Bulk of tourism sites open Tonge says

Tonge said his ministry has to make sure all sites are ready
Tonge said his ministry has to make sure all sites are ready

While a significant portion of the country’s landscape has been affected the bulk of the sites are still accessible and can be viewed by all, Tourism Minister has said.

The cruise season opens today (Monday) and Tonge said at a press conference on Friday that his ministry has to ensure that these sites are in a “ready state” so that visitors can enjoy them.

“With regards to the site and attractions road access has been restored to all major sites, with the exception of Victoria Falls, Glacee Pool in the South East,” he stated.

In fact, he indicated, most of the popular sites in Dominica remain unaffected including Emerald Pool, Mero Beach, Cabrits National Park, Indian River, Kalinago Barana Aute, Concord River, Botanical Gardens, Morne Bruce, The Dominica Museum, The Old Market, Fresh Water Lake, Boeri Lake, Middleham Falls and Sari Sari Falls.

“So as you can see the majority of sites the visitors go to in large numbers are operational so we can welcome visitors to our shores and ensure that they have a great experience,” Tonge said.

He revealed that access to the Boiling Lake remains an issue.

“We still have land slippage on the second half of the trail from the Valley of Desolation into the Boiling Lake which makes access difficult for the average hiker, so we only expect persons who are going there to be serious hikers and they really need to go there with a professional tour guide to ensure that their lives are not going to be challenged,” he explained.

With the majority of the tourism sites open, Tonge believed the island is ready for business.

He said the Ministry of Tourism, along with Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) and Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association (DHTA), was able to contact the majority of accommodations, tour operators, service providers and the popular attractions to ensure that the country is in a state of readiness.

“Seventy-seven out of the 88 accommodations we contacted are operational and 10 are working towards reopening, so in a rough, we are about 80 percent and we are hoping that by the time the season is in full swing we should be up to about 90 percent,” he noted. “Thirty of the 35 tour and water sport operators are operational and the others are working towards resuming operation soon.”

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21 Comments

  1. A Visitor
    October 6, 2015

    Don’t some of y’all think you are a bit harsh on the Minister for Tourism. What more would you expect from a novice? Give the man a great folks, at least it took Dominica 30 days to declare the country open for tourism business and Bahamas less than a week. He’s learning

  2. Erika taught me well
    October 6, 2015

    Robbie you are the worst Minister or Tourism Dominica has even seen. You are intellectually weak and you are devoid of ideas. Ian Douglas has put you in the shade

    • Roseau passe'
      October 6, 2015

      That would be a shame if that’s true cause Ian Douglas is BBC

    • Titiwi
      October 6, 2015

      No , no no I can not accept that. In the land of the blind one-eye is king. Ian was blind and Robbie is the handicapped King.

  3. Frank Talker
    October 5, 2015

    That Minister for Tourism is a waste of time. It is clear his mouth and brain are not synced. The country is ready for the cruise season but not ready for WCMF which would come about three weeks from today? Does this sum up? When Tonge accepted the offer to be a Minister, I really believed he did so to assist the government by bringing a business face to the Cabinet. Yvor had done his bit. Timothy did his and was no longer in Cabinet. So Tonge came on. After about two months in office, I concluded Tonge was not a Minster because of his skills and business knowledge; he was a Labourite, a covert one.

  4. Modara
    October 5, 2015

    Dominica’s tourism is simply NOT going anywhere soon! We are in a rut!

  5. OOh La La
    October 5, 2015

    Sir, Roseau needs a facelift. Especially the sidewalks and drains. We need to enforce the litter act. Too many people just litter the streets indiscriminately and nothing is being done about it. Its has become a natural action to eat and drop every gabbage on the street. It is sickening!!!

  6. Shaka zulu
    October 5, 2015

    Well as I have said before we operate on sentiments at a given point in time. The services were simply not affected as some would want people to believe. I agree there was damage and destruction , infrastructure likes bridges and roads were expensive and lives lost cannot be replaced so I understand. I am happy to see the minister highlighting how quickly things getting back to normal, in just over a month. That is what the country neeeds. What is important is what we do moving forward to learn from our mistakes and 15 plus years of bad management.

  7. Bon Dieu
    October 5, 2015

    You guys are nothing more than a joke! You are sending mixed messages to the world and losing whatever bit of confidence even your supporters have in you.

    Based on this report, stating that we are prepared to accommodate tourists, you have absolutely no reason to justify turning down the biggest event of tourism season – WCMF. You are saying the roads are mostly fine, and 80-90% of accommodations are fine. Airport and seaports are open. So what is the problem?

    Even the investment the gov’t would have made could have been sourced as a loan (we take loans for darn near everything else) because this would have been one we could repay. We could have asked neighboring governments to assist with promotions/advertising to help bring even more people in than before!

    There is no excuse for this shortsightedness. No concern for the low-income working class Dominicans who sorely depend on WCMF each year!

    In the meantime we watch other countries capitalize on our pain!

    • October 5, 2015

      Perhaps they could not cancel the arrival of the cruise ships since it is much more complicated than canceling the WCMF. However this cruise season is going to have a negative impact on future seasons. When people spend their hard earned $$$$ to go on a cruise they want the best sights and entertainment, yes access to most of the sights are available but to what level what about the general look of the country. What the visitor sees is what he or she will report in the survey and trust me they could care less if Dominica was damaged by storm. How many of these visitors will recomend Dominica as a place to visit? I had many an occasion to listen to visitors talk about Dominica after a visit and about 50% of the comments were not favorable and that was before Erika.

      • Shaka zulu
        October 5, 2015

        Cruise ship tourism is not so much about the island. The cruise ship already have all the fun and entertaining that is needed. The island excursion is just an addition and not everyone on the cruise pay for that. Furthermore the visit several other islands. I am more concerned about stay over tourist. The one that come for the hike, diving, and stay in hhotels for multiple nights.

      • Robert
        October 5, 2015

        You see it from a point of view that the glass is still half empty. See the from the other side. Great efforts were done in just a few weeks. Yes, Dominica was hit hard by Erika but the people are working even harder to accommodate guests and offer them the best they have – their expectionally beautiful nature and friendly people.

        I’m a potential tourist. I have not cancelled my reservations and still plan to visit Dominica in 6 weeks time, although I heard of TS Erika. I already will spend a week on Guadelouple, so it would have been very easy to extend it to two week. But I know how the island looked like before and I want to return. OK, it is a poor third world country. The slow, bureaucratic and inefficient public agencies do bother me. But it is also one of the most bautiful islands in the world. And except for the overwhelming critical and pessimisitic online critics here, I got in person the impression of a exceptional friendly, relaxed and welcoming people.

      • Shaka zulu
        October 5, 2015

        Robert welcome to Dominica. You are correct it is one of the most beautiful place in the world and the people are generally welcoming. We are not critical because we do not love our country. We are critical because we are tired of being called poor and third world, we are critical because we are tired of being classified as dependent and after 30 years of independence from British rule we are begging all over the place to survive, when we have smart people, rich land and a beautiful place. We are critical because we are tired of weak institutions where the political elite’s can use tax payers money get medical help overseas while people have to die in termite infested hospital. We are critical because we are proud people and I will not sacrifice my pride for anyone putting less than others. We are critical when our leaders do not lead by example and have no respect for citizens. Even you think we are poor. Should I not ask better of our leaders? I am better than that label.

      • Robert
        October 6, 2015

        Shaka zulu, thanks for your reply. I understand what you mean. I had been to Dominica and also dealt with the authorities. An example: Last year I asked weeks before my journey by email for a certain export license. I got no reply. On the day of arrival I went to the ministry myself. They kept me waiting. The employees were chatting and ignoring me, so after about 20 min I interupted them. It was a Wednesday afternoon. My email was unanswered because the recipient was on holiday, at least they told me so. It must be a long holiday because I haven’t got a reply yet. So I was promised a reply by email until Friday from the employee in charge. On Monday I had no reply and I went to the ministry myself again. My request was denied without giving any specific reasons (“we don’t do so…”) and nobody really cared to inform me. I was told not to ask further questions. At least they were friendly and polite…

      • Shaka zulu
        October 6, 2015

        Robert that is unfortunate and unacceptable. It is a systematic problem. If we cannot admit we have a problem and seek for excellence, honesty, hard work then will continue to be our own worst enemy. If you read my post I try to identify solutions and alternative so reasonable minded people can read, agree or disagree and hopefully suggest something even better. I know the leadership is reading because try the respond all the way in parliament.

  8. negremaron
    October 5, 2015

    The Ministry and the Roseau City Council officials must walk the route from the Deep Water Harbour to Roseau TODAY and see the piles and piles of rubish stacked along that route together with the unkept sidewalks with open drains and tourist trying to walk to the ‘city’!

    • Malgraysa
      October 5, 2015

      You make very valid observation. I am a Dominican and would like to see my country right there at the top of performance but instead I am embarrassed. Truthfully, I only venture into Roseau when it is absolutely inevitable because it is simply not attractive. On the contrary it is off-putting and we can not blame all of that on Erika. It was very much like that before the storm. I may have sympathy but foreign tourists will give that short shrift. If polite, they may call Roseau quaint but give it the thumbs down in their report. These days I keep the windows of my vehicle wound up when in Roseau, not only because of the bad smell but also to ward of the vagrants that hustle me every time I dare to stop.

    • enough si enough
      October 5, 2015

      well very good idea, but how they are going to see it with their big SUV with tinted window?
      the all gang is rich now, they do not care anymore about us.

      • Titiwi
        October 6, 2015

        It is because they want to see you but not for you to see them. I don’t even know if these tinted windows are legal in Dominica but I find them intimidating, unfriendly, lugubrious and dangerous. Someone may be pointing a gun at you from inside the vehicle and you would not know. Why would they want to hide themselves anyway? Did you see the Pope going around the U.S.A. in a dark tinted SUV.?

  9. enough is enough
    October 5, 2015

    “Seventy-seven out of the 88 accommodations we contacted are operational and 10 are working towards reopening, so in a rough, we are about 80 percent and we are hoping that by the time the season is in full swing we should be up to about 90 percent,” he noted. “Thirty of the 35 tour and water sport operators are operational and the others are working towards resuming operation soon.”
    very good job !! one month after the storm we are ready at 80 % soon 90 % but Wait … hold your breath….the PM say we are not ready for business !! what a shame !!

  10. Francisco Telemaque
    October 5, 2015

    Yes, sites may be open, but what about sanitation and sanitary facilities such as bathrooms, and flush toilets at such sites?

    Are you not ashamed people come to the country, and have to hold back nature when it calls? All Dominicans including me are custom to go in the bush when we are traveling and have to relieve ourselves; nonetheless we should not impose our primitive customs and habits on the tourist!

    And by the way are you still using the big deep pit-hole as your accommodation?

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