Dominica will have its first summer cruise calls since 2010 as Carnival Cruise Line will visit the island four times.
“We had a long discussion with Carnival, it was all about the value proposition and looking at both sides of the business,” said Benoit Bardouille, CEO of the Dominica Air and Sea Ports Authority, and chairman of Discover Dominica.
That meant putting together a win-win situation for both Dominica and Carnival.
“We are working in the private sector with the tour operators to improve the quality of the product,” Bardouille said.
Before Carnival arrives in the summer, the destination will handle about 300,000 passengers this season.
Among the initiatives is increasing the number of so-called priority tour sites on the island, meaning organized shore excursions (bought by passengers from the ship) will get first access to certain areas.
Bardouille said if they can help the lines drive tour revenue, he expects more ships, and more economic impact. Popular tour sites are also getting a make-over to make them more accessible to mobility-impaired passengers.
The same holds true for onboard revenue, and a movement is underway to let casinos and shops stay open in port.
“We want to portray the country as a port of call, but also as a place that allows vessels to generate more revenue in port,” added Bardouille. “What we’re seeking to do here is to remain competitive. In this business you can’t just sit on your laurels and assume that a ship that is coming is always going to come.”
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