A very prestigious delegation of tourism officials led by the dynamic and visionary leader of Dominica, the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, visited the Florida Caribbean Conference Association and the Executive Committee in order to secure an updated Cruise Ship schedule for the 2013/2014 season and they obtained fantastic results.

Overall it is projected that there will be a 39.2% growth of 86.445 additional cruise passengers for 2013/2014 season.

It was indeed a very great challenge for the government as well as for the delegation, when Carnival Cruise Lines had already stopped one of their ships from calling at our port.

But it must be emphasized that the Labour Government has already invested over 300 million dollars in infrastructural development such as roads, water supplies, bridges, the upgrading of touristic sites, the training of many tourist personnel and other significant improvements which have helped to enhance "Cruise Tourism" and "Stay over Tourism" as well. One outstanding infrastructural development that is worthy of high commendation is the building of a 500,000 gallon water tank at Morne Bruce which ensures that places like Kingshill and Morne Bruce which suffered from regular water shortages before, are now totally relieved.

This water tank which is ingeniously designed and built, will provide water for delivery to cruise ships without any interruption whatsoever to our local supplies of water in the city or in the environs. The filtration equipment installed at Antrim Valley is another important investment which ensures that in times of heavy rainfall, muddy water which heretofore appeared in our taps, is at present totally obviated.

The Hon. Prime Minister's appeal over a year ago for citizens to beautify their villages, their homes and their surroundings was indeed very appropriate and should serve as a great enhancement for tourism development.

The substantial increase in passengers for the 2013/2014 cruise season is indeed good news for the bus drivers, the tour operators, , the tour guides, the gift shop owners, the Restaurant Owners, the stores and shop owners and the Dominican economy as a whole.

It will also increase our national exports, our Gross Domestic Products and our national wealth. Since Tourism is Everybody's business, we should all be concerned to make the tourists happy and welcomed.

All persons directly engaged in the Tourism Industry should ensure that the highest standard of service is given to the tourists when they visit the island so that they can be encouraged to return in the future.

The bus drivers, the tour operators, the tour guides, the gift shop owners, the store and shop owners should all play their part to make the tourists happy and very comfortable.

Finally, the Hon. Prime Minister's pledge to focus on jobs as a great priority of his government is beginning to manifest itself into a more vibrant cruise season which will in fact produce more jobs for all. We do have expectations as well that "Stay over Tourism" which is even more labour intensive than "Cruise Tourism", will be brighter next season 2013-2014 than the previous season 2012-2013.

The government's night landing facility at Melville Hall which will permit tourists from U.S.A., Canada and elsewhere to arrive in Dominica on the same day from their destinations coupled with the many hotels and guest houses established recently, will undoubtedly create an enabling environment in which "Stay over Tourism" will develop and flourish. The Tourism delegation led by the Hon. Prime Minister that visited the F.C.C.A. Conference and the Executive Committee has done an excellent job for which they deserve high commendation.

Let us all therefore cooperate in a common endeavour to embrace the 2013-2014 cruise season for the economic advancement of our Nature Isle.

N.A.N Ducreay