Dominica has received assistance to improve on the competitiveness of the tourism sector and to build the necessary linkages between tourism and especially the agricultural and rural sectors by introducing a range of tourism niche marketing efforts through the Special Framework Assistance (SFA 2006) Tourism Sector Development Programme (TSDP).
The overall objective of the project was to support economic diversification, by further supporting development of alternative economic activities in the tourism and related sectors.
The main purpose was to help improve the competitiveness of the tourism sector in Dominica through the development of a focused and proactive destination management programme and the provision of technical support for the emerging tourism sector institutions as well as for support for the expansion of the rural tourism sector.
The Tourism Sector Development Programme was made up of three main components to include Technical Advisory Services; Destination Marketing and Rural Tourism Development;
The staff of the Tourism Sector Development Program Management Unit comprised of a Programme Coordinator who provided overall management and coordination for the Project, together with the Ministry of Tourism Chief Technical Officer, who provided counterpart support. The unit also consisted of an Accountant; Administrative Assistant; Technical Officer (Architect and Design) and Office attendant;
Technical Assistance was provided to Discover Dominica Authority in the areas of Health and Wellness; Weddings and Honeymoons and quality assurance.
Weddings and Honeymoons: A wedding specialist was contracted to assist Discover Dominica in further developing the Weddings and Honeymoons Niche Market. The main recommendations coming out of the consultancy are as follows:
Health and Wellness: An online Directory was developed with about 80 service providers being featured on that Directory. A symposium was also conducted where services providers had the opportunity to network. The major outcome of the symposium includes the strengthening of the position of Dominica in the Health and Wellness Industry; Publicity for the new Online Health and Wellness directory; Exposure for service providers on their products and services.
Standards Development: New standards were developed for Sites and Attractions and campgrounds; Investors and service providers will now have guidelines to assist them in further developing their products and improving on the quality of their offerings.
Yachting: Work has also been done to improve the yachting sector in Dominica. A dingy has been purchased for yachting security in Portsmouth and a marine guide has been developed.
Under the TSDP two marketing firms were recruited in the source markets of Germany and the United Kingdom. These firms have aided in increasing the awareness of the destination in the marketplace. Funds were also provided to Discover Dominica for other marketing activities such as advertising; sales calls.
From June 2008-June 2009 the Tourism Sector Development Programme undertook a number of initiatives to improve and further develop community tourism in Dominica. Three information Centres are being constructed in the communities of Bellevue Chopin; Wotten Waven and Portsmouth.
Six communities to include Mero; Wotten Waven; Bellevue Chopin; Giraudel/Eggleston and Portsmouth received training in the areas of: e-commerce and e-marketing; business management and development, planning and leadership; ethics and proposal writing.
Four persons from each of the groups also received Tour Guiding Training undertaken by the Dominica State College.