Dominica’s Tourism Sector Not Wiped out by Hurricane Maria

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Caribbean 360 reports that despite the hard hit from Hurricane Maria last month, Dominica’s tourism sector is getting back on track, with some properties already open for business. Although many properties were damaged, “voluntourism” has increased and the country is readying its resources to encourage regular tourism as soon as possible. The article gives useful information on ferry times and various airline flights.

Prior to the September 18 direct hit by Maria, there were 73 properties with 909 guest rooms. As of Tuesday, 64 of those properties had been reassessed for hurricane damage and 32 of them were found to be “moderately damaged and able to operate now or in the near future”, according to the Discover Dominica Authority. Wi-Fi is not available in most cases. The properties that suffered moderate damage account for 51 percent of the total room stock or 467 guestrooms.

“While some of our accommodations and sites have been damaged by hurricane Maria, our welcoming spirit has not been deterred. Many within the hospitality sector have regrouped and welcome voluntourism visitors,” the Authority said.

It also reported that most natural sites have been assessed. Unfortunately, “access roads to these sites have been damaged and consequently tourist sites and natural attractions are currently closed until repair work is complete”.

Overall, 35 percent of reefs at dive sites were damaged, particularly sponges and softer corals above 45 feet. “Currently all nine dive operators are closed for business and most will not be operational before January 2018. Upon resumption the number of dives per day will be reduced to ease the strain on the fragile reefs,” it said.

LIAT and Seaborne Airlines have resumed commercial flights to Dominica and are operating at a limited capacity.

Seaborne Airlines began commercial flights to and from Dominica on October 11. Flights depart San Juan, Puerto Rico at 12:45 pm and depart Dominica 3:00 pm daily, while LIAT will operate commercial flights as follows:

*Return flight to Antigua (LI624) will operate on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday departing Antigua at 11:30am and Dominica at 1:10pm;
*Return flight to Barbados (LI601) will operate on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday departing Barbados at 10am and Dominica at noon.
That schedule will run until November 7.

Additionally, L’Express des Iles ferry service is operating to Guadeloupe, Martinique and St Lucia from the Roseau Ferry Terminal. The ferry travels the Martinique /St Lucia route on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays departing Dominica at 10:30am and on Saturdays at 3pm. Service to Guadeloupe from Dominica is at 11:30 am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and at 9:15 am on Saturdays.

For original article, see http://www.caribbean360.com/travel/dominicas-tourism-sector-not-completely-wiped-hurricane-maria

[Photo of Melville Hall Airport above, from http://dominicanewsonline.com/news/homepage/news/general/runway-at-douglas-charles-airport-closed/.]

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