President of the Dominica Community Tourism Association Inc. (DCTAI), Josephine Dublin-Prince, says the association’s 4th Annual General Meeting represents a renewed start for greater focus, unity, and networking in ensuring the organization’s objective.
She was delivering remarks at the association’s AGM held at the Prevost Cinemall on June 28.
“(This) AGM represents a renewed start for greater focus on what we are about, greater unity and greater networking in ensuring the objective of community tourism,” she said. “We often hear that community tourism or tourism on a whole is everybody’s business; but for us community tourism represents a lot.”
She pointed out that the association’s major objective is to create an enabling environment for the sustainable growth of community tourism groups and organization in the tourism sector.
“Within that objective, we speak of the major need for networking, for linkages, for cure of the environment, for policy changes, for advocacy,” Dublin-Prince explained. “We would like after this AGM to have that objective be reinforced.”
She further explained without that advocacy, without identifying the flaws in the way people do things, without doing the best practice, without putting the persons in the right place at the right time, “we would not have the realization of those objectives”.
She said the best practice for the association moving forward is to work together to bring the resources at the right place at the right time, “to work with the Ministry of Tourism and with other partners and to ensure that the communities buy into what we have”.
Dublin-Prince added, “We want to ensure that all of the best practices are taken onboard.”
Tourism Minister, Senator Robert Tonge, said when people come to Dominica it is not about the hotels or the roads: “Most times it’s about the people that they interact with.”
He went on to say that Hurricane Maria hampered the country’s tourism development effort.
“Dominica experienced much damage to products that we have collectively worked hard to perfect over the years, considering the devastation to the trails, facilities, infrastructures such as access roads and our various tourist sites,” Tonge explained.
Tonge also mentioned that the Ministry of Tourism is very committed towards supporting community tourism.
Meantime, Executive Vice President of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA), Kevin Francis, pointed out that the people on the ground are the driving force that the tourism industry needs.
“We believe that you the people on the ground are the driving force that this industry needs now especially after a disaster such as Hurricane Maria,” he stated.
Francis said there is a great need for each and every Dominican “to take ownership of product, our island and to give the confidence that the industry needs to be seen.”