Dominica has recorded a 70 percent decline in stay over arrivals from January 2020 to September 2020.
Marketing Executive at the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA), Samantha Letang made that disclosure at a press briefing on Wednesday night pointing out that the tourism industry has been and continues to be affected greatly by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
She said the 70% percent decline of stay over arrivals from January to September 2020 is over the same period in 2019.
“It should be noted that for that same period January to September 2019, we were already, as a destination, showing a 7 percent increase over our pre-disaster levels which actually spelt very good news for the sector,” Letang stated.
But COVID-19 now poses a new challenge for the tourism industry and, according to Letang, stakeholders in the sector continue to see declines with some actually being forced to close their doors and “of course, to lay off workers.”
Letang said the Ministry of Tourism, International and Maritime Initiatives, along with the DDA, continues to work with stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment and the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) in aiding in the revival of the industry.
“We first launched the CARICOM Travel Bubble towards the end of August which afforded persons from select destinations in the travel bubble relax entry requirements into Dominica, while ensuring safety and security of both the visitor and resident being of paramount importance to us,” Letang noted. “And on October 2nd we presented ‘Safe in Nature’.”
She explained that ‘Safe in Nature’ is a commitment to visitors, specifically visitors traveling from the high risk category of countries in which almost all of the country’s tourism source markets lie.
“Safe in Nature is a managed experience where guests are catered for throughout the first 5 to 7 days of arriving in Dominica before they take their PCR test on day 5 to assure their health condition,” Letang said. “It guarantees that Dominica continues to focus on the safety of our local residents, and of course our visitors, while doing all we can to bring the essence of the nature island to them.”
She said the DDA is currently working with DHTA on a booking line to ensure guests go only into ‘Safe in Nature’ properties as well as with taxi associations at the airport to ensure they follow rules and regulations and play their part.
According to Letang, said the DDA is currently carrying out training with the Caribbean Tourism Organization for taxi operators as it relates to service and protocols during the COVID-19 period.
“We had already begun training for taxi operators and are continuing to educate and inform all our service providers,” she said.
Letang encourages service providers and the local community “to make our visitors feel welcome” as Dominica continues to push forward with the reopening of the tourism industry and its Safe in Nature commitment.