Luxurious Ecotourism: Dominica’s Storm-Torn Jungle Bay Resort Reopens Bigger and Better Thanks to Foreign Investors-Turned-Citizens

Dubbed by the media as the Phoenix of Dominica, beloved Jungle Bay resort has finally reopened on June 30th, four years after closing down. The popular five-star development had previously operated for ten years before Storm Erika destroyed it in 2015. It has now relocated to the western coast of the small island of Dominica, in the Mourne Acouma village in Soufriere and has already welcomed its first guests.

The island has made a remarkable recovery after Hurricane Maria made landfall in 2017 and has since gone on to ‘build back better’ largely using money coming from foreign investors also seeking second citizenship. Jungle Bay received full funding from Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme through which global individuals and, at times, their immediate relatives, invested in Jungle Bay’s shares and, after being thoroughly checked for integrity and due diligence, were honoured with the citizenship of Commonwealth of Dominica. The island’s CBI model is considered exemplary, with experts from the Financial Times ranking it the world’s best economic citizenship thanks to how efficient, reliable and sensible it is as regards the balance of needs of global investors, native citizens and the international community. The programme advocates for a ‘global community’ mindset, having honed its legislation, due diligence processes and incentives over the past quarter of a century, attracting reputable investors looking for a “global citizenship” while supporting Dominica’s fight for climate resilience and good governance.

During the official vine-cutting ceremony at Jungle Bay, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritcredited the island’s CBI Programme for powering Dominica’s real estate offering. “This country has a very robust Citizenship by Investment Programme,” he said, “and this project there [Jungle Bay], which is fully financed by the Citizenship by Investment Programme, is a testament to the benefits which we have been deriving from this programme.” 

The resort will host 85 rooms in total, with the first 30 rooms already available to book now. The remaining rooms are expected to be completed by 2020. Boasting 14 studio spas, two yoga studios, two restaurants, an infinity pool, wedding & honeymoon facilities, the resort is also committed to promoting sustainability by giving back to the local community. Jungle Bay currently has 60 permanent employees and 100 construction workers. Over time, the resort expects to create 160 permanent jobs and local business opportunities.

Jungle Bay owner Sam Raphael called on the local and international community to explore the potential Dominica’s flourishing ecotourism is opening this year. He noted that “there will be spin off businesses for accommodation of guest houses and so on (…) We need a lot of activity because we don’t want our people to be bored. We want them to get that local food. We want activities, things for them to do, specialty niche activities that they can enjoy.”

Reviews from holidaymakers are already pouring in, with one particular visitor praising the balance between tailored luxury, wellness facilities and ecotourist adventures: “I was looking for an active yet relaxing vacation and Jungle Bay exceeded all my expectations (…) I learned so much about local plant life, marine life, and farming. The food was amazing and always fresh. (…) The daily spa treatments were just what everyone needed after a long hike.”

Besides investing in one of the seven hotels and resorts eligible under the island’s CBI Programme, those who want to obtain Dominica’svaluable citizenship and are well-intended also have the option of making a one-off contribution to the Economic Diversification Fund. This then finances remarkable initiatives on the island, such as building 5,000 public homes that can withstand the harshest hurricanes, or the construction of a geothermal plant capable of providing the entire population with clean energy. Overcoming Maria valiantly, the island, though small, has embarked on an admirable feat of becoming “the world’s first climate resilient nation”, as pledged by Premier Skerrit. Over the past two years especially, Dominica’s sustainability ethos transpires in most aspects of governance and way of living on the island, ranging from plastic bans, protecting marine life, promoting local produce and other environmentally conscious initiatives.

Micheal Mc Donnell
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