In partnership with government of Dominica, UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, with support from the government of Denmark, has made a recent contribution to the recovery of the blue tourism sector in Dominica. The donation of seven outboard engines to the Portsmouth Association of Yachting Services (PAYS) comes after Hurricane Maria ravaged Dominica in 2017, wrecking yachting facilities, leaving many boats destroyed and their owners economically vulnerable.
PAYS, an innovative community initiative established in 2007, was created as a mechanism to generate jobs and catapult a nascent yachting sector in Portsmouth, north Dominica. Developed to provide marine services and ensure safe and enjoyable visits for yachters, the Association has contributed to the expansion of Dominica’s tourism product while increasing employment within the sector. PAYS has directly benefitted Dominican employment by connecting its services to those provided by farmers, fishers, laundromats , restaurants, retailers, tour guides, tour operators, taxi operators and more.
The Yachting sector in Dominica cuts across both the tourism and agriculture sectors, a reality that cements its status as a fundamentally important service for the island’s economic growth. It is estimated that yachting contributes over US$3 million to the Dominican economy, while the impact on employment is estimated above 5% in the Portsmouth area.
According to a report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) titled, “The Yachting Sector in Dominica” “Yachting is tourism, and the yachting product is an ideal addition to Dominica’s tourism product.” The report forecasts that the sector will supplement current tourist activity and projects that it is feasible to double yacht arrivals and yachting expenditures within five years. Yachting tourism corresponds to the government’s goal of developing community tourism, stimulating existing businesses in the community and the fostering of new business.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, beneficiaries indicated how the contribution would improve their ability to earn and take care of their families. Also addressing the gathering was UNDP’s Resident Representative Magdy Martinez Soliman who expressed the development agency’s commitment to, and support of, community-based Initiatives like PAYS which contribute to the livelihoods and earning capacities of persons and their communities. Mr. Martinez Soliman noted that PAYS was indicative of the strength and resilience of Dominica post Maria, as well as the ability of average citizens through entrepreneurship and ingenuity to identify viable opportunities. “Initiatives such as the Portsmouth Association of Yachting Services remind us that recovery and resilience begin with people, with their creativity, know-how and entrepreneurship to identify business opportunities, connect the dots, and develop smart solidarity models that strengthen income and livelihoods.”
UNDP is committed to ensuring the sustainability of oceanic resources while supporting citizens of the Eastern Caribbean to safely and conscientiously utilize those resources for sustainable economic growth.