Dominica: 73% of hotel rooms closed – BUT cruises to resume from January

Fort Young hotel in Roseau just after Maria struck.
Last updated: November 13, 2017 at 17:24 pm

The head of Dominica’s tourism organisation has told a news conference that Hurricane Maria caused the country to miss out on EC$191 million of revenue.

And the cost of building back improved infrastructure that follows climate resilience codes, is expected to be “upwards of EC$70 million”.

Speaking earlier today, director of tourism Colin Piper updated the public from a damage and loss of income perspective – with some positive news for the cruise industry.

But hotels are facing an uncertain future.

He said that 27% of hotel rooms are open to guests, which works out as 243 rooms.

Prior to the category five storm, Dominica offered up 909 rooms.

Piper said that 39% – or 358 – are considered severely damaged, and his organisation feel they won’t be ready for at least a year.

The remaining stock will be coming back into repair by around 30 a month starting from December, so will add another 550 to the market but September 2018.

Colin Piper.

In addition to hotels being out of action, the tourism services sector suffered EC$4.3 million in damages.

This includes tour guides, taxi drivers and vendors, among others.

Countdown to cruise ships

Of the total losses reported by Piper, EC$25 was down to a lack of cruise liners visiting Dominica in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

However, after writing off the 2017-18 cruising season there is better news for the island.

“Initially we thought season was lost but based on the pace of some of the site rehabilitation, and some of the work that the ministry is doing and the other stakeholders are doing, we have identified 1 January as a key milestone date to which we are planning to be in a state of readiness,” said the CEO of Discover Dominica Authority.

“We are communicating that to all the stakeholders.”

Commercial flights are also returning to normal for Dominica.

From 16 November, there will be 1,008 seats coming in every week with regional carrier LIAT.

Discover Dominica is working to reinstate two additional flights that were in place pre-Maria, Piper added.

Today it was announced that access to the Emerald Pool, a waterfall grotto in Morne Trois Piton National Park, has been restored.

Robert Tonge, the minister for tourism in Dominica, tweeted pictures of the site over the weekend.

The attraction still remains closed for the time being, with no opening date set.

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