Tonge calls for a change of mindset in tourism industry

Visitors in Dominica
Visitors in Dominica

Tourism Minister, Robert Tonge, has called for a mindset change and a fundamental shift in the industry as it gets a special loan facility from the government with funds from the Citizenship by Investment Program.

About $15-million has been made available for on-lending to the sector, through the AID Bank, to finance the upgrading and expansion of existing hotels and restaurants.

On Thursday a forum was organized by the Discover Dominica Authority to give stakeholders the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the facility and encourage them to take advantage of it.

“This is going to be an opportunity for you today to to understand the facility that is being prepared,” Tonge told the stakeholders. “It is an opportunity for you to say, how am I going to capitalize on this to make my property better, to make my offerings better.”

He said the facility is not just for doing upgrades such as buying new sheets or cutlery or new beds but “it has to be more a lot more…”

“For this to be sustainable, even we as individuals, our mindsets have to change and we have to provide a lot more. If not just redoing the infrastructure will not be sufficient,” Tonge pointed out.

He also said there should be a change in management style.

“We have to ensure that our staff is engaged and provide the best possible service, but not only the best possible service but our staff need to provide excellent consistent service,” he said. “If I go to your restaurant today, I expect a lovely smile, I expect everything to be in order that when I go next week, or if i recommend someone to go there next week, I don’t expect any bad reports from them.”

Tonge added, “So there has to be a fundamental shift in what we do, in what we say to ensure that we capitalize on this particular facility, that it will only take us from strength to strength to strength.”

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29 Comments

  1. Nona your
    September 11, 2016

    LOL more jokes from the joker. Smh

  2. Sams Gutter
    September 10, 2016

    Those of us living (yes that’s living not leaving) in the diaspora seem to have the answer to all of Dominica’s problem. We do have some answers though. We do know what it feels like to go to a restaurant that prides itself in providing excellent service compare to some in Dominica that give you the impression that you are bothering by patronizing their establishment. Employee people that enjoy being in the service industry

    • FED UPs
      September 12, 2016

      SMH you want to stress your ability to spell by saying “living (yes that’s living not leaving” and yet you can’t spell employ. Note – it’s employ not employee.

  3. Petrie Disi
    September 10, 2016

    What about the UK/ Canada/ USA travel bans because of dengue, zika and yellow/ zandoli fever??

  4. FED UP
    September 9, 2016

    The Dominican public call for a change of Tourism Minister. This guy is an utter joke!

  5. .

    …………………………..Taking photographs of some people standing as if they are all bewildered does not make access to and out of the country by air any better! Your nonsensical talk about money from economic Citizenship Program, is nothing more than trying to justify the sale of Dominica’s passports.

    You are talking about fifteen million dollars as it that is a lot of money, some people owing fifteen million dollars consider themselves broke. If you people are making so much money from the sale of Dominica passports, maybe the proceeds should be spent on the building of an International Airport.

    The fact is more than half the money from the sale of the passports are going into the pocket of the selling agents, “Dominica politicians.” and their colleagues, that reminds me that there are three Dominicans who free money is given to under the pretence of building hotel under Economic Citizenship. How can a Dominican…

    • Continue:

      How can a Dominican build a hotel under economic citizenship program, when the purpose of the program is to influence foreigners to come to the country and invest, hence, citizenship should be granted after they arrive, set up a business in the country……………

  6. LifeandDeath
    September 9, 2016

    Yawns and rolls eyes over..DA stuck in the same rhetoric..parlez parlez parlez..

  7. Titiwi
    September 9, 2016

    The first cruise ship is scheduled to arrive at the end of next month and to be honest, I do not think we are ready for it. Roseau is still in a terrible mess and visitors will still be plagued by an increasing number of vagrants. A once beautiful post office now stands forlorn on the bayfront like a dilapidated kasbah with a torn shroud flapping aimlessly in the wind. One public toilet only and only one restaurant (La Desirata) left in the whole town to cater for international tastes. The plastic souvenir tat on offer on the stalls remains the same. We have become a wasteland as a cruise destination and don’t be surprised if we get hammered, again, for the absence of any improvements. Everything looks tired and worn. Our government has taken is eyes of the ball and focused entirely on the sale of our citizenship for the benefit of just a few. Mesmerised like a crapau by a torchlight. Europe, incl. Gt. Britain can re-introduce visa requirements tomorrow. What then?

  8. Me
    September 9, 2016

    Mr. Tonge, just throwing money at a problem does not solve anything. it is not the industry that needs a change of mindset but that blasted government of ours where you all follow one man like rats followed the pied piper. Is only vote buying you all are doing to, keep that megalomaniac propped up. Why???

  9. Truth
    September 9, 2016

    Mr. Tonge, the employees treat the customers how the Managers and Owners treat them!! Go to the properties/facilities and one can tell.

  10. Shameless
    September 9, 2016

    From the air that he breathes to the words that he uselessly utters is a total waste of time. My schoolmate Robbie is no different than Mr. Khorkum (Cucumber). Robbie need to resign and go run his business but I guess the salary is just extra pocket money so why leave it to someone else. One day the masses will rise up and there will be hell to pay by some…….. 8)

    Always Assertive!

  11. Khan
    September 9, 2016

    Does Dominica have a Tourism industry?

    Everything Dominica does in below par, look at Melville Hall Airport in these times, when Everyone is up scaling their product…them jokers dumping millions into a shed/base facility…..dominica will always remain in the bottom, as they refuse to think BIG!

    No Golf Courses and recreational areas….

    • Real truth
      September 9, 2016

      I must admit, I am shocked that my lovely country still has no golf course. Do we even have tennis courts? Seriously , the city of Roseau needs a serious upgrading! Plant more trees and upgrade and beautify the side walks, get rid of all trash on the streets….for starters…FIND A WAY TO BRING BACK THE ARIEL TRAM!!!

  12. Tj
    September 9, 2016

    It seems to me that Mr. Tongue is unable to tell us that In order to change our mindset on Tourism he should give some leadership. Clean up Roseau of the dogs and feces, sidewalks, airport to accommodate long haul flights and have the courage to say these things. Our mindset will be changed, guaranteed.

  13. Tj
    September 9, 2016

    It seems to me that Mr. Tongue is unable to tell us that In order to change our mindset on Tourism he should give some leadership. Clean up Roseau of the dogs and feces, sidewalks, airport to accommodate long haul flights and have the courage to say these things. Our mindset will be changed, guarantee.

  14. September 9, 2016

    DA doesn’t have that many good restaurants and many have closed. That isn’t the problem anyway. The problem is the attitude of entitlement that many people in DA have. They have the wrong perception of tourists on the ships and otherwise. These travelers usually do not have a lot of money to spend. For many, this is the dream trip that they have saved for. Dominicans watch too much TV, which is full of lies.

  15. Alice
    September 8, 2016

    The rags hanging around the never completed Post Office is a real eye sore. Pleeese not a nice sight to passengers arriving by the ferry. Remove them please I beg.

  16. Real!!!!!
    September 8, 2016

    Mr. Tongue I not sure why ask folks to change their mindset in TOURISM when you are unable to provide proper air access and a quality airport in a place like Dominica.

    Dominica is the most difficult country in the Caribbean to get to from the US, Europe , Asia and even from the Caribbean.

    The change in Tourism mindset has to start functionally with you and your government then the people will follow.

    SMH

    • Viewsexpressed
      September 8, 2016

      Amen…..i agree. That mindset is within that corrupt non functional Labour government .

    • STAR
      September 9, 2016

      100%… the change in mindset have to begin with them.. they area the leaders.. and this should start with proper access to the country…to get to dominica from europe u have to go around the world and back

    • Tongue, and Skerrit and the rest of the puppets in his circus are the ones who must change their mind of how they view the tourists industry. They have no International Airport, they do not advertise Dominica in any magazine, nor on Prime Time Television in North America, nor Europe.

      They believe the stupid concept of the island is called Nature island will reverberate across the world and people, white people in particular will flocked to Dominica to go and experience some sort of primitive lifestyle which includes going to squat over a pit-hole when they want to urinate or defecate.

      That is what name Nature island represents, nevertheless they are stock in that mind-set! Come what may, Dominica is not going to move one inch further under a government who base the nations’ economy on the sale of passports, that is Skerrit’s only ambition these days, that is why he has arranged a hectic (busy) schedule to fly all over the world ………..to sell passports.

    • nature_isl_girl
      September 9, 2016

      If you were closer, I’d shake your big toe!

  17. Dominican
    September 8, 2016

    Robbie, no matter the loans you make available. Howe can they repay them if there is not enough business in the first place. Use that money to clean up Roseau instead for a start and the rest will follow.

  18. Rambler
    September 8, 2016

    This is a very interesting statement from Robert Tonge because it demonstrates, more clearly than ever before, just how completely out of touch and clueless he is when it comes to tourism in Dominica. It reminded me of a similar statement from Badouille who said that ferry terminal services were going to be upgraded – essentially by making sure the washrooms are clean. Gentlemen, if you really think that lovely smiles and clean toilets are the silver bullet for tourism in Dominica then it’s time you looked for employment elsewhere, because, frankly, if you demonstrated this kind of naiivety and incompetence in any other job, you would be fired. The problem we have in Dominica is that those people with the authority to fire you are just as clueless. Forget about toilets, smiles and white linen. Air and sea access to Dominica is dire and a truly awful experience for the few people in the world who have a) actually heard of us, and b) still want to try to come here. You are not helping.

  19. The Calabash
    September 8, 2016

    Some changes are needed.
    Training at school on customer service and specific industry training. Encouragement to our people to love and appreciate visitors. They are middle class people like us just trying to take a break from their lives. Redevelopment of the botanical gardens, Roseau cathedral and the Bay front to provide some sites within walking distance. Bay Front should feature foods, drinks, music, some cultural expressions etc. No buses, no solicitations, no beggers…..just well wishers and a big welcoming smile.
    Then, the Wotten Waven thermal area is great but the private operators could use some infrastructure help.
    Then watch the numbers increase, in people and dollars.

    • Viewsexpressed
      September 8, 2016

      …..and you think these clueeless corrupt labour government understand this. The biggest impediment to Dominicas development is this corrupt labour government.k

    • Joseph
      September 9, 2016

      Yes, coming into town and having bus drivers yelling at us to get on their vans is a huge turnoff, then you sit and wait not knowing the time the bus is departing. Customer service is really lacking, in every store I went into no one asked “how may I help you?” There should be a welcoming air when you land in the airport or come in by the bay but there isn’t. The island is gorgeous, we just need to be systematic in how we get others to enjoy its beauty without wrecking it and make them want to come back with friends. We need to differentiate Dominica, many people who come here are nature lovers, if we stick to the fact that we are the nature island and try to bring more activities based on ecotourism we would do well. Yes we need clean sheets on beds, but more importantly we need activities that people can do closer to the bay and airport. We need to invest in recreation based businesses. Even something as small as movies on the beach on Friday nights would be fun for families.

  20. Floridian Diaspora
    September 8, 2016

    Just another day at the office where a minister of the labor party does what he does best which is mismanage their position then pass the blame on to someone else. He knows what other people should do to improve his ministry but he doesn’t know what he himself should do to improve it. Time and time again Mr. Tonge has proven that he is not equipped for his position but just like his sexy king skeritt is leading Dominica he will continue to hold on to what he should never be in charge of. Labor is not working

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