A report from Dominica News Online.
Just hours after it was announced that the Ross University School of Medicine shut down operations in Dominica, the island has become home to the Val Ferry. And while the economic impact of the two ventures cannot be compared, local officials believe that the new ferry service can make a meaningful contribution to business in the country.
The ferry service, owned by Guy and Claude Vala, is set to target business men and women, with voyages from Dominica as early as 6:00 am. Vala Ferry service offers trips from Portsmouth aboard the Sunny Day, and from Roseau to Martinique, aboard the Idéal.
In an opening ceremony aboard the Sunny Day, on Friday, Titus Francis, the Mayor of Portsmouth, described the venture as “a breath of fresh air,” and “a sign of better days to come.” He said the new business would benefit several sectors within the community, and island-wide. “All is not lost for Dominica. All is not lost for Portsmouth…” he said. “This service will not only allow persons to travel between Portsmouth and Guadeloupe but it is going to benefit our farmers, hucksters, our excursionists.”
Tourism Minister, Robert Tonge, stated that the venture will help afford visitors access to Dominica. He said this will be of special importance upon the completion of the hotels in Portsmouth. “Access to Dominica has always been a challenge, but by you being here, it helps to alleviate that challenge and make access to Dominica easier,” he explained.
Tonge commended the Valas for investing in the island, especially in the wake of the disastrous hurricane Maria. He also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to marketing the island to foreigners. “You’re taking the risk to come here, and we as a government are also taking the risk by investing additional sums to ensure that we can promote and market our country,” Tonge noted.
Claude Vala, co-owner of Vala Ferry, revealed that the business is set to partner with Norwegian Airlines to carry visitors by plane from Boston to Guadeloupe, and by boat from Guadeloupe to Dominica. He spoke of expanding the business to eventually cater to other destinations.