Taxi drivers

Denise Charles encourages the vaccination of taxi drivers to increase their income

Minister of Tourism, Denise Charles

The Minister of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, Denise Charles is urging all taxi operators on the island to be vaccinated in order to participate in the many revenue generating opportunities that have opened up in the tourism sector since the reopening of the cruise industry.

Although these offers are now available to citizens, the minister revealed that the government has launched an initiative called “Safe in Nature” which only allows those who have been vaccinated to be involved.

She said the ‘Safe in Nature’ brand is “fantastic”, adding that with cruise ships resuming, taxi operators are engaged and vendors are reselling their products.

“It is very important for stakeholders who want to participate and there is a lot of room for them to participate because there is a high demand for cruise travel at the moment,” she said in the Sunday. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s “Annou Pale” program.

“We have a capacity issue in terms of the number of coasters and taxi vehicles we have on the island, so there is scope for taxi operators and more vendors to participate. The only thing is that we need them to get vaccinated to reduce the spread of the virus…”

She noted that some taxi operators who want to participate in this venture only want to do an antigen test, but that would not be allowed.

“Some taxi operators who want to participate in the bubble [only] want to do an antigen test and I have to tell them that the risk involved is too great. As you know the first outbreak of COVID was on a cruise ship and there are strict regulations by the CDC and we also have strict agreements with them that we cannot violate,” he said. she declared.

The minister revealed that so far the government has seen 60% of tourism providers vaccinated. However, she believes tourism should be the first industry to achieve herd immunity given its importance to the economy.

Charles added that since the start of the cruise ship season, around ten thousand people have disembarked and toured as cruise lines say this is the best season they have sold out to many. organizers and some of them ask for private tours.

The minister further announced that the government has already started discussions with “combined taxis” to offer private tours to tourists who wish to explore the country.

She hopes that by next week everything will be in place for the taxi operators since the government has already signed the agreement with the combined taxi.

“We were able to get around 71 properties certified as able to receive guests and we are allowing guests a managed experience. Customers could still go and visit different attraction sites and stay at the different hotels during this time and it saved the lives of those in the tourism industry and many of them would tell you it helped them survive during this very crucial time,” she added. .

Charles further added that she was pleased to see that in her recent meetings with hospitality stakeholders, operations were looking for Dominica in tourism.

“Bookings are up for December and the first quarter of 2022 is looking bright and so we are starting to see signs of a rebound and so with the addition of this direct service I expect that when I talk to them next month there will definitely be a significant increase in bookings for the accommodation industry,” she said.