A significant increase in cruise ships coming to Dominica is expected for the 2013-2014 cruise season, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Dominica Air and Seaport Authority and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Discover Dominica Authority, Benoit Bardouille.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday Bardouille indicated that a total of 207 cruise calls are expected as compared to 157 this season.
He is projecting that there will be an overall 39.2 percent or 86,445 additional cruise passengers coming for the next season as compared to the present season.
“We are looking forward to the 2013-2014 cruise season because based on the updated cruise schedule that we have for that period there are 37 additional calls expected to be made by Carnival Corporation Vessels (CCV) from 39 calls these season to 76 calls in 2013-2014,” he said. “The increase in calls by the CCV when compared to the previous season which ends in April of 2013 will register a 94.9 percent increase for the next cruise season.”
CCV includes Carnival Cruise lines, Princess Cruise lines and PNO Cruises.
Bardouille noted that in terms of passengers, CCV is expected to bring to Dominica 165,402 passengers in the next season as compared to 97,826 at present.
“In the 2013-2014 season we expect Royal Caribbean as well to increase their number of calls to the destination by 11 calls to make their total calls 47 calls. This will represent 30.6 percent increase in the number of calls to the island when compared to 36 calls for the last season,” he remarked.
He continued, “The average spend for a cruise passenger is US$50 and if you are to look at an increase of 86,445 additional cruise passengers it could mean clearly US$4.7 million more in terms of earnings for Dominica in the next season.”
Meanwhile Director of Tourism, Collin Piper noted that according to consultants who attended a recently held tourism summit here, Dominica must increase its stay over visitors to 90,000 by 2015 if it is to remain sustainable in the tourism industry.
“Collectively, destination Dominica needs to be moving in one direction and that direction is for 90,000 stay over visitors by 2015. That requires us to grow by 7 percent per year, which is a tough target but we all have to look and determine what it is that we can do differently to assist the nation in doing so. Every individual needs to look at how they can play their part,” he said.
He argued that collaboration between the private and public sector must be improved to make the tourism industry viable.
Dominica reported a 4.5 percent growth in stay over visitors in 2012 with the island welcoming approximately 78,955.
The highest number of stay over arrivals occurred in 2006 when 84,000 visitors came to Dominica.