He said once this hotel is constructed it will serve to attract cruise ships and provide for increased yacht arrivals in the town of Portsmouth.
“The area lends itself to tourism development. Way back in 1968/69, there was a report that was commissioned called Sankla and Corks report and many other reports that have been done throughout that period have always named the northern area in general with specific areas around Portsmouth. This is because of its geographical features: it is flat, it borders the Caribbean Sea, which is usually calm, and the swampy nature of the Cabrits especially as far as marine development and yachting is concerned. All of these factors make the entire Lagoon, Purple Turtle, Belle Hall and Cotton Hill area ideal for the development of tourism related ventures,” Douglas explained.
“We have about 700 hotel rooms in Dominica. That is grossly inadequate to meet the needs, both present and growing and the future development of the tourism industry. Therefore, the more we can add to our hotel room stock in Dominica, it would be in the best interest of the growth of the tourism industry,” he added.
The construction of the fifty room hotel is expected to result in the creation of several employment opportunities for nationals.
“We are talking about a 50-room hotel. If we take an average of about two to three employees per room, we are looking at a minimum of 150 employees needed for the minimal running of the hotel. I would believe the same would be applicable for the construction of the hotel. In addition, there are a lot of ancillary services and backward and forward linkages that go with an investment of this type including food supplies, cleaning, cooking and restaurant services. That will lead to the creation of jobs for the smooth running of the hotel,” Douglas said.
Meantime, a group of skilled Moroccans are expected to arrive in Dominica shortly to construct the hotel.
The minister views this as an added advantage, as local tradesmen will have the opportunity to learn from these experts.
“We want a state of the art building. We want a building that is second to none in the Caribbean, one that is really befitting of the Nature Isle of the world, Dominica. If we want the best, the Moroccans seem to have that kind of expertise. Consequently, they are coming down with that expertise to share with our local artisans and construction workers.
“I understand that Moroccans are experts when it comes to mosaic tile laying and woodwork. They are master craftsmen. We believe that these skilled persons in Dominica could benefit tremendously from such expertise and knowledge and skills that they would bring to bear on a project of this type,” Douglas said.
Once the hotel is constructed it will be handed over to a regional or international hotel chain to be managed. The approximate cost of the hotel is in the area of US$40 million.