Dominica hopes to launch a Dominica Experts program for U.S. travel agents, as it has done in Canada and the U.K.

“We need to better partner with the trade. Our stayover numbers have stagnated since 2008, we lost the year-round Carnival Victory weekly cruise call in November 2010 and our air access is limited at best,” said Colin Piper, Dominica's director of tourism.

Dominica recently convened an Air Access Conference to put the problem of airlift on the table to its stakeholders and six regional carriers.

“We need a dialogue to figure out how to pursue more access. If a traveler cannot get to us in a reasonable amount of time — despite the abundance of hiking, biking, and nature activities here — then he will go elsewhere,” Piper said.

This will take time, he said, but “we are hopeful that the discussions will result in solutions.”

Dominica has set a goal of 82,000 visitors by 2015.

“We can reach that number — we’re at 75,000 now — with more frequency and lift,” Piper said.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.

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