Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit has shared that the new international airport, both during and after its construction, will be instrumental in creating employment opportunities and improving the island’s tourism prospects.
“It is a massive undertaking and though there will be a main contractor for this, there will be many opportunities for Dominicans to be engaged in this”— Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit
While speaking on his weekly talk show ‘Annou Pale’, the prime minister said his Government will engage an international firm later this year to assist the Ministry of Tourism with the promotion of Dominica. Thereafter, the company will market the country as a tourist destination during the construction of the airport, sharing the designs and capacity of the facility with airlines, tour operators and travel agents.
“Towards the end of this year, we will engage an international firm that will assist the Ministry of Tourism in not only promoting the airport but promoting the country. The airport is just a part of what we are offering. And so, we will be engaging this international firm who will start sharing all … aspects of Dominica, sites, and the marketing of our country to all of these airlines,” Prime Minister Skerrit explained.
He pointed out, too, that a lot of employment opportunities will become available for locals throughout the various stages and phases of the construction of the international airport. To this end, the prime minister invited persons who wish to engage in any such activities during the construction to contact the Government.
“As it is now we are building probably about thirty two homes in Wesley for persons who are being affected by the airport and who the Government has agreed to build homes for. And that will include the infrastructure, roads, water, electricity — all of these things will be placed underground to build the resilient definition that we have articulated. And all of these homes are being constructed by local contractors,” Skerrit outlined.
“It is a massive undertaking and though there will be a main contractor for this, there will be many opportunities for Dominicans to be engaged in this. So I think it is a matter for us to place ourselves, be informed, reach out to the Government and MMCE (Montreal Management Consultants Establishment) and discussions can be had with you and result in you being possibly engaged,” he added.
Still, Skerrit believes the airport will create even more employment opportunities after its construction, further diversifying the country’s economy and creating linkages between agriculture and tourism.
Dominica’s Minister of the Blue and Green Economy, Agriculture and National Food Security Fidel Grant agrees, but also argues that the airport will only improve the country’s competitiveness.
At the recent contract-signing ceremony with MMCE, Grant noted, “We need this airport to achieve the economic diversification that we have been speaking about for many decades. We need the international airport if we are to position ourselves with the rest of the region and the world by extension.”
His fellow minister, Denise Charles, who has responsibility for tourism, international transport and maritime initiatives, touted additional benefits from the airport.
“Easier access means that with the hurdle of complex travel lifted, more tourists will click the single button and visit the most amazing place on earth. Increased visitors mean a lot for Dominica in many ways. Our spectacular accommodation providers will experience increased revenue, translating into more jobs, a greater demand for crops, fish, ancillary services and entertainment, extended exposure for our artists and craft persons increased sales for vendors, increased service demands for taxis tour guides, restaurants and spas,” she said.
With work already begun on the airport, even the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce are salivating at the prospects for small businesses. Its president, Stephen Lander, has encouraged Dominicans to “tap into their inner entrepreneur”, pointing out that the project will facilitate the island’s recovery from the economic impact of the pandemic.