Tourism Master Plan – Dominica

Building Resilience for the People, Planet, Plant and Profits of the Tourism Industry in Dominica

Project: Tourism Master Plan – Dominica

Client: Ministry of Tourism & Culture and the Discover Dominica Authority

Beneficiary: The Commonwealth of Dominica

Duration: 1 year

The challenge

The Commonwealth of Dominica is a tourism-dependent country; the total contribution of tourism to the Dominica’s GDP is approximately 33%. As the Nature Island of the Caribbean, Dominica’s tourism is primarily based on the natural environment – water, wood, whales, and wildlife. However, in 2015 and again in 2017, Dominica was hard hit by Tropical Storm Erika and category five Hurricane Maria, respectively. The island was devastated and lost billions of dollars in property, infrastructure and income.

On the heels of Hurricane Maria, the Prime Minister of Dominica declared that the country will become the first climate resilient nation in the world. The country could not continue to compete on its natural attributes alone. Tourism development needed a renewed approach. The Tourism Master Plan needed to be redeveloped to consider the natural disasters and the new climate resilient thrust. Our company was selected from among 22 competing firms to take up the challenge.

Activities:

  • Carried out extensive stakeholder consultations including a number of one-on-one interviews, focus group meetings, site visits with tourism partners, stakeholders and community groups as well as strategic planning workshops.
  • A number of research sources and key documents were reviewed and analysed to ensure alignment, coherency and consistency.
  • Carried out Risk Assessment of the following areas:
    • Infrastructure
    • Tourism Sites and Attractions
    • Facilities and Amenities
    • Transportation (Air and Sea Access)
    • Accommodation
    • Human Resources
    • Investments
    • Land Use
    • Coastal and Marine Resource Management
    • Culture and Festivals
    • Community Tourism
    • Tourism Development Areas
    • Technology 
    • Economic Linkages
    • Cruise Tourism
    • Market Development
  • Carried out an assessment of Global Market and Consumer Trends, and Destination Best Practice and the implications for Dominica’s tourism industry.
  • Carried out a comprehensive Competitive Analysis to determine competitive gaps and opportunities.
  • Analysed the major geographic, demographic and psychographic markets to determine which markets were most suitable for Dominica and to ascertain what Dominica needed to do to attract and cater to these markets.
  • Analysed Dominica’s tourism offering in the context of what the markets were looking for to identify and prioritise relevant and lucrative Niche Markets.
  • Carried out a detailed Marketing Audit of Dominica’s marketing initiatives, notably its digital marketing strategies, with a view to determining what areas needed improving to maximise return on investment.

results

A Responsible Tourism Master Plan​

Delivered a Responsible Tourism Master Plan to guide Dominica towards becoming the first Climate Resilient destination in the world. Many of the policies and proposed legislation were geared towards building back better after the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017. ​​

A Multi-Disciplinary Team of Experts

A Team of 12 Experts were deployed to carry out the policy development, in the fields of strategic planning, sustainable tourism development, land use planning, climate change, coastal and marine spatial planning, human resource development, urban development, economics and forecasting, market research, and marketing.

Consulted Over 100 Stakeholders​

Carried out two Tourism Master Planning Stakeholder workshops as well as dozens of one-on-one meetings, site visits and focus-group meetings. Over 100 stakeholders were involved in the process.

Engaging and Effective Workshop Facilitation​

At one of the workshops, 96% of participants indicated that the workshop achieved its objectives and 100% said that the workshop addressed the key issues. The consultations provided us with the unique advantage of involving a large cross-section of stakeholders in the process and creating high levels of “buy-in” in the implementation of the tourism policy.

Innovative Community Tourism Ideas

Novel ideas and innovative solutions were also delivered to communities, including the establishment of the Rabbit Festival in the community of Cochrane to mitigate against the decline in demand for rabbit meat and brand the community as a viable tourism entity.

200 Strategic Initiatives over 10 Years

The Master Plan identified numerous initiatives and actions that will drive its implementation, particularly as it relates to building resilience. Over 200 Strategic Initiatives valued at +US $14 Million.

New & Innovative Markets

Unique psychographic market segment for Dominica e.g. market segment related to sustainable living, co-working assisted-living, and the transformational travellers were identified.

Innovative Solutions and Strategies

Developed the concept of the Community-Based Tourism Niche Networks (CB-TENN) to drive tourism development on the island from the ground up.

Effective Marketing Strategies

Developed detailed three-year marketing and communications plans for each of the priority markets - USA, Canada, French West Indies, Metropolitan France, United Kingdom, and the German-Speaking markets of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A strong focus on digital marketing.