Dominica’s tourism sector is expected to grow by 1.5 percent in 2013. Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit told parliament on Wednesday that projections take into account an increase in tourist arrivals with the introduction of new cruise ship calls as well as the new business that is expected in the hotel sector.

The Prime Minister noted, “The reliability of air transportation is expected to be an added advantage as LIAT continues its re-fleeting exercise.  Government will maintain its commitment to assisting LIAT in that regard and reassert that investments in LIAT were made in the best interest of Dominica.  It is also anticipated that tourism spending will increase given the improvements of the economies in source markets.”

The hotel and restaurant sector is estimated to have contracted by 1.6 percent in 2012 in contrast to growth of 8.3 percent in 2011.

Government has been paying attention to recommendations from local and external sources for increasing tourist arrivals and allowing the tourism product to become more competitive.

He revealed, “Currently there are approximately 460 export ready rooms.  By the end of the year the number is expected to increase by 155 rooms to a number of 615.  The completion of the Cabrits Hotel and Spa, funded by the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco will contribute 68 rooms to the hotel stock.”

The Dominica leader announced that in the short to medium term, new hotel plants will become operational. This he anticipates will result in the creation of approximately three hundred (300) new jobs of which one hundred (100) will be associated with the Moroccan funded hotel.

The 2013/2014 budget also seeks to increase direct foreign investments.

Principal advisor to the Prime Minister Edward Lambert explained that aspect of the presentation during a live post budget discussion at the GIS studios on Wednesday.

Lambert explained, “This budget statement speaks to the formation of a special purpose vehicle under which citizenship by investment is going to be tackled.  We realize in the market place there are a number of potential investors who do not want a passport as such, what they really want is to invest in a facility and where they can vacation occasionally.”

He says the intention early in the fiscal year is to begin legislative agreement for such operations to begin.