The Accommodation Sector in Dominica suffered extensive damage as a result of Hurricane Maria Director of Tourism and Chief Executive Officer of the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) Colin Piper revealed during the daily press briefing on Wednesday 18 October 2018.
Piper explained that prior to the hurricane the DDA had seventy-three properties listed as functional, this translated to nine hundred and nine guest rooms.
After conducting a rapid assessment visiting sixty-four properties or eighty-eight percent of accommodations, the extensive damage was seen to span the entire island ranging from moderately affected to severely damaged or destroyed.
“Of the properties visited thus far based on our assessment thirty-two are moderately damaged meaning partial structure damage and able to operate now or in the near future with fixes and repairs either in whole or part and also needing assistance with lights, water, amenities to take care of things like laundry for linens and towels. In most cases Wi-Fi is not available,” he explained.
Thirty-two properties assessed have been deemed severely damaged or destroyed with serious to total destruction of structures including roofs, electricals, and plumbing. Piper said the outlook for these properties is a longer term rebuilding somewhere in the area of twelve to even possibly twenty-four months.
Unfortunately he added some property owners have indicated that they will be unable to rebuild but said further discussions will be held.
Fifty-one percent of the total room stock or four hundred and sixty-seven guest rooms suffered moderate damage while three hundred and eighty-seven guest rooms are in the severely damaged or destroyed category.
Piper said some properties have been able to begin minimalistic operations housing mainly relief and aid workers or displaced residents and staff while other properties may need to rebuild completely and estimate reopening times range from three to six months to as far as twenty-four months out.
The DDA’s preliminary position is being able to have a full understanding of operations of the industry from an accommodation perspective in January 2018.
In the meantime he said they will continue to advocate on the behalf of the accommodation sector for immediate relief.
He explained this will include “manpower and labour to help you better assess, we’re also trying to monitor and maintain a daily inventory of the available rooms so that we can communicate that out to the wider public and certainly advocate for the return of utilities to properties that can be operational, that being electricity, water and the like”.