Hotels in Dominica taking a hit from COVID-19

 The Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) says its members have lost an estimated EC$1 million over the past few days as guests cancel their reservations in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Tourist arrivals in Dominica have declined significantly in the past few days.

DHTA President Marvlyn James, speaking on the state-owned DBS radio, said that at least 76 per cent of her members who had been surveyed had reported cancellations estimated at EC$1 million.

“We are seeing it, we are feeling it and we expect it to get worse.”

— Marvlyn James, DHTA President

“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.

“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.

“You will also see 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 thousands worldwide.