Introduction, Background and Rational
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).
Objectives and Purpose
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;
- Technical Advisory Services helped to strengthen the technical capacity of key public sector institutions to include the Ministry of Tourism (Tourism Expert) and the Discover Dominica Authority (International Expert);
- Destination Marketing helped to increase brand awareness and foreign exchange earnings;
- Rural Tourism Development component assisted in strengthening the capacity of stakeholders groups to manage new enterprises and to develop new and quality product and services that will help to diversify rural incomes and improve on the quality of life of rural communities and people.
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 Advisory Services
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:
- Increased promotion to include the creation of an e-brochure of all the wedding service providers in Dominica and the promotions of Dominica as a weddings and honeymoons destination by attending specific tradeshows and advertising in bridal magazines
- Amendment to the marriage Act to include same day licences; no waiting period; appointment of marriage officers around the country thus making it easier to get married in Dominica.
- National Parks should implement a set of guidelines to govern the sites that they would like featured as destination wedding sites; Recommendations were also made in regards to upgrades for potential weddings locations.
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.
Rural Tourism Development
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.
- Portsmouth India River Reception Centre: This building will house a fine dining restaurant; craft and souvenir vending units; office space; conference centre; snackette and a small stage for low impact performances; Washrooms facilities for visitors and staff will also form part of the facility. We expect that this facility will improve the standard of services offered to visitors to the Indian River.
- Bellevue Chopin Tourism Reception Centre: This centre will house a reception centre; display area and small snackette and washroom facilities. The building will be managed by the Bellevue Chopin Organic Farmers Group for displaying of their organic products and also for dispatching Tours to their farms;
- Wotten Waven Tourism Reception Centre: The centre will house a reception centre; computer centre; washroom facilities. The centre will be used to dispatch tours to sites and attractions within the valley area.
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.