The issue of access into Dominica was at the centre of discussions when stakeholders deliberated at a special two-day conference which commenced at the Fort Young Hotel on Tuesday.
The conference which was organised by the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) is designed to focus on the destination and strategise on ways to entice more visitors to the destination.
Head of the DDA, Colin Piper says adequate access into the country continues to be a major concern for Dominica and plans have to be made to correct that.
He says one approach to rectify this is to form partnerships with people involved in the aviation industry.
“There are no better people to address the issues with than those involved in the aviation business either the mangers of airports or the owners and operators of small airlines and the destination and its stakeholders which has made an investment in the industry. By bringing all these people together we are hoping to have substantive dialogue around the challenges that we face, making our issues known, making our issues real so that they realise that our tourism industry will not necessarily grow as we would have liked it until we address the issue of air access,” he noted.
The Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) views this conference as a timely intervention in the process of finding solutions to access.
President of the (DHTA), Yvonne Armour delivered a presentation on day one of the conference. Armour said her presentation focused on what it takes to get the visitor to the destination.
“We are really trying to wow the people by letting them know [the value of Dominica]. We want them to know what the product offerings are as well as the constraints. We have problems of reliability of airlift and with the baggage. It’s all about resolving issues of reliability and cost effectiveness so that for our clients we can have some level of guarantee that when they come to Dominica it’s going to be seamless,” Amour pointed out.
Meantime Ian Bertrand an Access Consultant from Trinidad and Tobago has been working with the Discover Dominica Authority to find practical solutions for Dominica’s access concerns. Bertrand is suggesting that ferry access into Dominica should be further exploited.
“Ferry access is an important part of the access solution to Dominica. You have the two ferries that travel between Guadeloupe and Martinique and Saint Lucia into Cabrits in Portsmouth and Roseau. They bring in a significant number of visitors to Dominica. Since we are looking at optimising all the resources available to Dominica we have to look at both air and sea access,” Bertrand said.