Dominica asks visitors to return

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The Indian River is featured on a voluntourism program to aid in Dominica's recovery efforts.
The Indian River is featured on a voluntourism program to aid in Dominica's recovery efforts.

In an update to mark the six-month passage of Hurricane Maria, Colin Piper, CEO of the Discover Dominica Authority, assured visitors and tourism partners that significant progress has been made in getting the island ready for guests.

"Visitors will see the same vibrant spirit of our people, beautiful scenery and features that make Dominica the Nature Island of the Caribbean," Piper said.

Dominica has full connectivity to international and regional markets with regular flights on LIAT, Seaborne, Winair, Air Sunshine, Coastal Express Carrier and InterCaribbean Airways, which launched nonstop scheduled services between Dominica, St. Lucia and Tortola on March 22.

The Douglas Charles Airport has expanded air access with night landings until 8 p.m.

A total of 393 guestrooms are available, or 41% of the total stock of 962 rooms available before the hurricane.

Fort Young Hotel, which has 41 rooms open, will open its remaining 31 rooms by October; Secret Bay, Calibishie Cove and Citrus Creek Plantation plan to open in Q4 2018. Jungle Bay Resort and Cabarets Resort Kempinski plan to reopen during the first half of 2019 and the new Anichi Resort late next year. The openings will increase Dominica's room stock by 340 rooms.

Piper said that prior to Hurricane Maria, the island was on course to receive 219 cruise calls during the 2017-2018 cruise season. That number was reduced to 34 calls following the storm.

As part of the recovery effort, two properties are offering packages focused on Dominica's natural attractions.

The Fort Young Hotel's dive package includes accommodations for five or seven nights, daily breakfast, transfers and three or five days of two-tank dives. Rates start at $1,256 per person.

"Diving is one of Dominica's most championed attractions and we want to help visitors have the best experience exploring our waters," said Marvlyn James, Fort Young's general manager.

"We want to continue to serve the diving community as an expert resource."

Secret Bay has several eco-travel voluntourism programs to help restore the island's eco-systems and vegetation, including coastal surveys and clearing boat passageways along the Indian River. Accommodations are at Tibay Villas on the northwest coast until Secret Bay reopens. The five-night programs start at $98 per room, per night.

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