Tourism association anxiously awaits new government budget

President of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association Simon Walsh says stakeholders in the sector are anxiously awaiting the presentation of the 2010/11 annual budget.

He said with revelations that the European Union funds will be coming to an end in October 2010, government should consider stepping in and making up for the shortfall.

“We want to see what government will be putting back into the tourism sector. Funds from the EU on an annual basis were equivalent to two million dollars. That went towards marketing Dominica and that will come to an end so we are very concerned. Most Caribbean islands have realized that it’s a very good time to maintain the level of investment towards the marketing programme. This is a time when the marketing programme can be more effective because some places are cutting back on their expenditures,” he said.

He said government should also bear in mind that tourism has the largest growth potential in Dominica.

“This is not to say that it is more important that fisheries or agriculture but the largest contributor towards foreign exchange comes from tourism, the largest growth potential is the tourism sector and that can only improve if we invest funds into tourism. We are hoping that government will recognize all of this,” he added.

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  1. Nathaniel Peltier
    July 2, 2010

    @Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque:
    Mr Telemaque, I think we missed or I missed the point. I would love to see people coming an live in and investing in Dominica.
    If I am not mistaken this is about our tourism industry. We do have a problem with it as it is growing in all the wrong ways and as you mentioned we need people to take the initiative.
    On another note one cannot really compare the Bahamas and Bermuda to Dominica. A simple reference is the proximity to there main markets.

    If we are creative enough we can have one of the best, efficient and vibrant tourism industries in the Caribbean.

  2. @Nathaniel Peltier:

    ” What I do not agree with in particular in your comment is the idea of having rich migrants take over Dominica.” (Nathaniel Peltier).

    Peltier, it does not matter how many rich foreigners, or immigrants we allow to enter Dominica, and invest their money, they will never find themselves in a position to own or take over Dominica completly as the majority of our people fears.

    The fact remains a building is erected on the island, shall remain there even after the owner departs this life.

    Development comes along with a growing population, be it an immigration growing population, or one growing by natural birth.

    We made a very bad mistake in the 1950’s throughout the West Indies, when we literally chased every person who appeared white out of the region, except Barbados, and Trinidad.

    The British, and to a vast extent, the Americans who were not harassed to leave Barbados, has caused Barbados to be one of the most developed islands in the Caribbean; I also refer you to Bermuda, there is never a slow tourrist season in Bermuda, or the Bahamas.

    We should now ask ourselves the question why?

    The answer might be that 90% plus of all the Hotels owned on these islands are Foreign owned, some of the investors in those vast Hotels does not even reside on the islands.

    We need to be open minded, we need to be more trusting; so what if someone comes into our country, and decides to participate fully in the business of our nation?

    We should allow them to do so!

    That might be a good thing, as it is my experience that foreigners do help to build nations, and in that sense, great nations such as the United States, and Canada. Personally, I own more in the United States, than I could ever dream of owing in Dominica; and I am not the only Dominican who has made such progress.

    In Europe, ( England) Canada, and the United States, our people has excelled in every phase of life, we are not limited by any means, therefore, we need to give the same opportunity to the people who have chosen our country as a place of residence, to enjoy it, and own part of it as our people own part of the United States, Canada, and Britain.

    These immigrants are going to give birth to children who shall be Dominicans, by birth; so why should we deprive their parents the opportunity of building a foundation for their children.

    Let us be fair, and reasonable now.

    The way the world works is like this:

    If I can not find it in my country, I’ll seek greener pastures elsewhere, that’s the way we think in Dominica, that was my thought when I left. That may also be the thought of the Chines and others who have chosen Dominica in order to find that green grass of home, and we should give them every chance to find it there, just as I and the rest of our people found it wherever we are.

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

  3. Nathaniel Peltier
    July 1, 2010

    @Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque:
    I honestly agree with a lot of your point. When one looks at it ,most companies in the tourism industry that do really well do not depend on the funds of the Government. They find creative ways to promote there companies. I agree we must stop begging and our over dependence on handouts. We as a people can and need to push ourselves out of this mind frame.
    The tourism industry in Dominican can survive on the nature island image. As you mentioned they are just not marketing in the the right places. Europe is one of the places where we can make some of the most progress but it is being neglected.
    What I do not agree with in particular in your comment is the idea of having rich migrants take over Dominica.
    We need to work on the tourism industry and the facilities that are there, yes. I just do not think that the people entrusted by the people to do that are capable of putting the right incentives to have the tourism industry grow sustain ably and healthily in Dominica.

  4. July 1, 2010

    Any positive discussion on DNO there is never any red, blue or green putting there piece. That shows me what level our people are on there IQ. If it was a political issue the comments would be twenty five already. Mr Franciso Etienne-Dods Telemaque well said we need more comment like yours on DNO.We need people to stop the comparing and look for ways to build dominica with action and comment like that,which will boil down to common understanding and agreement

  5. Eyes Wide Open
    June 30, 2010

    Wow, I couldn`t have put it any better myself Mr. Dods. I think we should stop all this – Government must do this and government must do that. Why do we have to depend on the government to do everything for us? We as Dominicans travel the world every single day, we have Dominicans all over. We know what we need in our country, we see how the standards are out there, what the tourists are looking for. Why can`t we try marketing Dominica ourselves. Why we need to wait on government funding, my gosh why do we have a Tourist board/association? It is high time we get up and work. We want Dominica to be the gem of the Caribbean, of the world; well we need to work at it. In addition I don`t think that focusing on tourism soley is for the good of the country. Dominica is an agricultual country, we want to run from it but we can`t. If we don`t have food to feed the nation and the tourist that we sooo want to come and save our economy, then how will this work? we need to grow more food. Tourism can even be tied into the agriculture industry. Let`s market agri-tourism, where the tourist can see the different processes that take place from having a banana on a tree to the different products that can be made from it. People we need to think outside the box, cause that`s the only way we can save this lovely country of ours.

  6. ” Funds from the EU on an annual basis were equivalent to two million dollars. That went towards marketing Dominica and ”

    I would like to ask Walsh, and all concern; when will any entity in the country become viable, and take responsibility for its money to be used in its financial operation?

    Should government, and when we speak of the government, we are speaking in terms of the people of Dominica; should the people of Dominica, the taxpayer, continue to bare the burden of every so called organization, which post a sign on a building claiming to represent something even the tourrist industry?

    Here Walsh is laminating about two million dollars used to market Dominica. What amount of advertising space can two ($2,000,000.00) million dollars buy on Television, or even in a Newspaper for that matter?

    Be informed sir, that a five second advertising spot during prime time in some cities, cost more than $2, 000,000.00, so I do not comprehend your notion of marketing Dominica for a cost of two million dollars annually.

    Beside, where are you marketing Dominica?

    I have never seen an advertisement about Dominica, in the United States, Canada, nor any place in Europe on Television, in a Newspaper, or on a Billboard!

    So, perhaps you are advertising Dominica, only to the Dominica tourrist born, and raised in Dominica, and never left Dominica.

    You see, unless we are prepared to shed the beggar mentality, shed the dependency mentality, that someone will come to our rescue, be it local government, or some foreign government with a handout, there shall be no economic progress in the country.

    We want to make money from tourism, however, we see no need for an International Airport, we see no need to develop any modern tourrist resort on the island, we believe that this rubbish talk about nature island will cause the tourrist to flock to the unique Dominica.

    We have no need for any modern Hotels, as a matter of fact, every four bedroom shack (house) owner in the country seems to believe they own a hotel.

    When will we ever learn?

    How long will it take to dawn on us that it is time for us to concentrate on modern architecture, rather than stacking concrete blocks on top of each other and called what we build a home.

    The attention of the visitor to our country must be attracted to something that will make them want to return, or perhaps want to reside in Dominica permanently.

    The attraction does not exists!

    In 1977, we sailed our ship M. V. Felscove into St. Lucia, we were there for three days collecting cargo to take to Barbados. When we did not feel like eating on the ship, we went looking for a restaurant in Castries, and could not find anything suitable to sit in and eat; that was a disappointment, nonetheless, returning to St. Lucia, in recent years, I found something totally different, I could not believe the development I found.

    Shockingly, last night while viewing House Hunters International, where people of the developed world shop for homes internationally, St. Lucia was featured.

    I witness a person from Denmark bought a home in Marigot Bay St. Lucia for more than US$2,000,000.00.

    We are talking about St. Lucia, which sits less than two hundred miles South of Dominica.

    Yet this man is crying over two million dollars he claims he will not have to market, or sell Dominica.

    What a joke!

    Let us continue our quest of begging and our dependency of others, and see how far it gets us.

    And by the way if Austin, Ivy, and Haig Walsh is still breathing and kicking give them my regards, Austin will remember me as the little boy Son from Wesley, the uncle of daughter Maria.

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

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