Tourism Minister, Hon. Ian Douglas has given some insight into how carnival can be used to increase economic productivity on the island.
Minister Douglas shared his views when he addressed the 2013 Carnival Prize Giving Ceremony last Wednesday.
The Minister highlighted the importance of carnival activities as it relates to the economic development of Dominica.
According to Hon. Douglas the Tourism Ministry is aware of the significant financial benefit for both the state and the carnival service provider. He indicated that during the carnival season there is an increase in the movement of people to and from Dominica.
He said, “That is what is most important to us, bringing people into the destination; using Carnival as a tool to attract visitors. Yes we understand it’s a national event and we have to contribute to it but at the same time, we need to use it as a tool to bring persons into the destination.”
Carnival can be developed to provide a large number of the population with a much-needed source of employment.
“Along with our Eco-tourism sites and attractions, our community-tourism initiatives to include cuisine, arts and crafts and all the other aspects of community-tourism, carnival can be developed to provide a wide-cross section of the population with much needed income generating activity and create employment in the process,”the minister noted.
The Minister also revealed that funds have been secured for Government to install a new initiative to follow the progress of tourist dollars in Dominica.
“Funds have been secured to develop a satellite account system with which the Discover Dominica Authority and the Ministry of Tourism by extension and the Government of Dominica can track the revenue that is generated by Tourism. This same exercise can be applied to carnival to track the economic impact of all the activities of carnival on the economy,” he said.
The Ministry of Tourism will continue its efforts to develop Carnival as it grows into a key tourist attraction.
“We have seen the participation of our visitors in the street jump up as well as viewing of carnival bands when cruise ships are in port. As the next cruise season approaches, we expect even greater numbers on our shores which will increase the number of people who will potentially get involved in the carnival activity.”
The Minister emphasized that his ministry will continue to support the Dominica Festivals Committee and make all the necessary financial resources available.
Hon. Douglas congratulated the various sponsors for their involvement, The Dominica Festivals Committee, winners and participants of the various events and the Dominica Police Force for their efforts towards a peaceful carnival.
Hon. Douglas hopes that carnival 2014 will be a team effort in which all ideas, resources and enthusiasms will be used to make carnival bigger and better.