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Hotels in Dominica lose EC$1 million in cancellations, more expected

The Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) said its members have lost an estimated one million dollars (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) over the past few days as guests cancel reservations in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A view of the capital of Dominica, Roseau. (Photo: Global Partnership for Education)

DHTA president, Marvlyn James, speaking on the state-owned DBS radio, said at least 76 per cent of her members who had been surveyed reported cancellations estimated at one million dollars.

“We expect to see a further decline in the coming weeks…as you have seen in the news (countries) have closed their borders. So for example, Europe and their restricting travel of their citizens, the United Kingdom, the United States and most recently the French West Indies which contribute between 20 to 25 per cent of arrivals into Dominica,” she said.

“It is a very difficult situation for the industry and I would say the country by extension and as an association we are looking at ways to help our members.”

– Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association president, Marvyln James

“We are seeing it, we are feeling it and we expect it to get worse,” James said, warning of the possibilities of lay off and closure of some establishments.

“Some of our members because of that will probably have to close down and we will have to take the difficult decision to lay off employees …and it may continue for a long time.

The DHTA president said the fall out is expected to continue as more travel restrictions are given.

“You will also seem some of our hotels, struggle to meet their financial commitment because if you have no cash flow coming in then you are unable to make your standard payments, whether it be your employees, whether it be your banks”.

James said in addition, hotels which are able to remain open, will also have to grapple with employee absenteeism as a result of the virus that has been blamed for the deaths of more than 6,000 people worldwide.

“So you have the two issues. One if you close down then you are unable to make your commitments and two, if you remain open, you may have to deal with reduce staffing and sick leave and all of that. It is a very difficult situation for the industry and I would say the country by extension and as an association we are looking at ways to help our members,” James said.