Tourism Minister concerned over repositioning of Serenade of the Seas

Serenade of the Seas. Photo credit: cruisenowandtravel.com

Tourism Minister Ian Douglas has raised concerns over the announcement by Royal Caribbean International that it will reposition its ship, Serenade of the Seas, from the Caribbean to Europe in the summer of 2012.

Douglas said any loss of business in the tourism sector will affect the Dominican economy.

“Tourism is the major driver of the economy right now and cruise tourism is a major part of that. It employs many persons from vendors to tour operators and any loss of business will be detrimental,” he said.

Douglas said tourism is a very competitive market and cruise executives are always looking to grow their business.

“So we in the Caribbean have to also think along those lines and ensure that visitors are given the best. We have to ensure that the product is always fresh, exciting and appealing,” he said.

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9 Comments

  1. Mandy
    July 25, 2011

    As a cruise passenger, I am also highly upset by Royal Caribbean’s decision to swap Guadeloupe for Dominica on its southern Caribbean itineraries. I LOVE visiting Dominica; it is one of my favorite islands. I’ve been there twice on cruise vacations and I’m very anxious to return. I understand the economic basis for adding a departure port which enables easier embarkation for European passengers. However, I don’t understand the move toward embracing the more homogeneous, indistinguishable, highly-developed ports of call in favor of eliminating the unique and rare gems, like Dominica. I wonder if, what RCI gains in Europeans anxious to depart from a European-based location, they will lose in passengers like myself, who desire to return to Dominica to explore it in more depth. If RCI doesn’t add Dominica into one of it’s itineraries within the next few years, I will seriously consider booking with another line in order to experience the rare beauty of this island again. I join you in feeling that RCI is making a mistake here. I hope they are quick to realize their error.

  2. Piper
    March 11, 2011

    The cruise liners make repositioning decision all the time. Whether Dominica was a very attractvie tourist destination would not change that. What we need to do is have a lot of ships coming in ROUTINELY, such that when the odd vessel is repositioned, the impact is minimal.

    That is where we have to look at the broader picture of making the island a place where people want to visit. Don’t forget, Dominica is not only competing against the other islands in the region. We are also competing against other European destinations with very beautiful geography, architecture and history. We have to make our country a place where people want to visit. If the cruise liners see a high load factor for cruises that pass through Dominica, they must respond to that demand.

    What we need to keep in mind is, the executives of the cruise liners could not give one toss about whether their ships visit Dominica, Belize or Timbuktu for that matter. All they want to do is maximize their return. It is up to us to make our country a go-to destination.

  3. Et tu Brutus
    March 10, 2011

    Royal Caribbean International/Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited (RCI/RCCL) decision to reposition the Serenade of the Seas is cause for concern as such a move will affect the many persons whose livelihoods depends on the cruise industry as well as the revenue Government gets from the ship.

    What are the people at Discover and Invest Dominica doing…have they become the DEAD WOOD Yvor Nassief referred to the some staff at the former NDC as in 1997 when he shut down the NDC?

    I thought y now Dominica would be a much more flourishing Tourism Destination since we have a leaner, more professional and educated and creative Discover Dominica and Invest Dominica.

    First it was Carnival now Royal Caribbean…whose next??? Mr. Prevost please get ready for the next level because neither Ian nor his predecessor Yvor and the so called technocrats will reach the next level…

  4. Gee
    March 10, 2011

    ……………………..AND? What can we do about it??? This is what happens when we don’t diversify our economy!! We become economical slaves. We look helpless and hopeless!!!

  5. Agri Pointer
    March 10, 2011

    Maybe all of this is pointing to the fact that we have to look seriously of repositioning agriculture for continued and future growth and development. Maybe the Minister’s view of that sector should change in relation to our comparative advantage for production at the field level and our ability to feed the region!

  6. Piper
    March 10, 2011

    Another one who loves to state the obvious. Now that you have made that statement, what are you going to do about it?

    • Ca Kway Tonae!!
      March 10, 2011

      Couldn’t agree with you more. The paragraph before the last answers your question and is also telling.

      Seems to us that questions the Minister should be seeking to answer are: “Why is Royal Caribbean International making this move? And what can we do in Dominica to get them to change their mind?”

      Questions remain about how Dominica is (the authorities) positioning itself to be able to compete and optimize its tourism product? What systems and structures are we pitting in place so as to mitigate against the whims of this market? Indeed, how is Dominica’s tourism product – in terms of offerings, quality, and customer experience – unique and distinct from any other?

      For starters, we need to take steps in ramping up our nationals’ total awareness of, appreciation for and involvement in developing Dominica’s natural treasures. Take measures to show Dominicans how their investment in tourism is to their benefit. We have to improve quality across all platforms supporting the product. And seriously, we have to put in (and/or strengthen) the systems that make Dominicans pay for access and use of our tourism product.

  7. mouth of the south
    March 10, 2011

    stop with the foolishness,,, ian n past ministers have failed to realise it is better to develop our agricultural industry n utilize it also not just pack n ship bananas etc etc but develop via manufacturing plants n make money while creating mass employment,,,, why spend so much in such an industry which fluctuates such as tourism,,,,, it’s so funny we have these big boats but drivers use to make more money when ‘festival’ use to dock in woodbridge bay,,, i know some of allu don’t know festival,,, i don’t blame allu babies lol

    • LawieBawie
      March 10, 2011

      You talk as if the agriculture industry does not flunctuate also. Almost every year Dominica’s tree crops take a pounding from tropical storms, so your point does not hold ground here bro. I would support you however if you said that we need to consider various forms of diversity for our economy, because it is never good to carry all your eggs in one basket.

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