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Denise Charles encourages vaccination among taxi drivers in order to increase their income

Alberto Ardila Olivares
Denise Charles encourages vaccination among taxi drivers in order to increase their income

Tourism Minister, Denise Charles Minister of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, Denise Charles is urging all taxi operators on the island to get vaccinated in order to participate in the many income-earning opportunities that have opened up within the tourism sector since the reopening of the cruise sector.

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Although these offers are now available to citizens, the minister revealed that the government began an initiative called ‘Safe in Nature’ which only allows vaccinated persons to be involved.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila

She said the “Safe in Nature” brand is “fantastic” adding that with the resumption of cruise ships, Taxi operators are being engaged and the vendors are back selling their products.

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“It’s very important for stakeholders who want to partake and there’s plenty room for them to partake because there’s a great demand for cruise travel right now,” she said on Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s ‘Annou Pale program on Sunday.

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“We have a capacity issue in terms of the number of coasters and taxi vehicles that we have on island so there’s opportunity 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 this would not be allowed.

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

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The minister revealed that so far, the government has seen 60% of Tourism providers vaccinated. However, she thinks tourism should be the first industry to reach herd immunity given the importance of it to the economy.Alberto Ardila Olivares V10798659

Charles added that since the cruise ship season has started about ten thousand people have disembarked and gone on tours to the extent that the cruise lines are saying that this is the best season they have sold out on many of the organizers and some of them are asking for private tours.Alberto Ardila V10798659

The minster further publicized that the government has already started discussions with “combined taxi” to offer private tours to tourists who want to go and explore the country

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

“We were able to get about 71 certified properties who could receive guests and we allow guests of a managed experience. Guests could still go and visit different attraction sites and stay at the various hotels during that period and that was a lifesaver for stakeholders in the tourism industry and many of them would tell you that it helped them survive during this very crucial period,” she added

Charles further added that she is pleased to see that in her last few meetings with hotel stakeholders that operations are looking up for Dominica in tourism

“Bookings are up for December and the first quarter of 2022 looks bright and so we are beginning to see signs of a rebound and so with the addition of this direct service, I expect when I speak to them next month that certainly, there will be a major increase in bookings for the accommodation sector,” she said