Minister of Tourism and Legal Affairs, Ian Douglas, has made a call to address the situation of vagrancy and crime in Dominica which, according to him, is affecting the island’s tourism industry.
Speaking at the Tourism Awards Ceremony on Wednesday evening, Douglas pointed out that one of the main problems reported by cruise lines that call at Dominica’s ports, is vagrancy.
“One of the issues that we need to address and address it now, is the issue of vagrancy when a ship is in port,” he noted. “We have to because visitor experience is a key component in the ship rating the destination.”
He said that there are about 32 destinations in the Caribbean, ranging from Bahamas all the way to Central and South America, and Dominica was once among some of the top positions in tourist destinations.
However, he lamented that vagrancy, especially in the country’s capital, has severely affected Dominica’s rating amongst the rest of the destinations.
The minister said he hopes that by the beginning of the next tourism season, a solution will be found and he called on all institutions on the island, even those the outside tourism industry, to assist.
“We have become too complacent, we have fallen asleep on the job, we need to wake up and also the organisations and institutions outside of tourism need to see themselves as tourism stakeholders also,” he remarked. “There are persons outside the industry who do not see how their actions affect tourism so we need the other institutions to partner with us to deal with some of the concerns and some of the issues that continue to affect the tourism industry. And the whole issue of vagrancy on the Bayfront … I hope that by the start of the next cruise season we would have found a solution to the vagrants in the city and on the Bayfront.”
Douglas also expressed concerns about the issue of crime and deviant behaviour in Dominica and their impact on tourism.
“In recent years or two we have really had to deal with a lot of those issues. Crime is really affecting the tourism industry and how these incidents are handled. It was for this reason that the ministry of tourism went ahead and did a session with Johnson John Rose with the media to really apprise the media and sensitize them as to how you deal with issue of crime and deviant behaviour,” he noted.
According to him information about crime and deviant behaviour going on around the world undermines the ability to develop the sector.
Douglas congratulated the Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security for what he described as their efforts in arresting crime and deviant behaviour in that section of the island.