Tourism Minister insists that cruise passenger arrivals in the 2016/2017 cruise season will increase by 15%
Tourism Minister Robert Tonge, insists that cruise passenger arrivals in the 2016/2017 cruise season will increase by 15%. At a DLP rally in Soufriere on Tuesday, he said, “This year, in terms of cruise visitors, we had about 276,000 persons coming to our shore. Many people try to fool you, and they say ‘well, it’s not increasing’, but I can tell you, this season, for the cruise business, our numbers are going up to 319,000 people. “That is an increase of over 15%.”
Tongue said tourism benefits every citizen, whether directly or indirectly. Statistics from the Caribbean Tourism Association showed disappointing figures for the just ended 2015/2016 cruise ship season, with the island receiving 165 calls and a total of 284,000 passengers.
This represented a 2.5% drop as compared to 2014 when Dominica received 286,575 cruise ship visitors. In early May, Tonge blamed the low numbers on challenges such as high winds, which resulted in seven cancelled ship calls. At that time, he also announced that several initiatives will be implemented for the 2016/2017 cruise ship season.
Among these proposed initiatives was the inclusion of properly trained, and preferably multilingual tour guide on each tour bus, exclusive access at tourist attractions, at certain times, and a new dispatch system, with minimum tour rates.
It was also said that the Ministry sought to establish a holding area for buses to encourage order, to facilitate inspection of vehicles, and to reduce traffic congestion in the city. Tonge stated that Dominica has high ratings of 8.7 for organized tours.
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