Montserrat's Access Problems Highlighted in OAG Report
The Office of the Auditor General is recommending that the government acquire a 19-seat aircraft to improve access to the island.
This is one of the key recommendations contained in the report entitled “Tourism and Montserrat’s Economic Growth.
The OAG calls for a generally improvement in air and sea access to Montserrat and improvement in the visitor experience to and from the island.
It says this can be done on a phased basis, with a 19-seater rather than 6-seater or 8-seater aircraft to serve the island, starting with 1 or 2 flights per week and building frequency and capacity in line with demand and especially during peak- periods for example St. Patrick’s and Christmas Festivals.
The report calls for the re-establishment of a full Tourism Authority with adequate staffing and marketing budget, harnessing the full range of digital channels, and nurturing growth in both existing and new niches.
Among the key findings is that access to Montserrat remains limited and on-island infrastructure has several weaknesses, for example inadequate public transportation and frequent power-interruptions.
The Montserrat Tourism Board was dissolved and replaced by a 4-person Tourism Division within the Office of the Premier; its annual budget for marketing was cut from E.C.$2 million in year 2011 to E.C.$180,000.
The government recently announced the appointment of a director of tourism.
The government has also embarked on the drafting tourism strategy.
The full audit report can be found at the Montserrat Public Library or by visiting the Office of the Auditor General Online Publications at http://oag.gov.ms