Dominica was hit by tropical storm Erika in August 2015, having a negative impact on the travel and tourism industry. Hotels and communications infrastructure suffered but the country was able to restore itself and bounce back rapidly, minimising the effects of the natural disaster.
Dominica has a good reputation on websites like TripAdvisor which has recognised some of the hotels in the island as members of its GreenLeader programme, which has contributed to increasing awareness for the destination. However, the government of Dominica also continues to make efforts to increase visibility over the internet by developing websites like www.dominicafestivals.com which gathers information about forthcoming events on the island, in order to help travellers to plan their activities in advance. As further efforts are required in order to increase the influx of visitors, the government will begin to use internet analytics to create more effective online advertising.
Direct flights to Dominica are scarce and in order to improve connectivity with other source markets, Seaborne Airlines and JetBlue signed a codeshare agreement at the end of 2015. This will enable travellers to find more connections to the island. JetBlue connections are made via San Juan, Puerto Rico and through Seaborne it covers some Caribbean destinations, including Dominica.
The positive outlook for the tourism industry in Dominica along with the Citizenship by Investment Program is attracting new players into setting up lodging in the country. Hotels and other lodging in the country is mostly locally owned and operated and in general these outlets are small and mid-sized, without a presence of large chains or big resorts, but this is about to change. Under the Citizenship by Investment Program there are around five hotel projects that are either being considered or which have been approved by the government. Among the approved, there are two large hotels that will add nearly 200 rooms – the Hilton Tranquillity Beach Resort Dominica and the Cabrits Resort Kempinski at Douglas Bay – and these are expected to open their doors by 2018.
Dominica enjoys a strong positioning among the tourism destinations in the Caribbean. Adventure tourism will continue as one of the pillars for the development of the industry and the stronger promotion of cultural activities such as carnivals and festivals is likely to attract more visitors to the island. In addition, the government will place a strong focus on yachting which has plenty of potential for growth but which is still underdeveloped. As more yachts arrive to the island, it should have a positive impact on the country’s tourism industry, as visitors that arrive by these means tend to stay longer than average visitors.
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