Roseau, Dominica – (May , 2018) Officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Discover Dominica Authority visited several opened hotels recently as part of a month long outreach to obtain in person updates on the hotel recovery on island following Hurricane Maria.
During a visit to the Fort Young Hotel on April 23, the delegation, headed by Senator Robert Tonge – Minister for Tourism and Culture, Colin Piper – CEO of Discover Dominica Authority and other senior tourism officials were given a tour of the hotel by Chairman, Gregor Nassief. The group was updated on the on-going renovations which will see the reopened property expand to101 rooms from the former 72 rooms.
The Fort Young Hotel, which is located on the sea front adjacent to the Roseau Bayfront was badly damaged by Hurricane Maria. However, extensive work was swiftly undertaken which allowed for a partial re-opening in January with 41 rooms, and the hotel is currently hosting many foreign visitors.
The hotel outreach continued with visits to hotels along the West Coast of the island, which have been able to resume operations since Hurricane Maria. The Tamarind Tree Hotel & Restaurant has been accepting guests since January 2018. Property owner Annette Loerner-Peyer has also expanded the product tour offer to include the adoption of Segment 11 of the Waitukubuli National Trail for which they provide Voluntourism packages to visitors.
The island’s “lobster palace” Sunset Bay was one among the very few properties to reopen soon after the hurricane from October 27th 2017, as a result of the dedication of the owners to provide a valuable service to their hotel and restaurant clients and provide much needed employment for their twenty-seven staff.
Picard Beach Cottages’, Dafar Shillingford was happy to report that business has been good, since they reopened their doors in October, and that their room stock of 18 cottages are already fully booked for the upcoming Jazz ‘n Creole festival.
Overall, despite still facing challenges instigated by the passage of the hurricane, these dedicated tourism practitioners continue to provide much need services and warm Dominican hospitality to our visitors.
The tourism officials gained valuable feedback regarding current visitor sentiment about the destination and first-hand knowledge of the loyal stakeholders’ commitment to this pillar of local economy activities as well as challenges they face. The intelligence gained will certainly assist in the formulation of more effective forward planning between the public and private sectors which is of paramount importance to the rebuilding of this mutually beneficial and vital tourism industry.