The formal launching of the Dominica Community Tourism Association took place at Geneva Heritage Park in Grand Bay on June 3rd.
In delivering the feature address at the launching, the Minister for Tourism enunciated government’s approach to community tourism in Dominica and the importance of community tourism to local communities.
“Government is taking the community-based tourism development approach as one of the main instruments to help stimulate rural and community development and to empower local communities in their efforts at greater levels of self-reliance and local development.”
The Minister further explained that “Community-based tourism provides one of the best means of giving our cruise and long-stay visitors a true authentic Nature Island experience. It also helps to provide new opportunities for employment creation and for the distribution of wealth from tourism reaching local communities. It can serve as a source and an instrument for alleviating poverty and dynamising rural communities”.
The Minister also highlighted the importance of further strengthening community tourism in Dominica.
“As we launch this National Community Tourism Association, I want to focus more on ways of working closer together, supporting each other’s ventures and helping to strengthen the work on the ground. I want to move our community -based tourism to new levels of professionalism, and to higher standards of quality service. Each community must now define and refine its product, using its unique qualities to build tourism enterprises that can bring benefits, not just to members of the Associations or local groupings but to the wider community.”
The Tourism Minister also took time out to highlight the many organisations that have played a role in building community tourism in Dominica.
“I want to single out some of the programmes which so far stand out in Dominica- Mero, Giraudel/Eggleston, Indian River Boat Tours, Cochrane Rabbit Festival and of course the work of GTEC right here in Grand Bay. We are also very excited about the many new projects which have come into being and are progressing to be other outstanding community tourism products. I refer to the Bellevue Chopin Organic Farmers project, the Wotton Waven Sulphur Tours, the Layou Village Community Tourism Programme and the many others that we hope to be welcoming very soon from now,” Hon. Douglas concluded.
Funding for the development of community tourism in Dominica is being provided by the European Commission under the SFA 2006 Tourism Sector Development Programme.
Community Tourism can be defined as sharing the natural resources of a local community with visitors from home and overseas for the sustainable benefit of that local community whilst conserving the natural environment and respecting the way of life.
Community-based tourism is a growing market as new generations of travellers worldwide seek more meaningful experiences from their leisure time.