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Dominica is a bit like the shy wallflower at the party: off to the side, not drawing much attention to itself. Once visitors become familiar with the destination, however, they will quickly discover Dominica’s unique charms within its lush setting of rainforests, waterfalls and rugged mountains.
Dominica sits midway along the Eastern Caribbean archipelago, just a few miles from Martinique to the south and Guadeloupe to the north. Dominica was originally inhabited by Arawak Indians, who were extinguished by the Caribs in the 15th century. Christopher Columbus then discovered the island, which at that time was named “Waitukubuli.” Columbus renamed the island Dominica and the Caribs eventually suffered the same fate from colonial settlers that they had visited upon the Arawaks.
Modern Dominica features village names that reflect the influence of the various parties who have held power: the Carib, the French and the English. While English is Dominica’s official language, visitors will also encounter many residents who speak Creole. Dominica was granted independence from England in 1978 and, over the last few decades, has turned to tourism as its driving economic force.
Dominica’s nickname, “The Nature Island,” is an apt moniker, considering that two thirds of the island is covered by tropical rainforests as well as rivers, lakes, streams and waterfalls. The island’s Morne Trois Pitons National Park was the first site in the Eastern Caribbean to be named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Unlike many other Caribbean destinations, the island is not known for its white sand beaches; instead, its major appeal is for nature enthusiasts, hikers and divers. Beach lovers do have some options though, as the island has charming volcanic black sand beaches tucked into coves — some of the best are in Mero, Macoucheri, and Portsmouth.
The island has two airports, Melville Hall International Airport (DOM) and Canefield Airport (DCF). Melville Hall is the larger of the two airports and is just over an hour away from Dominica’s capital city, Roseau.
In a bid to expand awareness of this tiny island in the Caribbean, the Discover Dominica Authority has now made its destination specialist training program available for travel agents in the U.S. The Discover Dominica Authority has also added a master specialist component. This expanded training course brings agents up to speed on the island’s hiking, diving, wellness, ecotourism and cultural experiences.
Agents who complete the complimentary training to become Dominica specialists are eligible for the following benefits:
“We appreciate the important role that travel agents play in helping to promote Dominica as a unique Caribbean destination,” said Colin Piper, director of tourism and CEO of Discover Dominica Authority. “Travel agents provide their clients a valuable service in sharing their knowledge of our wonderful hotels and resorts, as well as our world-class diving, hiking and other adventure activities. We look forward to expanding this important relationship with our travel partners."
Upon completion of the specialist program, travel agents may also become master specialists if they have visited the island within the last three years, either on their own or through an island-sponsored fam trip. These master specialists are eligible for periodic cash incentives for bookings, shared consumer leads and having their contact information posted on Dominica's consumer website.
To sign up for the complimentary specialist training, visit the Discover Dominica Authority’s website. Participants in each geographic region who complete the course by Nov. 30 will be entered to win an iPad3.