Tourism Minister, Robert Tonge, has announced that $8.5-million has been allocated for marketing Dominica in the 2016/2017 national budget, which is to be presented by the Prime Minister, on Tuesday.
He said that the additional funds are needed to implement the much-touted Tourism Master Plan.
“We all know that we’re supposed to be governed by the Tourism Master Plan, which is kind of driving us the way forward. The minimum amount that the Tourism Master Plan requires is at least $8.5-million…” he explained. “This year, the Cabinet has approved and supports increasing the budget to $8.5-million so that we can truly begin to put us in a better position to get the results.”
Tongue insisted that the money be spent wisely, to target a niche market.
“Coming out of that too, we also have to ensure that we spend our money wisely, because every dollar counts, and we no longer can just cast a wide net,” he elaborated. “We have to be very pointed and targeted as to who we are attracting, to get them to want to come to Dominica.”
He revealed that there has been re-appointment of market representatives in the United States, Canada, France, and Germany, to ensure tangible results.
“We want to ensure that the persons who are representing us out there are going to give us the results that we require. And, if they are not giving us the results that we require, we will change them,” Tongue noted.
The budget this year stands at over $680-million.
In May 2016, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Roosevelt Skerrit announced an increase in Dominica’s marketing budget, to allow for several new initiatives, including an increased budget for the World Creole Music Festival.
In 2014, the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA), said it would like to see Dominica double its budget in marketing the destination, from the then $4-million to $8-million.
In 2015, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit revealed an increase of $2-million to $6-million.
Last year, CEO of the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA), Colin Piper said a study was conducted for the DDA’s Corporate Strategy and Action Plan, to determine what the figures of an increased marketing budget would be in order to compete against some of the destinations in the Caribbean.
He noted that the overall figure stood between $8-million and $12-million.