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.