Tourism marketing gets increased budget allocation

Visitors arriving in Dominica
Visitors arriving in Dominica

Dominica’s marketing budget has received an increase of $2-million to $6-million from the original $4-million, the country’s Finance and Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has announced.

However the Opposition believes the amount is not adequate and is proposing that the budget be increased to $10-million.

“The Ministry has already engaged the private sector stakeholders, on the matter of the preparation of the marketing strategy. With that in mind, the tourism marketing budget will be increased by $2-million to $6-million,” Skerrit said during his budget presentation on Friday.

According to him, there have been “numerous requests” for “greater visibility of Dominica in the market place” and “while this is necessary, we must also optimize the return from every dollar spent on marketing.”

He noted that the Ministry of Tourism has been mandated to do a “complete examination of the marketing strategy, with a view to ensuring that we get the best value for money”.

Leader of the Opposition Lennox Linton, during his response to the budget on Monday said the budget should be increased to nothing lower than $10-million.

“The increase in the tourism marketing budget from $4 to $6-million is not enough and still way below the Caribbean norm of 2-3 percent of visitor spending,” Linton remarked. “Again, we recommend an annual tourism marketing budget of at least $10 million.”

Linton argued that the country should have a Trade and Marketing Center in the French Islands and focus on the European Union markets.

“In order to take maximum advantage of the New European Partnership Agreement (EPA), we must establish a permanent, professionally staffed all year round Dominica Trade and Marketing Centre in the French islands to promote Tourism and Tourism investment in Dominica, and to also market Dominica’s Crafts, Music, Culture and Agriculture,” he said. “The Caribbean is our core market accounting for 50 percent of Dominica’s stay over visitors, more than half of which comes from the French Islands.”

He said the present policy of sending trade missions to the French West Indies just before the World Creole Music Festival, Carnival, and a few other times in between is “not the most effective way of growing the French Caribbean market.”

In June of this year, the Prime Minister first mentioned that the marketing budget would be increased but did not state the exact figure, only saying that it would be closer to a proposed $12-million.

Back then both the CEO of the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA), Colin Piper and the President of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) Gregor Nassief said the news of an increased in marketing budget was welcoming.

Piper noted that the increase is something they have been lobbying for a few years now since they felt that it would benefit the destination while Nassief said the DHTA is very encouraged by the indication.

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9 Comments

  1. bbm
    July 29, 2015

    These people think Marketing is just advertise advertise advertise and promotion promotion promotion. What about the product itself? what are we doing to refine the experience that we are offering? Why not put some money into creating a new tourist attraction or location? or put some money into helping the vagrant situation? or improving the ports of entry. We putting the cart before the horse. If the product is EXCEPTIONAL, it will sell itself. we would not need to pump all that money into advertising and promotions. We cannot continue to rely on seasonal attractions like creole music fest to bring people in. Marketing starts way before you even have something to offer (product, service or experience). it serves to satisfy the needs and wants of customers. a proper marketing manager should seek to find out what it is that is needed and wanted and provide it just the way its is needed and wanted to ensure satisfaction. What steps have we taken to ensure complete satisfaction?

  2. Jeff
    July 29, 2015

    Why go this thing alone, why reinvent the wheel? Is there a component for consultation or ‘How To’ with any other thriving tourism market like St. Thomas, St. Marten etc. on how to do certain aspects of tourism? How about 3-5 mil on a marina for instance?? Build it, Build it, they will come. Both sides in contradiction but are failing to mention a marina or two. Now you would be talking serious tourism.

  3. time to stop
    July 28, 2015

    Please ensure that marketing is geared to stay over visitors and those in our preferred niche markets The cruise calls for the next 2015/2016 season have dropped even further than last season…..this is becoming a dead end………just ask the vendors who litter the Bayfront area with their shanty style booths.

  4. PASSPORT BUDGET
    July 28, 2015

    I wonder if that would make those boats re-route from cuba

  5. Shameless
    July 28, 2015

    Any increase in the destination marketing budget is good but I have to agree with LL that 6 million is till not enough. Gregor must be happy because he got his payment for criticizing the BAWI protest. But on the other hand, looks like Skerro taking all the ideas of Team Dominica but refusing to give credit where credit is due :mrgreen:

    Assertive, NOT Aggressive! :twisted:

  6. Green Gold
    July 28, 2015

    I do agree Dominica needs more exposure internationally, the questions is, what is the best way to do so? I do not agree with blindly increasing the budget without an extensive evaluation.

    The Dominica tourism department can start by utilizing the photo of the day out of Stowe to market the country as an exotic, magical island.

  7. anonymous2
    July 28, 2015

    The other question that begs asking is how can they be even THINKING of spending all of this money that has never seen much in the way of returns in the past considering the amount ot debt that is already in existence? If there was a substantial track record it would be one thing, but visiting DA in not on the maps of most tourists, especially considering that the world is actually in a state of depression economically.

  8. anonymous2
    July 28, 2015

    They can market all they want but until it is inexpensive and easy to get to DA, people won’t be coming since there are a lot of other places that that could go for the amount of money that it takes to just get to DA from the states and Europe.

  9. grell
    July 28, 2015

    Outrageous,is this fool for real,continue struggling poor people.

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