LONDON, England – Dominica is on the right track to become the first Caribbean island to go fully green, sponsored by its Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme, a new FT Specialist documentary reveals.
Foreign direct investment via CBI is uniquely leading to over 6,000 hurricane-proof homes being built. The government is investing substantial CBI funds into building climate resilience and has carried out mass rehabilitation projects in recent years.
Dominica modernised its infrastructure, harnesses green energy sources and is revamping its tourism sector with luxurious eco-resorts. The Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management (PWM) magazine released a new 5-part documentary last week after visiting Dominica in September. The short docuseries uncovers how the ‘Nature Isle of the Caribbean’ achieved all of these through funding from its world-leading CBI programme and why it is so important for the people of Dominica.
PWM editor-in-chief Yuri Bender extolled at Dominicans’ strong-willed nature in the face of climate change adversity and the government’s determination to build resilience. “What makes Dominicans even more proud is that they are achieving their country’s economic rebirth without going cap in hand to the international community,” commends Bender referring to the island’s CBI programme.
Through CBI, thoroughly vetted foreign investors can obtain second citizenship from Dominica in exchange for a minimum USD$ 100,000 contribution to the Economic Diversification Fund or investing at least USD$ 200,000 in pre-approved real estate.
The latter includes world-branded hotels like Marriot’s Anichi, Kempinski’s Cabrits and Hilton’s Tranquility Beach, and luxury boutique resorts like Jungle Bay, Secret Bay, and Sanctuary Rainforest.
Speaking to the owners of these resorts, FT notes Dominica’s success in focusing on the quality, not quantity, of tourists, and praised CBI real estate developers for “carving their own niche.”
Ian Edwards, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Tranquility Beach Resort under Hilton’s Curio Collection, says that the CBI was “not just crucial” but the “only way we could have gotten the funds needed” to develop new luxury hotels. Edwards, a native Dominican, believes that the entire island is benefitting and that everyone “should get behind [CBI] and help move this country forward.”
Anichi developer Alick Lawrence says that CBI was “very critical in assisting us to transition from agriculture to tourism.” As CBI currently constitutes around a quarter of Dominica’s GDP, the government’s vision is to diversify the economy towards a service-based model.
As regards tourism, Dominica’s room capacity increased significantly this year after several CBI-approved eco-hotels opened. Tourism minister Robert Tonge explains that Dominica insists on focusing on ecotourism: “we don’t want our beaches, our lakes, our waterfalls to be overcrowded.” The government makes real estate developers aware of the importance of being sensitive to the environment and local communities. “The use of local products, […] coffee, our local jams, our local rum punches – all that is part of what we try to push to ensure that, when persons come to Dominica, they have a unique experience, like nowhere else,” Tonge says.
To accommodate more eco-conscious tourists, prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit envisions an expanding and more resilient agriculture sector to complement the ecotourism industry. Importantly, the government’s vision for Dominica’s energy efficiency looks promising with the construction of a new geothermal plant, partly funded by the CBI programme.
The prime minister says that “it will help reduce the cost of electricity and energy for private citizens and the private sector.” He believes that the clean energy project “would be a game-changer for the economy of Dominica.”
The documentary is part of PWM’s Spotlight Series, available to watch here.