VolunTourism Dominica

British Guild of Travel Writers Award Winning Project Waitikubuli National Trail Segment 11

On November 4, 2018 The Tamarind Tree Hotel & Restaurant in Dominica, W.I. was awarded with the British Guild of Travel Writers BGTW Annual Tourism Award for Best Tourism Project in the Wider World Category for their project “Clearance and Restoration of Segment 11 of the Waitukubuli National Trail (WNT) in Dominica.

Following the passage of Hurricane Maria in the night from Sept 18 to Sep 19, 2017 not only houses, roads, entire plantations and villages have been badly damaged or destroyed but also Dominica's natural sites and hiking trails.

“When we realized that all the hiking trails in the national parks as well as the entire Waitukubuli National Trail had been heavily compromised we were very concerned about Dominica’s land-based tourism activities. The Discover Dominica Authority launched a VolonTourism initiative and we decided to partake by adopting a segment of the WNT and to create a VolonTourism package” says Annette Peyer Loerner, co-owner of The Tamarind Tree Hotel & Restaurant in Salisbury. “Being a guide since 2003 and having specialized in hiking, I am very passionate about the only long-distance hiking trail in the Caribbean, that leads across the entire Nature Isle on 185 kms in 14 segments or 14 day-hikes respectively.

We launched a fund raiser among our past and even future clients, family, friends and well wishers via e-mail and Facebook and were able to raise a remarkable amount of money, the biggest donation coming from “Walter und Louise M. Davidson-Stiftung” in Switzerland.”

After careful preparation in collaboration with the Division of Forestry, Wildlife and National Parks and the Waitukubuli National Trail Management Unit works started in February 2018.

The British Tour Operator MotMot was the first to promote the VolonTourism package and this drew Mr Nigel Tisdall’s attention to the project, a travel writer for National Geographic and a member of the BGTW. He visited Dominica in early April and actively participated in the clearing of seg. 11 of the WNT.

“In early July we received an e-mail from Mr Tisdall that he was going to submit our project for the 2018 British Guild of Travel Writers Tourism Awards. We were so proud about the recognition, little would it matter whether we were going to win or not. Just being nominated for such a prestigious award was a huge compliment! In September, when we were informed to be among the finalists, I grew at least 10 cm” Annette remembers winkingly.

The clearance and restoration work on seg. 11 are still ongoing with roughly 4,5kms of the 13kms being cleared to date.

Book one of our VolunTourism Packages and actively contribute to the restoration of seg. 11.

Make a donation to support the project.