The Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association hosted its 50th Annual General meeting under the theme “Maintaining Competitiveness in a Changing Tourism Landscape”.
During the event held on September 9th DHTA Executive Vice President, Kevin A Francis stated, “This is a big milestone for the association” . He commented, “We remain extremely grateful to our members and partners for continuing to work with us to help change and improve the tourism landscape on island. Our industry for these last 50 years has been carried by our authentic boutique hotels, but with the changing tourism landscape, more needs to be done in order to keep these boutique hotels operational and most of all competitive.”
Minister for Tourism Hon Sen Robert Tonge who presented the keynote address at the Association’s open session noted, “We are operating in one of the world’s largest and most significant industries, and Dominica is making its mark on the global scale as an adventure and heritage tourism destination.”
He also remarked that, ” The regional industry’s growth is expected to continue its upswing following the declines experienced in 2017 as a result of the passage of two category five hurricanes, Irma and Maria and the region should see growth by least 4-5 % in 2019. In Dominica, our industry continues to contribute significantly to the growth of the national economy. Our industry which is rebounding from the impact caused as a result of the passage of Hurricane Maria in 2017, is projected to surpass pre-2016 figures by the end of the 2019 season. The combined efforts of the public and private sectors to rebuild the sector is taking on an even greater meaning and is expected to result in increased visitor arrivals and visitor spend over the next few years.
We must be fully aware that we are operating in one of the world’s most complex, competitive and sophisticated industries now more than ever before. We are seeing major shifts in changes in demographics and in travelers’ consumption patterns which create both major challenges and opportunities for our tourism industry.”
The DHTA Presidnet, Marvlyn Alexander James, agreed that Dominica industry’s ability to stay competitive hinges on several factors that must be considered by the DHTA and public sector partners. James stated that “In order for the sector to remain competitive we need to see improvements in existing plant specifically within our smaller boutique hotels, the adherence to international standards and the provision of quality products and services. She further stated that other factors that are critical to Dominica’s tourism industry’s success are the improvement of air access, increased awareness of the destination and the training of our people to take advantage of the opportunities that exist.
The Executive Vice president Mr. Francis added that “The DHTA will refocus its efforts in strengthening linkages within the agriculture industry and is looking to put forward a plan, and work with agriculture stakeholders, that will help create a Platform; an Agriculture management information system that will service the needs of both sectors. Families that benefit from AFF will see an impact in their livelihoods and incomes when Dexia can be better able to spot trends and filling gaps in the market and the public and private sector can collaborate on an integrated system that will better identify training and capacity building and support areas.”
He also remarked that, “All this work we have been able to do thus far, could not be done without the partnership and support of our corporate partners FLOW CW business, CGM Gallagher and Archipelago Trading”.
Two of the Association’s Past Presidents were also recognized during the open session of the AGM. The awardees were selected for being the early pioneers of the Association and for their continued support and contribution to the tourism industry in Dominica.
The Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association is a non-profit organization providing centralized and innovative information, advocacy, and leadership for the tourism industry in Dominica.