LONDON—Tourism in the Caribbean region is expected to grow by up to 5 percent this year, estimates the Dominican Tourism Minister, Robert Tonge. The Commonwealth of Dominica recently marked two years since category 5 hurricane Maria wreaked havoc across the island, yet it healed remarkably fast, with visitor arrivals higher than pre-Maria levels. This was due to a government nationwide policy of building climate resilience and investing in ecotourism, supported financially by international partners and foreign investors who went on to become economic citizens of Dominica.
Dominica was able to start post-hurricane recovery immediately thanks to the financial reserves it had built up from its Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme, says a recent PwC report. Speaking at a recent industry event, Minister Tonge said that other factors contributing to Dominica’s tourism expansion were the increasing awareness of the island, absorbing more investment into sustainable tourism and the construction of several luxury resorts and hotels.
“We expect to see an increase in diversity and a significant increase in rooms within the next 12 to 24 months with the completion of projects through the Citizenship by Investment Programme and other major funded projects,” says Tonge. To meet this higher demand and support ancillary services, Dominica also plans to create a Hospitality Institute.
Investors Have Citizenship Opportunities
The Financial Times’ PWM magazine classes Dominica as offering the best CBI Programme in the world with second-to-none due diligence, in an annual ranking called the CBI Index. With a good international reputation, Dominica attracts high quality investors who are offered Dominican citizenship for their economic contributions after they are thoroughly vetted. Those seeking second citizenship from Dominica can choose to direct at least $100,000 to the Economic Diversification Fund (EDF), or make a $200,000 minimum investment in one of the CBI-approved hotels and resorts.
The EDF allows Dominica to fund a wide range of initiatives, and notably supports the island’s feat to become “the world’s first climate resilient nation”, as pledged by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit after hurricane Maria.
Meanwhile, the real estate CBI route is steadily establishing the foundation of a sustainable tourism industry, or ecotourism. Known as the Nature Isle of the Caribbean with untainted stretches of lush rainforest and diverse fauna and flora, Dominica hopes to attract higher end, eco-conscious visitors to its island and nature-loving investors.