“On June 28th 2018, the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) concluded another successful Action Through Collaboration in Tourism Talk (ACTalk),” commented the executive vice president of the association Mr. Kevin A. Francis. “This installment of our ACTalks was facilitated by the AID bank and focused on the now 2% loan facility, and how the new developments have made it more accessible to the industry to help refuel their resilient rebuild.”
Mr. Francis outlined that this session was to explore lessons learnt with the key objectives: to align the association with the issues of the membership, and help guide their advocacy efforts. “It was important to set the tone for the discussion as a learning exercise as there has been increased frustration among the membership as it relates to the ease of access to information and disbursement of the facility.” In attendance were key stakeholders in the tourism industry including the Ministry of Tourism and the Discover Dominica Authority.
“We saw presentations from our platinum corporate partners CW Business, as they continue to develop and roll out products that are specifically suited to the hospitality industry and will help in their ongoing efforts to reopen ahead of the 2018/19 season.” In keeping with the theme of the ACTalks ‘Members helping members. Ideas worth sharing,’ the membership also saw a presentation from The Champs hotel, who outlined their process to eventual disbursement which included their understanding of what to expect, challenges they encountered, and subsequent recommendations. The facilitators, AID bank, according to Mr. Francis, “Had a prime opportunity to connect with the membership and understand the challenges faced by them. The AID bank has made several strides in increasing knowledge and visibility on the facility, but more needs to be done. This open dialogue is a step in the right direction to eventually get these funds into the hands of the businesses that need it.”
The DHTA has been, for some time now, seeking avenues to ease the frustrations of it’s membership on this issue and sees this, and other ACTalks, as a sustainable way to build capacity and increase competent advocacy. “We will not stop representing our membership,” Mr. Francis remarked, “these ACTalks are integral to our advocacy and will remain a staple on our calendar. I would add, however, that it becomes more apparent that a more proactive approach to our representation and advocacy needs to be adopted if we are to be ready for the coming tourist season and beyond.
While there are many hurdles to face in this new landscape, the DHTA stays committed to its membership and will continue to do everything within its power to represent their members’ interests to the best of their ability. The next step is to revise these collated recommendations and make a solid case to the Ministry of Finance for the amendment of the terms and conditions set forth for the borrowing from the facility. In closing remarks Mr. Francis emphasized, “We are a capital intensive industry and refinancing is still a major issue for our members. Will a refinancing option help more members access the facility? That is a question that will be explored in the coming months with this new information.”
Operating as a membership-based tourism development organization for over four decades, the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association is a focal point for the tourism industry in Dominica. The DHTA assumes a leadership role in the industry, and acts as a catalyst for enabling Dominica’s tourism economy to reach its full potential to the benefit of our current and future members, visitors, investors and travel partners, citizens and the Commonwealth of Dominica.