“Dominica is back in action” is the message of the island’s tourism authority after it was ravaged by Tropical Storm Erika in August.
More than 30 people were killed and US$483 million worth of damage was caused – 90% of the nation’s GDP – when the storm struck the island, which receives around 5,500 UK visitors each year.
Tourists had to be helicoptered out of locations which became isolated.
While all but five hotels have reopened, the popular Jungle Bay Resort & Spa remains closed for the foreseeable future after a mudslide “took out most of the cottages”.
However, Discover Dominica Authority’s director of tourism, Colin Piper (pictured), said the Caribbean island’s tourism industry has “high expectations” for the upcoming season, with road networks, hotels and attractions “in good shape”.
“Visitor arrivals in September and October were significantly impacted and only in the tail end of November has that changed,” he said.
“The airport essentially had a river running through it, but within two weeks was cleaned up and on September 18 we had the first scheduled flights. The first cruise ship was scheduled to come in on October 5 and it did.
“I am here to say that we are back in action. It’s a new normal with some minor inconveniences.”
Dominica has increased the number of fam trips it hosts following the storm and is advising agents selling Dominica to confirm with hotels that “everything is on point”.
Usually UK visitors can reach Dominica within a day but damage to night landing equipment means this is not currently possible. This is expected to be rectified by the end of December.
“There’s a long road ahead,” said Piper.
“It would significantly alter our debt to equity ratio if we had to borrow the money that we need so a lot of it will have to be grants.
“There has been a significant impact on the economy and we don’t want that lull to last.”
Tour operators interested in developing new product in Dominica, and holding fam trips, can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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