Like many of the islands in the region, Dominica has placed great emphasis on cruise tourism, while some have pumped more and more money into the sector hoping to see the arrivals continue to rise annually. This to them is a sign showing that the sector is experiencing regular growth, but is it?
It is not that Iâ€™m saying the cruise tourism industry is not vital and that the countries of the region should not keep their programme as fit as possible to capitalize. I believe, however, that the emphasis is a bit off balance especially when one looks at what goes into stay over visitors.
These are the visitors who stay and are more likely to spend much more than cruise visitors. But there seems to be no real sense of urgency in dealing with such a matter, and it seems like everyone is out for a quick buck during the cruise season.
The idea should be for tourism to have all its parts working in unison to create one well-oiled and smoothly running plant that offers much more than we have to give up in order to make the industry successful and not to the detriment of certain key elements of the country.
Itâ€™s obvious that we are not seeing the balance that would lead cruise visitors to return as stay over visitors and shouldnâ€™t his be a set plan put together by tourism stakeholders for crying out loud?
The ships operate like Las Vegas casinos. The object it to get the passengers to spend all of their money on the ship — not ashore.
So, they take passengers’ money and issue them beads that can only be spent aboard.
They tell passengers not to spend ashore because (a) things purchased ashore may have actually be made in Indonesia or China anyhow, (b) things purchased ashore are of poor quality, (c) things purchased ashore can’t be returned if they prove to be defective, and (d) the kiosks ashore don’t take credit cards.
They tell people not to eat ashore, saying it’s unsafe and unsanitary. (That’s ironic because most food poisoning outbreaks occur aboard cruise ships because of their unsanitary kitchens.)
That leaves nothing but tours. And the ships pursers take kickbacks to arrange taxi tours.
The most money, from the port fees, goes to the government, not the people, at least not directly.
The only good thing about cruise ship tourism is that the tourists are only here for a few hours, because they are usually definitely not the desirable Eco-tourist types.
I agree that the cruise ship business is in it to rake in profits, but that’s like many other businesses. To say that “The only good thing about cruise ship tourism is that the tourists are only here for a few hours, because they are usually definitely not the desirable Eco-tourist types.” is shortsighted. The cruise ship business is vital to Dominica at this point, and the 500, 000 cruise ship tourists brought in millions of dollars to Dominica’s economy last season, and not just in berthing fees taken by the government. The seemingly small activity of whale watching alone brought in US$1.78 million in 2008, much of it from cruise ship vacationers.
I will agree that we have much more to do to strengthen the tourism base. However any major undertaking done which will allow for more money spent by cruise ship tourists which in turn will also benefit all sectors of the industry. For example, better roads and access to sites of interests. Many of the best waterfalls for example are not very accessible; and since these are points of interests for these visitors, more access to these points will also be an investment for the tourism economy as a whole. More money in the hands of bus drivers and tour operators allow them to re-invest in the economy. There is room for more customer service training for people in the cruise ship business, which in turn will improve experiences for all visitors. The point is that providers for the cruise ship business also serve other aspects of the tourism industry.
Of course we must undertake any approaches in butressing the industry with a sense of balance in terms of natural preservations, with due regard for the environment.
I agree with most parts of Dan’s arguments. Cruise tourism is a money investment for those who want to make fructify their money in this business. It a globalizing capitalist mass industry. Cruise shiplines just look for getting the most possible money return frrom their investment. For instance, if a small Caribbean country plans to increase the harbour taxes, they threat by suppressing their stop in this country meanwhile this country has to invest money to attract them. Large scale tourism is just a money business. .