DHTA calls for increase in tourism marketing budget

Nassief believes the budget for marketing Dominica should be increased
Nassief believes the budget for marketing Dominica should be increased

While admitting that problems faced in the tourism sector will not be miraculously lifted, President of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) Gregor Nassief, notes that the doubling of the country’s tourism marketing budget could assist in alleviating these issues.

Nassief told a press conference at the Waterfall Room at the Fort Young Hotel on Tuesday morning that the DHTA would like to see Dominica double its budget in marketing the destination.

“If St. Lucia is spending a $1.20 per stay over visitor, Barbados is spending $3.20 and we are spending $0.50, I would like to get to a $1.00,” Nassief stated. “And if we do that, instead of spending $0.50 per stay-over visitor, we will be spending $1.00. So the DHTA would like to see the $4-million destination marketing budget, as a start, doubled to $8-million.”

He is of the opinion that the increase will not automatically alleviate all the tourism sector’s problems.

“But you can’t just throw funds at the problem. We also need to rethink how we are marketing and the DHTA completely supports the initiative of the DDA (Discover Dominica Authority) and working in sync with everyone to rethink our marketing capabilities and strategies,” he stated.

Meantime, the DHTA is also calling for a harmonization of taxes on the tourism industry with a flat rate of 7.5 percent across the board.

“Our VAT (Value Added Tax) rate is 10 percent rooms and 15 percent on everything else,” Nassief said, pointing out that in neighboring islands such as Barbados and St. Lucia there are a 7.5 percent and 10 percent rate respectively across the board.

“We would like as an industry to get to 7.5 percent and again it has to be done in the context of all of us believing tourism represents Dominica’s future and in terms of being able to carry our economy for the next 10 or 15 years,” Nassief said. “The sector needs support, we need to be competitive.”

The hotelier said that although the country operates on revenue that the VAT brings in, “at the same time we would like to work with the authorities, so within one year or two years, we could begin to see a harmonization.”

“So the 10 and the 15 percent will be one rate across the board and lower rates can assist us with competitiveness going forward,” he said.

The issues of vagrancy, improved air and sea access among others, are also affecting the sector, according to Nassief.

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  1. Dread
    August 21, 2014

    I bet you Mr Nassief will never get a tongue lashing in parliament for his comments. They reserve that for people like Dr Pascal. Change is a must.

  2. Boddington hall
    August 19, 2014

    Your numbers don’t add up. We have about 25,000 stayover visitors per year. If all of them spend 14 days here (which they don’t) that equates to 350,000 visitor days. That’s $11 per visitor day. The problem is not how much money is spent, it’s what is done with it. $350,000 private jazz and creole parties at the Cabrits for example is a completely shocking waste of money. Without properly qualified people managing this destination you may as well use the marketing budget in the most effective way possible – simply pay people to come here.

  3. Rabbit
    August 19, 2014

    DNO what happen to my comment. Is DPRK man. I didn’t know I couldn’t speak my mind?

  4. August 19, 2014

    We need better access to Dominica,Coming to Dominica can be very difficult sometimes,It’s a lovely island but youguys need more going on to attract tourist.

  5. just remarks
    August 19, 2014

    I think that there are also important things need to be addressed in order to make Roseau friendlier for tourists:
    1) Botanical Garden is lovely place for sport, quality time with family or just walking, although speeding vehicles are absolute nonsense and any traffic via Gardens should be banned….only pedestrians and bicycles. Also penalty should be enforced on those who littering. Its awful to see KFC packages on the grass in Botanical Garden….
    Why wont government allow to build normal eco-cafeteria in Botanical Garden, so tourists can purchase sandwiches, water etc. Cafeteria – normal, clean and eco…without fried chicken on foil, without rum, without dirt and anti-sanitary…
    2) Impose waste handling rules in Roseau…smell of garbage is terrible. Is that difficult to impose rules and enforce them with police? if it works for the rest of the world why cant Roseau be clean?
    3) Police: please do something with idiots urinating on the streets. Can somebody explain them that difference between animal and human is that human can manage his urges and necessities. Why bring tourist here to show them some taxi driver urinating publicly?
    4) Parking on Roseau is nightmare…its chaotic and people park everywhere. Why wont major in Roseau try to organize parking in such way that some additional parking lots created on a walking distance or policy implemented to provide visitors or Roseau some parking spaces.
    5)Bay Front is very good place for development and instead of having chaotic parking. it makes sense to think if its possible to close down bay front and make it accessible only for pedestrians and organize some nice plaza where residents can spend time
    6) Those who sells souvenirs for tourist should obey to some standard imposed by Major of Roseau…do you think tourists enjoy dirty tents?

    Seriously Dominica has a lot of nice things to show but Roseau is not one those things…why wont invest some 5-8 millions EC into traffic planning, waste management and standardization to make Roseau safer, cleaner and more interesting for tourists?

    • CYRIL Llongting
      August 20, 2014

      I endorse what you have said, and add “sidewalk improvement” to our Roseau package.. Now, let’s make it happen.

  6. Morihei Ueshiba
    August 19, 2014

    DNO In an Analysis: Ranking the Caribbean on Foreign Investment, Dominica is LAST -22%

    ADMIN: https://dominicanewsonline.com/news/homepage/news/business/dominica-ranks-last-foriegn-investment-caribbean/

  7. James H Calme
    August 19, 2014

    I wonder if Mr Nassif was consulted prior to the Drafting of the Government 2014 Budget and if so did he express such concerns. This in my view is for another Government because this budget was to popularise Lennox Linton and Dr. Epeigh. We are sure the next Government will listen sir.

  8. Anonymous
    August 19, 2014

    we are too segregated in Dominica, the government cannot do everything, so Mr. Nassief, here is an idea, why don’t we come together as the hoteliers, taxi, craft etc and plan and also do some marketing ourselves? Just thinking!

    • Emile Zapatos
      August 20, 2014

      @ Anonymous ……I share your view, but our mind set in the private sector in isolation and not cooperation. We have only one hotel company in dominica , the fort young hotel co. We believe in sole propritership with little room for advancement.Everyone who has an interest (like those you mention and more) must get together even even in some kind of forum to brainstorm for tourist promotion.
      I see promotion in travel magazines about many Caribbean islands , but never Dominica. Many Caribbean people have no idea where Dominica is to say the least.
      Then in the western world if an idea is not on television it does not exist.
      So you have $4m annually, show me what you can do with it. Convince me that you have a plan that will cost $10m. How many meetings have you had with hoteliers or other interest groups to develop plans for promotions. Can the tourist board obtain a multy purpose development loan from the aid bank to be guaranteed by the government.
      You can also look at investing in air ferry from Guadeloupe and Martinique in association with air france for international connections.
      You want your budget doubled to $8M but in the same voice you are asking for a reduction in government revenue on hotel occupancy. So stop complaining and do some work.

      • anonymous2
        August 20, 2014

        The biggest problem in DA is ” lack of community.” It is not like it was 40 yrs. ago when people pitched in to help each other. Too much selfishness and self preservation these days. It comes at a price. DA is not a tourist friendly island. People will be friendly only to extract money. Too much racism here also. This is a very jealous people. The people have to change in order for any abundance to come their way.

  9. Tour operator
    August 19, 2014

    Well said Mr. Nassief. The mentioned is exactly what is affecting the Tourism Industry in Dominica. But the Tourism Minister along with the staff at DDA fail to realize this. They all on a joy ride and definitely have little knowledge on the industry they were placed to work in. Hope the PM takes note and can eventually increase the budget.

  10. Frank Talker
    August 19, 2014

    Ok, Mr Nassief, I hear you loud and clear, but the excerpts in this news release would be taken more serious if the DHTA had proposed options to finance the increase in destination marketing budget from xcd4M to xcd8M. To simply propose an increase in costs without suggestions on meeting those increased costs may not be taken seriously by the Gov’t. I have learned that the State often displays laziness in running with suggestions made by the private sector unless those suggestions include options for solutions. Let’s see the kinds of reply from Honourable Douglas.

  11. Evolved
    August 19, 2014

    Well it is good to see at least one hotelier speaking up – the others have been silent for years – and to there own downfall. The issue of inadequate funds for the promotion of Dominica has gone on for over 35 years. The public and the tourism sector are not even aware that the tourism budget is often split into recurrent and capital expenditure. That means that even if $4M is allocated – less than half of that actually released.
    The high cost of airfare and the lack of internationally acceptable rooms is Dominica’s problem. The natural beauty of the country and sell itself ten times over.
    Jet access is critical to tourism development in Dominica. Promote all you want but the industry will not take off unless you have access.

  12. Dominican
    August 19, 2014

    Mr. Nassief, the proposals or recommendations of the DHTA are consistent with the proposals of Team Dominica for the tourism sector. So, the DHTA has an ally in a future government of Team Dominica

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