Recent amendments made to Dominica’s Marriage Act will enable the country to capitalize on the multibillion dollar wedding and honeymoon market.
That market has been identified as an important one for Dominica which could contribute to the growth in visitor arrivals and expenditure.
One of the major aspects of the amendment to Dominica’s marriage act is the introduction of the non residency requirement. This will allow couples to obtain a marriage license within twenty four hours.
The Ministry of Social Services who is the agency responsible for the issuance of the marriage license will adopt the new process on March 1, 2013.
A briefing was held at the Garraway hotel on Wednesday February 20th, 2013 to inform wedding service providers and tourism stakeholders about the new process.
Over the past four years the Discover Dominica Authority has taken actions to allow Dominica to take advantage of the wedding and honeymoon niche market. Colin Piper, CEO at the DDA gave a brief overview of those actions.
“A series of four workshops targeting wedding service providers was held in April 2010. These workshops focused on strengthening the development of the wedding and honeymoon niche tourism product and building the capacity of relevant public and private sector persons and organizations involved or wishing to become involved in this market. The Marriage Amendment Act 2011 was approved in February 2011. This allows for greater flexibility, convenience and expediency of service in acquiring a marriage license. Participation in the 2012 home base travel agents forum gave Dominica the opportunity to network with the most established travel agents specializing in wedding and honey moon destinations. Discover Dominica Authority in collaboration with Dreamy Weddings hosted a bridal fair. The event allowed wedding and event service providers to network with each other and showcase their products and services. Approximately forty exhibitors participated in this event.”
Piper gave an insight of the DDA’s short term plan of action.
“With a view of competing with leading wedding and honeymoon destinations such as St. Lucia and Barbados, DDA will undertake a short term plan of action. This will include participation in wedding specialized tradeshows, updates on the wedding and honeymoon page on the website, engaging of travel writers and publications of ads in leading wedding magazines. With the recent amendments of the marriage act, coupled with a wide range of natural scenery, Dominica is positioned to increase its market share in the destination weddings and honeymoon market, however our offering must be of the highest quality and be significantly differentiated from those offers at other Caribbean islands. The stakeholders and practitioners in this space are therefore challenged to develop products and offerings that can entice the adventurous ones to come to the nature isle to have a wonderful experience whether they are coming to get married or on their honeymoon.”
Minister for Tourism Hon. Ian Douglas says Dominica stands to benefit significantly from this market.
“If only we can position ourselves to profit from just a small percentage of this market, our destination will certainly benefit. Consider the following statistic…The destination markets in the world accounts for 16 billion US dollars in annual spending which means the recession has not affected this market. It doesn’t matter what is happening with the economies of the world, people will fall in love and will want to get married and we have to be prepared for that.”