The Dominica Government, through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, has invested over six million dollars towards rehabilitation and restoration of tourist attraction sites which were damaged by the passage of Hurricane Maria.
This was revealed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Careen Prevost in an interview with members of the media on Tuesday 10 July 2018, on the occasion of Carnival Cruise Lines’ return to Dominica after an eight year absence.
Many of the country’s tourist and natural attractions were severely impacted by the Hurricane in September 2018, and left in various stages of disrepair and damage. As a result many of them had to be closed as a safety precaution.
Ms. Prevost stated they have done work on all sites, to ensure that they were quickly reopened, as well as completed rehabilitation works on the Dame Mary Eugenia Charles Boulevard and the Old Roseau Market.
“Government has invested over six million dollars post Maria in sites for reconstruction and rehabilitation. This money was given to get the sites ready, some for January; after which we continued to do more work which you can see now. So after the last period of ten months we have really been working hard at the Ministry of Tourism,” Ms. Prevost stated.
She noted that with the help of various stakeholders from both the public and private sector, the Ministry of Tourism was able to rehabilitate and beautify the Boulevard, the Old Roseau Market, with additional works ongoing at the Dawbiney Market which is scheduled to be completed by the next call of the Caribbean Cruise Lines.
She noted that an increased marketing budget enabled the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to enhance its marketing of the island and allowed Minister Robert Tonge to meet with and assure relevant stakeholders of the country’s readiness for cruise tourism, especially post Maria.
“This year, twelve million dollars was approved for our marketing budget which is a historic high. And of course, post Hurricane Maria we had to concentrate our marketing efforts on showing that Dominica is open and ready for business,” she noted.
According to Ms. Prevost, the Ministry’s marketing executives have been working on the stay over and cruise market by dialoguing with cruise lines and attending cruise trade shows, to provide regular updates on Dominica’s recovery progress as far as tourism is concerned.
The Ministry of Tourism and Culture has been working in Portsmouth to encourage the accommodation owners in the community “to diversify and offer their rooms to guests, not just for when there are events but generally for visitors”.
The Ministry is also working on “developing the standards and enhancing the area, encouraging more entertainment and just promoting Portsmouth and its sites” Ms. Prevost added.