rather fly to Guadeloupe, Martinique or St. Lucia to be able to take the ferry to get to D/A. Reasons being but not limited to:-
    1. No additional cost at the sea port and
    2. They won’t have to pay all the taxes associated with Liat at the
    Caribbean airports
    Now this extra charge on this very place of entry, do we think its gonna improve tourism especially at this time? we take 1/2 steps forward and 10 steps back every time but hey we building loads of new hotels.

  22. UKDominican
    April 5, 2019

    We are exhorted, almost on a daily basis, by our Prime Minister and his apparatchik that we must not express ourselves in a negative way about Dominica, that doing so is almost tantamount to treason. I would like to ask Hon. Skerrit what posivitive message his government is broadcasting here in aid of improving our image to visitors to our shores?

  23. Anonymous
    April 5, 2019

    We need to look at the visitor arrivals for the next 6 months with this added fee. Compare to the past couple years, yes even post Maria last year. I’m betting there will be a decline.

    • Joseph John
      April 6, 2019

      There will be decline if people feel they are not getting value for their money. There will be a decline is we keep promoting an unfriendly environment, a hostile environment and posting all kinds of negative stuff about Dominica.
      Dominica use to be called the friendly island. Is it still that way ? Can we have a change in attitude to go back to those times. Can we have the attitude of a friendly and safe island. Or are we all set to keep the attitude that we are always ready to destroy each other.
      I have been looking at stats from two countries about their visitors. Hawaii gets over 3 million visitors a year . Dubai over 19 million. They have the all the necessary infrastructure, but one aspect that stands out is their attitude towards visitors. We hope to get an international airport which will improve our travel infrastructure, but if we do not have the right positive attitude it will all be in vain.

      • Pipo
        April 6, 2019

        Roosevelt Skerrit have plenty of attitude brother!

      • Ibo France
        April 6, 2019

        JJ, the government sets the tone for the rest of the country. Have you ever listened to how they rant and rave in parliament? They behave like drunken sailors coming ashore after ten consecutive months on sea. They must lead by example. Example set, example follow. I remembered sometime recently, Dr. Darroux launched an unprovoked, sadistic attack on the nurses. Now on this forum, DLP supporters relentlessly castigate the nurse for speaking out for better working conditions. Example set, example follow.

      • Love my country
        May 8, 2019

        People can’t be friendly when they frustrated. That’s a fact. You can’t smile while you suffering and you can’t have happy attitudes when you hungry. We decline as people when our surroundings, living conditions or standards, capability to provide for our loved ones or treat ourselves to something happy also decline. I hate to see so much of our people and so much of our country go backwards. There are so much things we can say this country had and no longer has and the things that you may start listing as we now have are not things to be celebrated but expected. ( like a fork to eat with when you buy a plate of food. It’s expected I can’t celebrated and say I so fortunate cause the shop dealer gave me a fork to eat the food. No ) you political party pests need to stop commenting so loudly with these statements and open all you brain and eyes.

  24. frequent traveller
    April 5, 2019

    Yeah DHTA should be concerned. REMEMBER, visitors already pay the highest $59 departure tax. It’s less in St Lucia and free in the french countries. Are you saying that DASPA gets absolutely no financing for the maintenance of the seaports? NONE? I guess that’s why the Roseau terminal is so cramped and there’s no free wifi.

  25. Alice
    April 5, 2019

    This so called CEO has no idea what he is talking about. This kinda contradicts the information placed in the memo that we saw he sent to Whithchurch some time ago.

  26. Frank N Stein
    April 5, 2019

    All you so sit down on all you blessed assurance and watching Skerrit mash up the country. You never add our voices to any situation in this sad country. Take that in all you face! You think rain will fall on one roof? Maria should have taught you. Let tourism dwindle in that all you want. Stay quiet and see if is one set that will suffer.

    • Joseph John
      April 6, 2019

      @ Frank Stein. Dominica follows a free enterprise socioeconomic system(s). To develop the private sector have to take most of the initiative. This sector have to expand and improve. Tourism is a private sector activity. I know usuing some development countries as models may seem to be unfair. But in such countries the private sector build aircraft, airports and even do airport extentions, build hotels and they do all the promotions. Most of the facilities of the travel business are in their hands. In Dominica a government with less than a billion dollars yearly in current expenditure is expected to do it all. In some countries that would be pocket change for some individuals in the private sector. Factories and business outlets are open 24/7 with three shifts, not 8 to 4 with one shift. I was familiar with a factory that had 3 shifts with a 1000 people on each shift, in this sector. How many work places we have in our private sector employing 100 people even on one shift ?

  27. jackarie
    April 5, 2019

    Sometimes I wonder if Dominicans are actually awake and a part of this thing we call the “World”. So you telling me that US$10 is going to prevent somebody from travelling to Dominica? That this US$10 fee is going to have such a negative impact on visitor arrivals to Dominica? That is what I reading there?

    • Pipo
      April 6, 2019

      Yes, that’s what you Reading. It is not just the money but the way visitors are made to feel, especially when they see the crappy facilities and services at the terminal. As if we want to say you are not really welcome here. They may not complain but think twice coming again.

      • jackarie
        April 8, 2019

        So then PIpo we should encourage this US$10 fee so that we can upgrade these crappy facilities and services that you speak about. They cannot upgrade on their own can they?

    • dee
      April 6, 2019

      Yes Jackarie
      Its not your $10 , its mine , You have no idea how I earned it .
      How did you obtain the privilege to decide for me how I spend my money .
      Its not the actual $10 that’s the issue, though it is mine, its the principle behind it . Have you ever had to , and how often have you had to utilize the services offered on these ports, in comparison to other ports.? With due respect for your opinion , I think you should know your place with your remark of ”negative impact on visitor arrivals to Dominica” .
      May I ask , are you a frequent traveller ? you need not answer .

      • jackarie
        April 8, 2019

        Dee you just full of sheet. Everything in Dominica is free as compared to other parts of the world. If you travel as much as I have then I am sure you would have the same opinion. These fees should have been implemented a LONGGGGGGGGG time ago. Maybe by then we would have a reason to complain about lack of facilities and services.

    • Joseph John
      April 6, 2019

      Jackarie, Say that again , Say it loud and clear. I agree with you 100% without reservations. But it is going to be very difficult for those with negative attitude ingrained in their very being. Being possessed with a bad attitude is worst than an addiction You can be healed in rehab, but a negative attitude is very difficult to change. I learnt recently that there are six steps to change including the desire to change. People think its fun to be negative all the time but so is an alcoholic who thinks its fun to be in a state of drunkenness all the time.

      • Me
        April 6, 2019

        One can not even get a decent cup of coffee at the terminal, ferry or airport, leave alone Dominican coffee.

      • dee
        April 9, 2019

        Jackarie

        I am sure you actually meant to use the derogatory word
        ”SHI.” (correct spelling ) i’ ll help you express your opinion at no cost to you .
        If you actually consider comparable the services in Dominica , the value for money , the attitude of a people to that of all the countries you visit, then I , have no interest in your travels , as you seem to shut your eyes and mind in your travels . I don’t . end of discussion.

        ,

    • Mike Xavier
      April 6, 2019

      Yes, it affects tourism; especially when they do not accept credit cards or debit cards for these nickel and dime fees that Dominica insists on charging in the name of raising revenues! You can’t grow your economy through taxation, it kills economic growth. Stupes! Then of course they want to give you change in EC dollars. Boy look jokes with my backwards home country.

    • Ibo France
      April 6, 2019

      Jackarie, are you really serious? If I’m traveling with my wife and four children that’s an additional EC $156.00, just a scenario. People usually travel with their spouses and children. Before you talk make sure to connect your tongue to your brain.

  28. April 5, 2019

    The DHTA is right. Dominica’s economic problems won’t be solved by levying more taxes. And given how difficult it is already for tourists to get here, taxes on transportation are especially ill advised.

    • Joseph John
      April 6, 2019

      Steve a tax can be progressive or regressive, but if it is easy to collect it tends to be progressive. If a burden on its citizens it tend to be regressive. This tax is not a burden. The dislike of any tax is inherent. No one like to pay tax. Tax collecting is one of the most hated professions, notwithstanding the fact that the tax collector is a tax payer. So citizens resentment to this tax is understandable. But only time will tell if it is detrimental . I do not think it will affect the tourist industry in any way .

      • Me
        April 6, 2019

        Progressive = proceeding gradually or in stages (Oxford Dictionary).
        The only progressive tax is an escalating one.

  29. dee
    April 5, 2019

    I never thought the day would come when I would need to travel to St. Lucia and not run across to Dominica . ahhh.
    Now I feel when I leave St. Lucia is head straight back where I come from, without the head ache , the heart ache , the belly ache that all comes with reaching Dominica .HELAS.

  30. Ibo France
    April 5, 2019

    This is truly a tax and spend government. Salaries and wages have been stagnant forever. Dominican public servants take home the lowest pay in the sub region; the minimum wage is also at rock bottom. The imposition of additional taxes is a financial assault on the have-nots. The government is too bloated, it needs to cut the fat, starting by reducing the number of useless ministers. Other measures should be to cut back severely on overseas travel, on local and foreign advisors also. Stop the wanton waste at the Red Clinic and use your social services. Be much more transparent with procurement of government contracts for this is where millions and millions are siphoned off from the treasury. The people are living from one pay cheque to the next. If government were to stop public servants pay for a month many families would be in serious financial embarrassment. The country needs fresh start. Out with these blood suckers.

  31. dee
    April 5, 2019

    weh weh weh
    when one decides L I A T is not a viable option to travel to Dominica and considers arrival by ferry a more logical mode of travel , an underhand charge is applied . I must ask is this the initiation of many other charges to be applied , and how often is that going to be , (on an annual basis)?
    Benoit claims he does everything in the interest of users of the various ports , he has the passengers safety first , but I need to ask , would it not be absolutely necessary for a hospital , or appropriate emergency services within close proximity to the main airport on the Island .Allu guys lucky fewer planes will be coming to Da so the probability of a crash and emergency requirement is less. ahhhh margwaysar ein .
    We moving further and further BACKWARDS
    Dominica is no longer my Holiday destination choice .
    Too many other Lovely and welcoming places at my finger tips
    Countries where my money will be well spent .

    • dee
      April 8, 2019

      ”allu guys lucky fewer planes will be coming to Dominica , so the probability of a crash and emergency requirement is less ”

      I WAS WRONG . ( today’s miss proves it )

  32. Neville
    April 5, 2019

    This government just has not got a clue. They prove it over and over again.

  33. Tired of the same ole thing
    April 5, 2019

    Why aren’t they concerned that it takes 2-3 days to reach to Dominica from the U.S. Don’t they realize they need to make travel to Dominica easier rather than harder. I feel like the new fees would be acceptable if they had built a new ferry or airport but we are paying for the existing facilities which are below par. People don’t mind paying for a service if it is meeting expectations. We are already accepting subpar facilities but to pay extra for them is ridiculous.

    • d-a born
      April 5, 2019

      And very expensive to get to D/a as well. I’ve gotten lucky a couple times with flights that got me there in the same day but it wasn’t easy.

    • Chu Moon Fan(thats chinese)
      April 6, 2019

      you are so right…….looking for a ticket /flight to dominica will take 42 hours…yes 42 hours…can u believe that?>…when before it took 8 hours…ridiculous…

  34. pp
    April 5, 2019

    I guess red clinics coffers need replenishing

  35. Unknown
    April 5, 2019

    Access to Dominica is already difficult, this charge is going to have a direct impact on passengers taking the ferry. Very poor timing for that.

    • Joseph John
      April 6, 2019

      The hotel and tourist association see a problem with a revenue measure. That is what they think will diminish visitors return. Well people know that everything has to be paid for. Their main concern is the treatment they get while visiting. I have been to Galveston, Tx, New Orleans , and Las Vegas. The impression I leave with is that I would like to return because of their all embracing customer’s service. Everyone is so friendly and respectful you think you are in the right place. If you speak with a foreign accent people want to know where you from. When you are leaving a hotel or restaurant you are questioned about your stay. Futhermore if you give them your email address they will contact you for feedback.
      Posters think that only direct same day flights are always available. But there are many situations where you feel you are getting the run around.
      I would think that by now the Association would be formulating plans to promote Dominica and their members hotels.

      • Pipo
        April 6, 2019

        Joseph, you trying to divert again. Is not the DHTA that introduce these taxes but our goverment. We can play blind but must face facts.

      • Joseph John
        April 6, 2019

        Pipo I never said it was not the government. I am saying that the DHTA has to take a proactive role in improving the tourist industry. This tax will not prevent decrease in hotel occupancy ( US $10 ) People spend that on a T-shirt. I am saying that hotel promotion and great customer service is the answer and that should be their focus .

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