Tourism Minister, Senator Robert Tonge has said that he plans to use the $12.54 million allocated to his ministry in the 2019-2020 national budget to improve various tourist and cultural sites in Dominica in order to enhance the tourism sector.
During his contribution to the budget debate on Thursday, Tonge identified the ways in which the money is to be used.
“Under site enhancement, we are looking at the upgrade of our sites. One of the things we want to do is to ensure that our sites meet and exceed international standards. This will involve the construction of gazebos, benches, picnic tables and rehabilitation of the washroom facilities,” the minister said. “Our Morne Bruce site, one of our very important sites which will include the rehabilitation of walk ways, the construction of the gazebo and the installation of the appropriate signage.”
He continued, “Installation of solar systems for sites [such as] Trafalgar Falls, Emerald Pool, Fort Shirley, Indian River as we build to make our tourism infrastructure more resilient. The installation of better water catchment…..areas again to ensure the resilience of the area.”
Tonge stated that there’s a need to ensure that the country’s cultural sites are established in order for the youth to know Dominica’s history.
“Under community culture, we’re looking at the rehabilitation of commanders quarters at Fort Shirley, the development of the Kalinago gateway and the 1930’s memorial, the development of the Geneva Heritage Site, the Indian River exit trail to ensure safety and security of our visitors, the Marigot/Melville Hall road beautification project, the rehabilitation of the Old Methodist Church, restoration works at the Old Mill Cultural Centre to include the restoration of the water mill and tunnel,” Tonge stated. “We have so much rich history, we have to ensure that we establish these areas so that our youth can understand where we came from.”
Other proposed projects outlined by the minister include, among others, the upgrade of the Roseau museum and road signage, the construction of the Purple Turtle beach board walk, the Red Rocks site enhancement and the development of the Champagne Beach.
He said over 227 persons were trained by the tourism sector last year adding that another 94 will be trained soon.
“In terms of training the ministry of tourism continues to support training. we have trained over 227 persons last year. I am very proud of the 91 persons who did the training in Portsmouth recently and this included taxi drivers…and the basically learnt how to provide the 5 star level of service and more importantly they were also taught how to have a sustainable business,” Tonge said.
“Very soon, we have the American hotel and lounge in an educational institution, via the organisation of American states will be providing training to 94 persons and i wish them all the best in this training programme.”
He said before the end of the month 94 persons will receive training facilitated by the Organization of American States (OAS) to improve and increase the ability of Dominicans in providing the best level of service to the nation.