The Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association met with the Dominica Business Forum to discuss creative solutions in enhancing access to finance by the private sector. Member of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA), Mrs. Marvelyn Alexander-James expressed that between the year 2008 and 2019, the tourism economy has dropped according to statistics. Mrs. James stated some of the challenges that are faced by the tourism sector and highlighted finance as being one of the main hurdles.
According to Mrs. James , statistics in 2016 shows that Tourism contributed to 11.6 to the gross domestic product and supported over 32% of employment in Dominica. However, due to a result of Hurricane Maria, the percentage has dropped, mainly due to the loss of businesses because of lack of financing and insurance compensation. She went on to explain that there is a shortage of labor due to migration after Hurricane Maria
“The entire sector was totally damaged by Hurricane Maria , some more than others so our accommodation sector was greatly hit. Pre-Maria There were 900 rooms operating within 90 properties, post Maria there were 46 properties operating a total of 511 rooms. So we are at 50% of our pre maria capacity” James stated.
She went on to say that many properties are still closed due to lack of finance and lack of insurance benefits.
“There are some members who are under insured, not insured at all or still waiting for funds from their claim. There are taxi drivers who have lost their buses during the Hurricane or some may need to upgrade. So we still have some challenges due to lack of access to finance,” Mrs. James stated.
The DHTA recommends a grand funding to redevelop the tourism sector, especially the businesses that have not been able to re-open since Hurricane Maria.
“We are looking at grant financing for these initiatives such as recycling, water consumption initiatives, LED, and so on.”
Mrs James went on to mention that the Tourism sector is carrying a great amount of debt and the DHTA recommends a human resource development plan to determine a strategy to develop the gaps in the Tourism sector.