FT Discover Dominica’s Blossoming Ecotourism After Hurricane Maria, Supported by Its Citizenship by Investment Programme
LONDON, Sept. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — A delegation from the FT Specialist division of the Financial Times is currently filming a documentary in Dominica on how the island has bounced back after the widespread devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017. It focuses on how the small Caribbean island utilised revenue from its world-leading Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme in its recovery efforts. The documentary follows Dominica’s road to becoming “the world’s first climate resilient nation”, as pledged by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit shortly after the category 5 hurricane caused 226% of GDP worth of damages two year ago.
One of the routes that investors seeking to obtain Dominica’s citizenship requires a contribution of at least US$100,000 into the Economic Diversification Fund (EDF). With the Programme’s reputation for integrity and solid due diligence, the island has managed to build enough financial reserves from the EDF to start rehabilitating the country’s infrastructure and utilities immediately after Hurricane Maria. The government used CBI funds to relocate entire communities displaced by Hurricane Maria and Storm Erika by offering them permanent free housing in newly built, hurricane-proof homes, under PM Skerrit’s Housing Revolution. The Dominican authorities also devised a new “Build Back Better” code of construction and is making it its top priority to build resilience. Premier Skerrit commented for FT that resilience had become the buzzword around Dominican communities, and this is noticeable in reinforced structures of homes across the island.
Today, Dominica is unrecognisable and has even exceeded pre-Maria levels of development, with the CBI Programme also building the foundation of the island’s flourishing ecotourism and creating thousands of jobs for its 73,500 population. Furthermore, the government directed funds from the EDF towards financing several health centres, waiving tuition fees, responding efficiently to people’s needs and investing in small businesses, Emmanuel Nanthan, Head of the Citizenship by Investment Unit, told FT Specialist.
Complementing its sustainable development efforts, the second route under Dominica’s CBI Programme provides citizenship hopefuls with a chance to invest in luxury real estate. The Minister of Tourism, Robert Tonge, mentioned that attracting big brands such as Kempinski, Hilton or Marriott will not only improve awareness of the Nature Isle of the Caribbean worldwide, as Dominica is commonly known as, but also create life-changing spinoff business opportunities for the local communities.
Speaking to FT Specialist, eco resort Jungle Bay owner Sam Raphael credited Dominica’s CBI Programme applicants for making it possible to relocate and rebuild the hotel entirely after it was severely damaged by Storm Erika in 2015. Meanwhile, CBI-approved eco-luxury resort Secret Bay and Sanctuary Rainforest also continue to attract investors looking for second citizenship and getting ahead of Dominica’s blossoming ecotourism sector.
Attracting high quality investors is important to Dominica. In August, FT’s Professional Wealth Management magazine published its 2019 CBI Index, where it placed Dominica for the third time as the world’s best country for economic citizenship, with unbeatable credentials such as due diligence, efficiency and convenience for applicants.