ROSEAU, Dominica--After the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in September 2017, visitor arrival numbers are indicating a recovery in the island’s important tourism sector.
The October to December period in 2018 produced 22,178 arrivals from all Dominica’s source markets – 35.3 per cent of total stay-over arrivals for the year. That was an increase of 95 per cent over the same period in 2017, with month on month increases of 91 per cent, 113 per cent and 78 per cent, respectively, during the last three months of the year.
Although the year-end figure of 62,828 visitor arrivals represented a 13 per cent decline over 2017, tourism officials said the performance surpassed the projections given for countries that had suffered a natural disaster of the magnitude of Hurricane Maria during the previous year. Expected declines are normally in the vicinity of 30 per cent. The 2018 numbers represented were also only a 20 per cent decline over 2016 arrivals.
The cruise season was modified as a result of the passage of Hurricane Maria, resulting in an 88 per cent decline in arrivals in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. However, there was a major improvement in cruise arrival numbers during the last two months of 2018. The destination also recorded cruise visitor arrivals in July, August and September for the first time in five years which contributed to a total of 134,469 arrivals in 2018, a 14.4 per cent decline over 2017 (154,040).
“These figures are the direct result of the cumulative efforts of Team Dominica in many different aspects of the destination’s recovery,” said Minister for Tourism and Culture, Robert Tonge.
“The government’s investment in site rehabilitation and enhancements along with the celebratory season, which started with the exciting World Creole Music Festival in October, through to Reunion and the 40th Anniversary of Independence in November, were key drivers of interest among our loyal Diaspora market and friends of Dominica. The recorded figures augur well for the future of the industry and the people of Dominica on the whole.”
Over the past year, the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) provided timely updates on the destination’s positive recovery efforts and stories of optimism following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.
DDA’s Destination Marketing Manager Vicky Chandler said the agency had embarked on an aggressive communications strategy which saw the development of a separate website specific to destination updates; awareness and discount campaigns and a concerted effort in its press outreach globally, hosting media from all of Dominica’s main source markets and communicating via social, digital and print media to potential consumers as well as to its travel trade network. ~ Caribbean360 ~