Nicknamed the “Nature Island”, Dominica is one of the most beautiful places on earth, with a pristine coastline, acres of unspoiled tropical rainforest, incredible marine biodiversity, and several natural hot springs thanks to its volcanic origin.
Dominica’s tourism industry is entering a phase of exponential expansion to bring its beauty to an international stage, offering its visitors unrivalled experiences. The government has enacted policies, which support foreign investment in hotel resorts, to encourage this growth.
Under the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme, investors looking to expand their real estate portfolio have the opportunity to invest in established luxury hotel brands and villas, and receive Dominican Citizenship.
What is the real estate option?
The government-approved real estate investment option includes internationally branded hotels, and eco-resorts. A minimum investment of US$200 000 must be made in one of these properties to qualify for citizenship. Applicants must hold on to the property for at least three years to secure lifetime citizenship.
How does the investment work?
Applicants interested in investing in the real estate option can choose from the list of pre-approved real estate projects. Applicant must apply through an Authorised Agent, who will act as a go-between for them and the CBI Unit. The transaction occurs between the investor and the real estate developer in the form of a purchase and sale agreement. The applicant must also pay a government and due diligence fees.
How long does the real estate investment process take?
From submission of the application to an approval in principle, applicants are generally expected to wait three months.
Approved real estate projects
Dominica has committed itself to sustainability and is home to a burgeoning eco-tourism sector that has seen growing interest from the environmentally conscious traveller. As the nation’s eco-tourism sector grows it attracts internationally renowned hotels looking to set up operations on the proclaimed ‘Nature Isle’ of the Caribbean.
Dominica has such a diverse pre-approved real estate offerings ranging from internationally branded hotels and eco-resorts.
“Thanks to the real estate arm of the Citizenship by Investment Programme, Dominica is becoming increasingly known for its luxury tourism offering. Under the Citizenship by Investment Programme, investors looking to expand their real estate portfolio have the opportunity to invest in established luxury hotel brands and villas,” said Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.
How are the real estate projects selected?
Developers who are willing to embrace sustainable development while being conscious of the environment can submit a proposal to the government. Application forms can be found and submitted via Invest Dominica Authority, the Government Agency responsible for promoting and facilitating investment in tourism and industrial activities in Dominica.
What are the protections for clients that the developments will be build?
Dominica carefully selects a handful of projects to be covered under the CBI programme. Real Estate developers go through rigorous vetting and due diligence processes in order to be eligible to sell their projects. Developers are also required to complete their projects within the agreed upon time frame, be fully functional and of the highest quality.
Is there a certain time frame?
Real Estate developers submit a project plan during the selection process, which outlines all the milestones in terms of project completion. Developers are expected to honour the originally committed timelines, however, unexpected variables, like Covid, can delay construction.
Return on investment
All the projects are commercially built, and the return on investment depends on how the project has fared in a particular year, for example, the occupancy rate. The ROI varies from project to project and is often determined year-on-year using the previous year’s performance as a benchmark.
Real estate developers generally give a range derived from the performance in previous years, and the return on investment usually falls within the range.
Real estate must be held for either three years from the date your citizenship is granted or, if the future purchaser is also a citizenship by investment applicant, five years from the date your citizenship is granted.
Advantages in investing in real estate in Dominica
The real estate option offers investors the opportunity to diversify their portfolios while making a significant return on their initial outlay. Investors may also receive the right to reside at the property for a certain amount of time every year. More importantly, successful applicants receive Dominican citizenship and can enjoy the following benefits:
- Full citizenship for life, with the right to live and work in the country
- Global mobility
- Ability to pass on citizenship to future generations
- Right to hold dual citizenship
How much does it cost?
Under the real estate option, applicants are required to purchase a government-approved property. This must be held for at least three years with a minimum investment of USD 200,000 as well as applicable government fees, which are the following:
When opting to invest in pre-approved real estate on the island, there are several government-approved real estate projects from which to choose, these include:
Anichi Resort & Spa, currently under construction, is a luxury boutique and all-inclusive hotel situated on Dominica’s picturesque Picard Beach. This resort is branded by the Autograph Collection, owned by Marriott International. The resort will host 128 rooms, a lagoon swimming pool, an infinity pool, world-class restaurants, a business centre, and more. It was also listed among the top ten most anticipated Caribbean hotels for 2019 by Forbes.
“Having the Autograph Collection, Marriott’s fastest growing premium brand, as our brand means we will be delivering a unique resort with a truly authentic character. Our team has been working diligently, both at home in Dominica and within the Citizenship by Investment industry internationally, to promote the project and generate the interest required to see it to fruition,” said Nisha McIntyre, Marketing Manager of Oriental Developers.
Nestled in a valley within the active Morne Plat Pays volcanic complex, Bois Cotlette is one of the oldest surviving estates in Dominica. The area is famous for its cocoa, coffee and other eco-friendly products.
Bois Cotlette, the best-preserved historic plantation on the island, began offering tours in 2012 to cruise ship guests. The new development will include 90 rooms contained in 20 luxury villas and 15 cottages.
“Bois Cotlette will be a five-star luxurious living development and club facility and it will significantly boost the island’s hospitality industry,” said Rose-Ann Charles, the attorney representing the estate.
Jungle Bay Villas is an eco-friendly resort with 120 premium class villas, with plans to build a yoga studio and a healthy food restaurant in the complex.
Jungle Bay will hone in on its unique new location when it comes to health and wellness: “Our proximity to hot springs, some of the region’s best diving, as well as yoga overlooking the Caribbean Sea are highlights of the new location,” said developer Sam Raphael.
Opening its doors in October 2019, the Cabrits Resort Kempinski is located near Portsmouth, and surrounded by Cabrits National Park, offering sublime views of the tropical forest, as well as the sea. It was also the first Dominican real estate project to be approved under the Citizenship by Investment Programme.
“The beachfront hideaway is the perfect destination for luxury travellers looking for a different kind of resort experience in deep connection with nature, and combines the best of Kempinski European service with a keen respect for Dominica culture and traditions.” says Martin R. Smura, Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer of Kempinski Hotels S.A.
Timbo’s is a chic Dominican hotel brand with an appealing international flavour. Grande Anse is poised to develop another winner under the Timbo’s brand, namely Timbo’s Downtown – Timbo’s Seaside. This is a luxury boutique hotel in the city of Roseau. This hotel is anticipated to become the hotspot for business lodgings and luxury leisure in Dominica’s capital.
Situated in the rainforest of Morne Trois Pitons National Park, the Sanctuary Rainforest Eco Resort and Spa features luxurious eco-villas, private balcony Jacuzzis and swimming pools. Built after Hurricane Maria devastated the country, the resort has been structurally designed to withstand earthquakes and Category 5 hurricane-force wind.
“We see this project, the Sanctuary Rainforest Eco Resort as fitting and considerate to our own vision for our country especially in the Roseau Valley; ensuring that at all stages, the environment is respected and the environment is protected…” said the Hon. Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of Dominica.
Tranquillity Beach is a prestigious, environmentally conscious residential resort with first-class accommodation and contemporary architecture. It will comprise one and two-bedroom condominium suites, studio suites, and one, two and three-bedroom villas upon completion. It will also feature amenities like a spa, fine dining restaurant, and a large swimming pool.
“Investors are familiar with Dominica and have seen the properties they’re purchasing. With a branded residence like the Hilton, there’s a lot more confidence because you know the ownership of the hotel and the strength of the brand,” said Ian Edwards, the owner and developer of Tranquility Beach, a resort under the CBI real estate option.
Secret Bay Residences is an eco-friendly 6-star rainforest resort that has already received several awards, including the title of the Best ‘Green’ Hotel in the Caribbean 2016. Villas and bungalows here are perfect for the lovers of quiet, peaceful and luxurious vacations.
Over the past decade, the acclaimed, Green Globe certified resort has been consistently recognised for its exceptional design, service and experience by such global travel and lifestyle publications as Architectural Digest, CNN, Fortune, National Geographic, Outside, the cover of Travel + Leisure, and The Telegraph. Secret Bay was also recently named one of Travel + Leisure’s top 500 hotels in the world, and last year was named the magazine’s #1 Resort Hotel in the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas and #6 Hotel in the World. The property is the first and only property in Dominica affiliated with the elite luxury brand, Relais & Châteaux.
“We’re seeing that investment in second citizenships is holding strong, and we are thrilled our investors are already seeing returns,” said Gregor Nassief, proprietor of Secret Bay and Chairman and CEO of GEMS Holdings Limited. “The early popularity of investing in The Residences is a result of four key factors: an existing operation with a ready product, a competitive exit strategy, extensive industry experience and a global reciprocity programme.”
Ocean Edge Hotel is devised to be a 31-room, 4-story fusion of traditional and modern architecture that reflects Dominica’s image, international product and service offerings. It is designed with high ceilings, expansive living spaces, and seamless indoor-outdoor experiences. Each room offers sweeping views of the picturesque Caribbean Sea.
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