Dominican Republic eyes 12 million visitors amid continued tourism boom

While many of its neighboring destinations closed in the summer of 2020, the Dominican Republic was open. And it never closed. The country’s handling of the pandemic helped usher in what would become a new golden age of tourism, ushering in a record-breaking period that has shown no signs of slowing, with easily the highest number of visitors of any destination in the Caribbean.

The country’s tourism boom, one that resulted in 10.3 million total visitors last year (including air and sea arrivals), can be traced in part to how it weathered the pandemic, with many travelers considering the Dominican Republic when they couldn’t have otherwise. it did, according to Jacqueline Mora, Deputy Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic.

But it is about much more than that, a history built on 50 years of tourism efforts, a coordinated policy and a unique tourism priority – even in a region that depends largely on the sector for its economic growth.

Now, the country has even bigger goals, with the ambition to reach 12 million total visitors by 2024, Mora told Caribbean Journal during the Dominican Republic trade show in Miami at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel.

Dominican Republic trade show in Miami this week.

So how will the country do it?

The first step is to highlight new areas and categories of travel, from the growth of the luxury sector to making more experiences, to highlighting the fast-growing capital, Santo Domingo, as a gastronomic destination to the growth of the golf market and the water sports sector. along with a significant push into the events sector, such as weddings, meetings and conventions.

But the biggest priority is to highlight destinations beyond the country’s traditional stronghold, Punta Cana, by building new destinations, new hotels and filling them with new travelers.

Dominican Republic
Jacqueline Mora, Deputy Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic.

This includes places like Miches, the Samana Bay destination that now has seven new major tourism investments to join existing resorts from brands like Club Med and Temptation.

Then there are developing destinations like Pedernales on the southern coast, where the country’s government is making huge investments in public infrastructure.

To the north, there is the Punta Bergantin project on the north coast, one that will include a golf course, a film studio, among other developments.

It also includes strengthening and repositioning destinations such as Santo Domingo, which has seen a new wave of air traffic from the United States; and Puerto Plata, with the latter set for a major boost with the construction of a road linking it to the popular city of Santiago – and, crucially, Santiago’s high-traffic airport.

The idea, Mora said, is to distinguish the country’s various hotspots with a unique brand identity – and create an identity for each individual destination.

“We are creating different destination brands, but together we are the destination of the Dominican Republic,” she said.

It’s all part of the Dominican Republic’s tourism strategy, one Mora said must balance the need for growth with the development of human resources to support it.

“This year we expect about 12 million.

“We can grow more, but we have to be ready in terms of infrastructure and human resources,” she said. “Something that is affecting all countries is the issue of Human Resources – tourism is growing a lot, but you can’t grow too fast with the resources you need for it.”

For more, visit Dominican Republic.

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